“Quit your job. Buy a ticket. See the world. Fall in love-with everything”
And it happened in that order. The last couple days in Bali I spent alone after Kayley had gone, just looking back on the past months in disbelief at the places this journey has brought me. It has taught me a lot about myself; that my plans weren’t just day dreams, and that with a little courage and risk, amazing things can happen. I have become more comfortable being myself, more eager to give and serve, and have learned to be more loving and accepting. Everyday I was learning and meeting someone new. It became my high. Traveling helps you be efficient in your decision making, learning to trust your gut, and also to just let go and follow your heart. You learn the importance of patience and how to communicate with all different kinds of people. You become less quick to judge and more eager to sit down and listen to peoples stories, appreciating the different points of views on life. Another amazing thing that happens is you begin to open up and you learn that falling in love isn’t just something that happens with another person, it can apply to so many things in life. I found myself falling in love everyday with something or someplace new. You start to fall in love with places, smells, tastes, experiences, and really do leave a piece of your heart behind everywhere. But with this new found openness and ways to love, you also realize there are also that many more things that can break your heart. They say love is a drug, well so is traveling. You arrive in a new place only for enough time to fall in love with it and just that quick you are forced to say goodbye, not knowing if you’ll ever make it back. A constant high and low.
I stayed in 60 different places in my 5 1/2 months on the road. Between hostels, hotels, air bnbs, and in the hospitable homes of new friends. Changing currencies back and forth became the norm, and airports began to feel like home.
USD –> Kroner–> Euros –> Francs–> Euros –> Pounds –> Euros –> Pounds –> Forinth –> Baht –> Dong –>Rupiah –> USD
I have become a “certified Guinness pourer” a “certified elephant trainer” and a “certified Thai chef”, all of which I was sure would add the icing to any resume 🙂 But in all seriousness, traveling changes you, and I hope to carry over the things I’ve learned into everyday life. Although looking back, it often just all just feels surreal.Its like waking from a dream and trying to explain what you saw to someone else. It just doesn’t quite makes sense. Especially waking up in my bed now at home, opening my eyes to familiar walls once again, you cant help but to think it was all a dream. Left now with only memories and marks on a map.
Hurry Up and Wait
I heard a quote while I was gone that said “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world” and now being home I feel it reigns true more than ever. Having to adjust back to reality has actually been quite the transition for me. At first the reverse culture shock was so apparent it was effecting my daily mood, often leaving me sad and eager to leave again. My second day at my new job, on the way home from work I found myself almost in tears as I sat in an hour and half of traffic on my way home. Why had I come back? To a world full of haste, people hurrying back and forth, never looking up, stepping on each other to get ahead, angrily cutting each other off one lane at a time. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. I craved newness, meeting and learning from new people, new cultures, and I was now thrown back into this hurry up and wait lifestyle. Nothing had changed, but my perspective on everything had.
Its been two months now since I’ve been back, and I am back to “reality” with a new job, a new lifestyle, and soon a new place to live. Each day I have to remind myself to take these new experiences much like I did on my trip. Learn as much as you can, soak it all in, but never stop dreaming. Experiences are the best things money can buy. It has been something that has made me feel so alive, and being back I feel like its almost my duty to help stoke the fire of anyone on the fence about taking a trip of their own. Some people have described this trip as once in a lifetime, and for the amount of time I was gone I can fully see why. But this experience has become quite the opposite for me, not something I will just remember, but something I will spend the rest of my life making sure it wasn’t once in a lifetime.