After a 10 month long trip around the world, my wife and I are back in the United States. I can’t help wishing I was back in India. It happens when I’m watching commercials or stuck at traffic lights.
Sure, it’s nice to be home, but in the days and weeks since our return, I’ve felt like I’m waking from a really great dream. Except the alarm clock is blaring at me and I’ve got to go to work.
Except work isn’t that appealing anymore. It was nice quitting our jobs last year and telling ourselves we didn’t have to think about work (or more specifically, money) for a while, but those days are behind us.
Of course you can stay connected in your field while you’re on the road, but in my experience, if you travel for more than six months, it’s the people back home you have to worry about. They seem to treat you as if you’ve been on the moon.
Returning To Real Life
When the end of the trip was getting closer and I opted to get back in touch with my contacts, I received a lot of “We’ll just drop me a line when you get back and settled.”
That’s nice of them, but I’m dropping the line right now. This is the line.
Looking for work has humbled me. By luck, I had not been forced to blindly send out resumes to job openings since I was in college. But ten years later, here I am bragging about myself in cover letters and accentuating my world travel experience.
I’ve heard that long term travel makes you more employable, and that may be, but if you know anyone looking to hire who’s impressed by this, can you forward their information to me? Thanks.
That Life Altering Moment
Maybe I’m naive, but I was hoping for a “eureka!” moment on the trip where all of the sudden my life would make sense. I would find my calling and hopefully some peace.
Maybe I’d be on a boat somewhere watching the sunrise, or laying in a hut listening to frogs chirp outside: something cinematic.
While nothing quite like that ever happened, after a year away, I think I’ve become a different person. I’m more sure of what I want and less angry (Sarah might debate this). I take better care of myself and I feel more in control.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m also not losing sleep over it either.
Return To Routine
Being home and slipping into a normal routine where we don’t have to worry about train schedules or intestinal problems really does make the past year seem like a bizarre dream.
We’re back in the same room at Sarah’s mother’s place (temporary digs until we get the paychecks flowing), and it’s the same weather, the same crap on TV.
While we were gone I tried to stay unplugged and happily ignorant about pop culture and other non-weighty matters, and now that I’m back, I realize I should have done that a long time ago.
My interest level for “shallow things that do not matter” remains below zero. The tricky part is staying that way.
The hardest part about travel isn’t coming back, it’s staying back. Sure, we can always take smaller trips that last a few days or weeks, but I can’t shake the idea of another long odyssey.
Responsibility keeps wanting to get in the way. Bills, a wife, and no money are waking me from my dream of riding a motorcycle across Asia.
I just don’t want to grow up yet. A point of view lost on my wife who wants a family, a house, and no motorcycles. One can still dream, right?