Being alive for nearly a quarter of a century has brought about more than one person’s fair share of valuable lessons. Finding balance requires both highs and lows. For me, the beginning of 2013 was a real low. How could that be, right? I went home to NYC, hopped across the pond to Ireland, visited Japan for the second time in 4 months, and got a taste of China through Beijing.
Well, I’ll tell you. It’s silly really because I had structured my entire return to Asia around my tour to North Korea. When I had to cancel my trip into the DPRK, I lost sight of why I bothered visiting Japan again and chose to cut my trip throughout China because of how disheartened and disappointed I felt. Biggest pity party ever! Maybe continuing through China would’ve been good for me, but it would’ve been a waste to travel with a cloud hanging over my head. Additionally, I came crawling out of China back to America with a head cold that overstayed its welcome and left me without a voice for nearly 3 weeks. It was time to be done. See also, How You Know It’s Time to Leave.
There are a few lessons that have hit home recently, and they’re important to address and reflect upon because they can easily be applied to something happening in YOUR life too.
Listen to and consider what others have to say, but ultimately, it’s your life and your decision. Don’t let ANYONE pressure you out of doing something you know is the right choice for you or steer you off your path. Regarding the decision to cancel my trip to the DPRK, I disobeyed my intuition and heart, and for that I am most ashamed.
Finish what you start. It drives me mental that I can’t seem to follow through with my travel plans. I cut my first RTW trip short due to fatigue and family health issues, and of course, this most recent trip ended abruptly due to poor planning and high hopes. Which leads to my third lesson…
Stay flexible! Yep, my go-with-the-flow needs major improvement. At the age of 24, I feel this sense of urgency to see the whole world tomorrow, but as my mother always reminds me, the world isn’t going anywhere. I have my whole life to explore so I must practice going slow, staying flexible, and not getting so down on myself when my travel plans don’t pan out the way I want them to.
On Being Back in America
Now that I’ve been back home for a couple of months, I’m feeling more lost than ever. Seeing so many different countries in such a short time has left me feeling displaced in America. While I am, in fact, inching my way back up from this trough, finding my footing has been difficult, and I haven’t a clue of where I’m headed. It’s like learning to walk again. More than that, I have all of these travel experiences, stories, tips, and photos to share, and I have no idea what to do with them. They’re just sitting in my head collecting dust.
Everyday, I’m finding the patience to sit still and develop a regular routine again, but it’s like fitting a circle into a square box. Wanderlust is tugging at my soul 24/7, and trying to silence it is being untrue to who I am. So I let it consume me, making it difficult to be at home where nothing has changed except for me.
In a way, my hunger for a nomadic life has become dependent on the small world of like-minded perpetual travelers because they know the ups and downs of the addiction. They know how it feels to be humbled by people who live so large on so little, silenced and rattled by culture shock, and in awe of out of body experiences abroad. The type of people I’m drawn to and connect with so easily is changing, and I strive to stay in communication with them because they’re the strongest antidote for my anxieties.
Now, my friends at home are planning trips of their own and have invited me along to be a travel buddy. Even though I’ve had to turn down some amazing travel opportunities, I’m thrilled that they’re leaving home to seek out personal, new adventures. My friends abroad continue to encourage me to visit them in their home countries, and for that I am most grateful. It helps keep my spark to travel aflame and gives me something to look forward to. So it’s not all bad. My vision may be a little foggy right now, but I know what my future has in store for me is going to be so incredible, it sends chills up my spine.
As I mentioned in a recent update, I have a makeshift mission in mind for 2014, but it’s going to take a lot of work, will power, and money to get there. I’m not going to give anything away just yet, but I will say this. The mission has multiple parts to it, it involves the letter A, and it’s time to go live abroad for a while. After all, Henry Rollins once said…
The best way to learn about your country is to leave it.