The Slowest Hourglass

I haven’t been the same since I returned from my first and only backpacking trip last year. A sense of uneasiness rests beneath my skin as I live out the mundane days of life at home in Florida. I feel tense, agitated, and often depressed thinking about the world that exists beyond the confines of where I live. Each day I feel more disconnected from who I was and from the people around me.

 

I remember being ready to return home. After all, 3 months by myself in over 40 cities in 90 days is exhausting. I yearned for the comfort of my own bed and the security of having a car, home, and family close by. But after being home for only 16 hours, I remember thinking to myself, “now what?”

 

I find myself still asking that question. I have to finish my degree. That’s the only thing actually keeping me here. I have one semester left, but that doesn’t start until the end of August. I’m living in a daze and not even the beach can cure the way I feel. Stagnant, stuck, unmovable, sinking, drowning, suffocating; all of these feel the same.

 

I’m not the same person when I travel. At home I am distant. I’m introverted. I’m focused on completing my journey in this place. I lack the desire to build connections. When I travel, I am the opposite of each of these. I keep to myself but not nearly as often. I’m social, interested in the people and world around me, and naturally build connections with all of the likeminded people I cross paths with. Nothing has made me question who I really am more than being “home”.

 

Next time will be different. Next time will start in Vietnam. I will move at a slower pace. I can make any city my home for as long as I want. I will be in no rush to move on, no schedule to abide by, and no one to listen to but myself. I will miss home but not in the same way as I did the first time. I will not yearn for a room to myself because if I want one, I will get one and stay there for as long as I want.

 

I am grateful for the life I live here, but I am ready to move beyond it. I feel as though I’m waiting for the sand in an hourglass, each grain falling slowly with each day that passes as I stare off into the sea, immobile and impassive, waiting for my life to start.

I’m ready.

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When The Paradox Comes Full Circle

When I was away, I missed home. I longed for the routine of my life as it was the way I left it.

And now that I’m home, I don’t know why I ever wanted to come back in the first place.

I don’t have much here. But I guess before I left the dizzying busy-ness of planning my trip and the excitement that came with it distracted me from all that my life lacked.

I miss waking up everyday with a new place to see. With new people to meet and new friends to make. It was easy, there, everyone was alone. It was easy to start up conversation. To identify fellow Americans or other English speakers who were also traveling. You can meet someone anywhere and end up spending the whole day, weekend, or week with them. I miss having different countries at my fingertips each day.

I had to come back… to finish my degree so I can go back again once I’m finished here. I might not have much but I have to appreciate what I have.

The paradox of missing home when you’re away, and missing everywhere else when you’re home… a vicious cycle of constant yearning. I am restless yet exhausted.

Until next time.

The Paradox of Vacation

49/90 days.

More than half way through.

It would have been a boring summer.
I would have taken a class or two. Maybe three. Probably as many as I could have. I would have worked the same schedule. Lived in the same routine. My “summer vacation” would have been a week between the end of my spring semester and the beginning of the summer semester. It would have been boring and miserable and hot in the Florida summer sun and humidity. The tourists would have been frustrating and the roads would have been cluttered and at a standstill for more hours of the day than anyone would ever want.

I don’t miss what I’m missing back home. But in a weird, unexpected kind of way, I’m looking forward to being back to it. Not the summer time of Navarre, but I’m looking forward to the fall semester. To working. To earning money. To working out 5 days a week. To being back in the same routine. To sitting on the beach, reading for hours until sunset. To academics, believe it or not. Challenging my mind in a different kind of way. I’m glad to be missing out on the tourist trap of a summer vacation in the panhandle of Florida. But I never expected to be looking forward to being back home and living the same boring life.

Maybe it’s because I have so much of my degree left to complete. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I’m excited to finish my BA so I can come back here and live somewhere in Spain for good. So I can start a routine there instead. So I can weekend in France and take a short flight to Ireland when I’m craving a taste of nature.

I’m not done here yet. I still have less than half way to go. I have a lot to see. And I’m looking forward to it all immensely because each place is different than anything else I’ve seen. I was talking to one of my best friends, Casey, about this today, and he said, “A long adventure like this is what you need to appreciate your day to day life. And your day to day life is what you need to appreciate an adventure like that.” The paradox of vacation. Who knew?