About a year ago, my husband hypothetically asked me whether I’d like to spend 4 months in Zimbabwe or Stockholm. That was a no-brainer. I answered: Stockholm, already knowing from my tourist experiences that travel’s difficulty and discomfort increases exponentially by number of miles travelled and cultures crossed.
Now we are here. Yet immigrating to a new country for a period of time is different from tourist travel. When you travel as a tourist, the immediate convenience of a hotel, the allies you find in your hotel staff, create a bubble of protection and safety. Not so here. Residing means finding an apartment, negotiating rents, money and banking without knowing the social protocol, custom or language. For instance, in Sweden, you cannot pay your rent by sending a check. You must send a deposit slip, an old fashioned book of payment forms, issued by your bank. However, we learned that if you send the invoice with the check, the check is rejected altogether because you sent the invoice and not the invoice stub. That first month we lived off of credit cards, even with money in the account, because the banking system is horribly bureaucratic.
Many times it appeared that everyone but us has insider knowledge about how things work. A weekend trip was planned and taken but the attractions we were trying to see were closed for the season. When asked, everyone else knew this as common knowledge, of course, despite no hint of this on guidebook or website. Clearly Swedes all meet in secret to discuss this, probably after the Pagan midsummer maypole revelry.
Did I mention the endless nights? The Sun currently rises at 8:40 AM and sets at 2:40 PM, and narrowing.
My Gemini Moon husband rolls with all of this fairly easily, adapting plans to the shifting circumstances, but the lightfooted-ness that travel requires is often lost on me. I have cranky Saturn in Gemini in my Ninth House, conjunct my Cancer Sun. So many things on this journey have been hard, spiritually and physically. Mainly, I had underestimated how many creature comforts and routines my physical health relies upon, as our spartanly Ikea furnished apartment with ergonomically incorrect torture devices quickly reminded me.
In my husband’s career, this is a grand adventure. He thrives on challenge and so was thrilled to be invited to be a prestigious Fulbright scholar. I know I married an adventurer and I am, too, albeit a reluctant one. What I’ve learned traveling over the years: adventure always includes dramatic ups and dramatic downs. The million dollar question is: if you knew just how epic bad the epic adventure would get, would you still take it? Would sunsets and lussekatter (saffron buns), European shoes purchased and masterworks perused, meaningful conversation over fika (coffee) with a new friend outweigh the isolation, the endless dark nights, the tears you cried while balled up on the bathroom floor?
Obviously, I am talking about more than just travel. Life is an epic adventure in which the greater your risks, the greater your rewards. Life is what we give meaning to, and to experience anything meaningful or substantial in life you will have to challenge your comfort zones, take a leap of faith into the unknown, and consider that the fear and anxiety you feel could a sign that you are on the precipice of growth. If we weren’t willing to take that risk, none of us would: fall in love, change careers or move great distances.
Adventurous Sagittarius Sun season provides the impetus to expand beyond what we’ve known while Gemini Moon reminds us to cultivate curiosity, seek wonder, because that will help us see our life for what it is: an experience. Life is not something to be measured as good or bad; life is to be lived. Then discussed. For Gemini is The Communicator. These discussions about life, the weather, other people, whatever, should be had at length, and with no real investment in an ultimate truth (but an investment in penetrating into some great truths). They should be interesting, vibrant, outrageous, and all over the board and above all they should be great fun. That’s what my Gemini Moon sweetheart does for me, and when things get grim, dangerous or nerve wracking on the Great Adventure, it helps to have a great co-pilot who knows how to do this magical thing that Geminis do. After all, most people are happy to enjoy the sunsets of life with you, but few are able to smile, make mischief and love through the desperate times, shining wonder and doubt on your perceptions about your misadventures, even as you think you know you are at the end of your rope.
And would you believe me if I told you that I’m going to the North Pole for Christmas? Again, the question was posed. He: where does everyone dream of going for Christmas? Me: Hawaii. He: No, the other place. Me: The North Pole? Noooo way…it’s too cold. Too many unknowns. Too many hungry polar bears. He: there will be dogsledding. Me: (momentary Arctic fantasy of me pulled by sleigh of dogs wearing fur trimmed boots and coat) I will need a warm coat and plenty of fashionable furry gear.
With this full moon arrives the mercurial ability to shape shift our opportunities and perspectives into different ones. A supermarket conversation could deliver the new job or house lead; a friendly neighbor could deliver, with the newspaper, the name of a miracle worker helper. There are rabbits to be pulled from hats. What Gemini magic will you create at this full moon? Gemini Full Moon is able to turn a sour day into sweet, a sad story into a love song, and a difficult adventure into an wondrous story. How to do it? Book a ticket. Pull up a chair. Have that conversation. Take a trip. Buy that book. Above all, be open to the magic and wonder of this season.