March 15 – the day I set foot back onto American soil.
Today marks exactly two months since getting back. Two months since my priorities took a major shift. Two months that have both flown by and somehow also crept by simultaneously.
Last year I spent the better part of it getting everything together. Saving, working really hard, getting my life in order for this amazing trip I’d planned. Volunteering abroad for a year or two. Learning more about myself and another land. Accumulating life changing experiences rather than the mundane life that my peers sought.
I didn’t want a normal life. I craved the romanticized life of a nomad. Where everyplace, and yet no place, is your home. Authentic foreign meals in beautiful, unexplored places. Learning different languages and making friends from different backgrounds. That was my dream. I had even made plans to set foot on every continent before I turn 30. Except for Antarctica because if you research the budding tourism industry of it, it’s actually environmentally terrible and also ridiculously expensive.
Before going, I counted down every day. I had planned everything and it was going to be perfect. But it wasn’t. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Every dollar that I had worked so hard to save escaped me. Every plan that fell through chalked up to another embarrassment.
Those life changing experiences still happened, but not quite how I had planned. I came back early. I admitted defeat. I licked my wounds and picked up from the bottom.
I got a new job and a new apartment. I got my first couch in 8 years actually. No prospects for a car because it’s summer so I really don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve paused my dog plans because I’d really like to get braces and I actually have my first consultation scheduled for Wednesday so hopefully that goes well.
These last few months have really taught me a lot. About what I want. What I need. Who I am. People say they find themselves in India or while travelling abroad. I’ve gone six times, never seeking a philosophical breakthrough. But this time I did reach one.
I don’t know if it’s a direct result of the anxiety increase upon returning, but now I crave routine and structure. I love being unpacked and knowing the people who take the same bus that I do. I love knowing what every street sign says and all of the old, familiar sights. I love boring monotony.
Maybe just for now, maybe forever. I’m not quite sure. I do know, however, that instead of finding myself abroad – I found myself after coming back.