When the Travel Adventure Ends
Home is where my memory foam bed is.
The party is over, the scenery is the same, and once more I must remember what day and time it is - I'm home after an extended trip abroad. It's the part I fear more than any terrorist attack or mishap. The hardest part of travel for me is that I know there is always an end to it. I regrettably am not one of those beings who has committed fully to the courageous lifestyle of a nomad who does whatever it takes to stay on the road. Part of you wonders what odd jobs you could be doing instead to maintain the "traveler's lifestyle." When the travel adventure ends, you must brace yourself with the reality of what it takes to uphold it. I could work at a hostel for less than the U.S. minimum wage cleaning toilets and other people's party residue. I could possibly learn some kind of skill and perform it on the street for some change. I could hope to fall madly in love with a foreigner and convince them to marry me, but instead, I'm back home.
I must confess that I truly love my life at home. I love my affordable living arrangement, my career which provides a steady income, I love my family and friends, and I love my bed. I love my bed. No hostel bunk I was fortunate enough to share with the snoring wonder of the world will ever compare to the comfort of home. But what happens when the unfamiliar begins to feel more like home each time you experience it? I've proven to myself time and time again that travel somehow makes me feel rooted. It sounds like an oxymoron. Constantly being on the go, trekking into unexplored territory, and living out of a backpack sounds like the opposite of an anchor. But somehow in the midst of all the strange, I begin to feel more like myself. I begin to remember what it's like to be intrigued with my life, and have an unfounded curiosity of the world around me. I feel alive again, and isn't that what life is meant for?
I recently stated in my blog: What Travel Taught Me About Time, that I've learned my life at home is just as important as my life on the road. My life at home provides my travel life, the two coexist, so one is not better than the other. But, once you get a taste of the other side - the overnight train rides you share with young Swiss men, the lazy afternoons with wine and cheese in Vondelpark, and the early morning walks home from the club, the reality sets in that you're heartbroken about leaving it all behind.
You've tasted a slice of life you can't obliterate. It's like tasting your favorite food for the first time, or for me, having my first alcoholic drink. Nothing will ever compare again, so you keep chasing that high. But with travel, each time is unique and wonderful. It's a rush you can handily chase because each time it gets better.
Each trip you take offers a new lesson to learn and friend to be had. It never gets old because every time you go it's different. You could go to the same city multiples of times and each visit will leave a different impression within you. There are cities that hold my heart because of the friends I've made. There are places I think less fondly of because of the cold stares I received, but at the end of the day I experienced life in a new way. Life is merely experiences, good or bad, so I do my best to delight in them all.
Suddenly though, the trip is over. The trip you planned months or even a year for came and went in the blink of an eye no matter how present you were or how much you wished for the moment to never end. Time flies, whether you're having fun or not, it flies. The strength it takes to go home is sometimes greater than the strength it took to leave on my own in the first place. Once you know you're capable of something, it's hard to let go of the idea that it won't be around any longer - even if only temporarily.
My best advice that I learned from a new friend which I will continue to abide by is to always have something planned. Big or small, always have your next debut for life on the brinks. It allows your next step in any direction much easier.
Hold on tightly.
My most recent trip gave new insight the one before hadn't. Maybe it's because I didn't have my guard up quite as much, and because I felt more confident than the time before. But whatever magic was in the air, I'm left feeling more inspired than ever before. It's about holding onto the effects that travel has on you and running with them. It's about holding on to whatever inspires you and never letting go. It's about making changes in your life because you know can, and that you should. It's about being aware, being present, and being who you were meant to be in every aspect of your life.
Being home is just as important as being gone, and recognizing that is a new lesson for me. I hated being home after my last trip. I hated that each day wasn't a new adventure with new faces everywhere. Little did I know each day is a new adventure. You wake up each morning and even if you think you know what lies ahead, you don't. Just ask anyone who has ever fallen in love - You just never know when that moment is going to come. I suppose this realization is when everything comes full circle, and you're so glad and so grateful you're along for the ride.
Whatever lights the fire in you, don't let it go out. Whether it's travel, creating, or performing... you name it. So even though my travel adventure is over momentarily, the adventure of life is always waiting and ready no matter where I am. Remember that - life and love are behind every bend, so tread lightly my friends.
Upcoming Travel: Cali to Washington Road Trip with my best travel mate September 1st. // Japan October 2016