Another coming home thread
I can't really explain why it took me 5 months to get to the point where I am once again reading and participating in travel sites. I'll start by saying that when we came home, I was ready. I read about a lot of travelers who return home reluctantly and/or extend their trip at all costs. I flew home to attend a wedding, but I was completely ready: I felt as though I had accomplished what I wanted on our trip, experienced so much, lived so well and so freely, and I continue to have absolutely no regrets about where we went, how we traveled, and when I decided to return.
Unlike the "typical" story of the traveler who comes home and the second his feet touch home soil can't think of anything but the road, when I got here, I wanted nothing to do with traveling. I'd had my fill of moving all the time and of living in a world that didn't feel like my own. I didn't want to think for another second about hostels, guidebooks, sights, spanish schools, indigenous women, bus schedules... I wanted a warm bed, cold beer, my cat, hockey on television, and a place to call home. My own homeland even felt fresh and exciting... I noticed smells, tastes, sites, and senses I never had before.
As time passed, I continued to avoid thinking about our trip, but for different reasons. At first I chalked it up to being tired of traveling, but then it morphed into a sort of overwhelmed feeling whenever I thought about our trip. This has been my most difficult emotion… there is too much to process. Too many pictures to sort through. Too many stories to remember. Too many friends to keep in touch with. Too many memories to handle.
Not only is there too much to process, I have had too little time to process it. Afterall, we had to get to work planning our wedding (which we amazingly and slightly stupidly planned for 2 months after our return... it was outstanding), working out our move from Chicago to Seattle, and eventually find these weird things called "jobs." There were friends and family to catch up with, piles of old clothes to sort through, restaurants and bars to revisit, places to go and people to see.
Realistically speaking, it was more like we were traveling for the first few months back at home anyway... we went to 2 weddings, went sailing for a week with my Dad, went to a music festival for 4 days, and had our own wedding. We weren't working or living in any sort of "normal" routine. It's been a true whirlwind, and I don't mean that simply as a cliche.
So here I find myself, 5 months after returning home, and the memories of our trip are slowly poking their way back into my consciousness, as is the desire to go through our pictures, read the travel stories of others, and share our own. Maybe it's that the dust has finally settled... we've gotten married, moved, and are finally settling in. Maybe too, it's that it simply takes that long (or longer) to process 14-months of foreign experiences, outside one's bubble, outside one's comfort zone.
So to be perfectly honest, I’m writing this as a coping mechanism. It has literally taken me almost 6 months to “confront” our trip. I finally feel like I’m settled enough and have had enough separation to think about it. I feel overwhelmed with an incredible amount of emotion when I think about it all: sad it’s over, happy with my new life, scared I’ll never do something so amazing again, thrilled to be home, overwhelmed by the amount of pictures to go through... there’s just so much.
So my point? Who knows. I would love to hear the thoughts of others. I just wanted to vent a few of my many feelings I’m yet to confront, and I wanted to share my experience for others. I am starting to go through pictures and read my old journals. The final thing I’ll say, is that the words on this page do not begin to scratch the surface of the experience of 14 months of travel. It’s that simple. Words are not good enough. So words stop now, but the memories continue forever.
Considering the scale of what all's been going on in the past few months I'm not at all surprised it hasn't felt "normal" yet. I suspect most people who fall into a rut right after coming so do so because you're still living in the same place/ having the same job/ not doing anything half as crazy as getting married. And it's rather disconcerting to come home feeling like you've changed so much but the world around you hasn't, but yours clearly did in many ways. So hey, time for a new but different adventure yes?
KevinY wrote:Interesting. How were you feeling towards the end of the trip? Were you getting kind of tired of it and couldn't wait to get back home?
There was that feeling towards the end, and even certain times in the middle, but I think the most important thing related to that was that was never the ONLY thing I was feeling. While I got more and more excited to go home as the end neared, I also regained some of the appreciation I had lost along the way as travel becomes a way of life. Don't get me wrong, I always had an appreciation for both the amazing things I was seeing and doing, as well as how lucky I was for the opportunity to see and do them, but that 'wow' feeling gets harder to achieve the further along we got, and there were occasional frustrations and sometimes pure exhaustion. But coming to the end, it was just so many emotions... excitement, appreciation, nervousness, happiness... so to answer your question, sure, that was part of how I was feeling, but only a part of it.
The funny thing was, the last week of our trip was one of the most vivid and wonderful memories in my mind. Not only did we have a blast, I had a lot of appreciation and reflection for everything i'd seen and done. This was in total simultaneous combination with the excitement about going home, which was just as real and valid a feeling. It was an amazingly vivid experience actually, our final days after 14 months and the first days back too.
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