The other night, a man told me he loves killing people and wishes he was back in Vietnam. He was sitting on a bench in downtown Oakland. Probably homeless. Definitely disturbed. I was already anxious, walking back to my hotel from the subway after a day-long photography workshop in Berkeley {more on that later!}.

The day had been lovely, but I had nothing planned for the evening ahead. The more I thought about it, the more it scared me. I’m not used to being away for so long from my boys. I’m not used to being alone, fending for myself in a strange city, or even just eating dinner alone. I’m not used to walking past people who are sleeping on the sidewalk or holding their hands out with hope for spare change. My heart ached. My mind raced. My stomach turned. With every block I walked, I felt more anxious. Even though I knew my route, I felt totally lost. And, as you might imagine, having someone declare his love for killing people didn’t help matters.

I know my place in the world when I’m in my own corner of the world. And if I’m traveling, I always do so with a label and purpose: as a mom, a blogger, a speaker, a consultant – always with places to be and people to meet. Walking down Broadway in the middle of Oakland, with nowhere to be and no one to meet, my throat tightened and my eyes started to sting with tears. Who am I in this place, I wondered? Who am I, really, in any place? I started to make a list in my head, answering the question as I walked:

I am still strong here.

I am still brave here.

I am still a mom and a wife and a daughter and a friend here.

I am still compassionate here.

I am still creative here.

I am still intuitive here.

I still matter here and everywhere.

I reached my hotel, feeling my spirit rising. As I turned the corner, I noticed this wall covered in street art with these words: Remember Who You Are. It was like a neon message from the universe, validating all that I’d just honored about the core of who I am. Turns out I did have somewhere to go and someone to meet during that long and anxious walk. I’d been coming home to me.

{Pssst! Quick reminder that the How To Build a Blog You Truly Love eCourse kicks off a week from today – May 21st. Join bloggers and bloggers-to-be around the world – we’re going to have such fun!}