I really never thought this day would come. The day when I would want my old apartment back or when I would want to snuggle under my weighted blanket and stay there for 3 days. The day when I want to drive down Union Blvd for the gazillionth time but cherish every second of the familiar path. But, if I'm being honest (which I usually am), I am craving familiarity.
My brain is tired, my back is tired of sleeping in different beds, my computer is tired of being carried around in a hundred different temperatures and bags and im tired of carrying it and the other 50 pounds of my things too. I realize this sounds like complaining, halfway it is, I can be honest about that. Please don't misunderstand this though, I am incredibly grateful for this year, for the people I have met, for the beaches I've laid on and the new food I've eaten. I'm grateful for the stunning sunsets and the salty hair, for so so much, but it doesn't change how mentally, emotionally, & physically exhausted I am.
I asked myself today, why am I traveling? Why do I want to travel? What am I doing? and the real honest answer is that right now... I don't know. The other day I wrote out the list of countries I've been to, the number is 30, and that's crazy. I also wrote the list of places I still want to go to, and it's long (much longer than I was expecting actually). When I first left, I just wanted to go. I wanted to see what was out there, I wanted the non-monotony, the new the unfamiliar. I wanted new foods, new languages, new cultures, but I think, along the journey I have realized so many things about traveling, and about myself and what my motives are, that maybe now this has changed.
I've realized how difficult it can be to really immerse yourself in a culture fully and try to be involved in a community or family. It's exhausting to be consistently misunderstood, or not understood at all. It's really hard sitting at a dinner table for an hour and not understanding a single word that said or be able to contribute to the conversation at all. It's one thing to be misunderstood, its another to be overlooked/ignored. It's frustrating, truly and it's never on purpose but obviously, when these people are at home, they're going to speak their language. Maybe I need more patience or more humility but after a while, it has become hard.
So what do I do then? Every day right now feels like a battle for me. A battle of choosing a direction, of being upset that my body is growing in ways that I don't want and don't necessarily have much control over either. Of not having privacy or control over my schedule. I really want to be at a place where I can travel, and afford to have my own place and travel on my own terms. OF COURSE, there are always ways to travel and not spend hardly 400$ a month but I'm learning that this type of travel might not be for me. Is it good to volunteer your time sometimes? Yes. Is it good to help others? Yes, of course, but I don't think this is the type of travel for me anymore. I need to find the balance of being able to learn and experience a place without putting myself into emotional stress because of it.
I've learned also this yeat that although it can be good at times, for the most part, I don't like traveling alone. All of my best memories this year are when I was with at least one other person. We are totally meant to spend our lives with others, in community and relationship. I think that's what else drains me too, and I've said this before but losing people every few weeks is TOUGH, especially for someone like me who really (accidentally) cares really deeply for people.
Although I do have a remote job, it only pays enough for me to basically break even every month/ pay for plane tickets when I need them and sometimes splurge on something fun, BUT the good thing is that now I know what I need. I know a little more of what I should and should not do and I understand more about myself today than I ever have before. I've learned that I'm a tough cookie, I'm adaptable & resilient AF, I'm a leader and a listener, I find comfort in baking banana bread and drinking tea. I live for a good sunset and die for a ride through the jungles of Thailand on a motorbike. I've learned about the world around me, about generosity, minimalism, attachment styles, language barriers, pollution, history and SO MUCH MORE.
I will tell you though, as much as I am excited to come back... I'm also nervous to come home too. I'm nervous about the interactions I'll have with people, annoyed already by people that will suddenly reach out after they've ignored me for an entire year. I'm anxious about the (closed) mindset's I'll come across, about the turbo fast speed of life in the US that I'm definitely not used to anymore. I'm not looking forward to being faced with consumerism again and the amount of waste that we're OK with in the States. I'm not looking forward to expensive and semi crappy, not local produce and meat thats pumped with hormones; but I guess we will see what happens.
I guess the conclusion is, that I haven't found my place in the world quite yet. Every day I'm a little closer though, and maybe one day I will find it, wherever I happen to land.
Cheers for now,
thanks for reading