Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Make a Life You Don't Need to Escape From

I started this blog with every intention of it turning into a travelogue for last year's adventures. I left for London almost a year ago, and it was the adventure of a lifetime. It was the exciting, harrowing, terrifying, fantastic trip that would change me forever. Even a year later, I'm not sure if everything I learned and became on that trip has sunken in completely.

I traveled for a good part of nine months last year. My European adventure was only six weeks long, which was about half as long as we planned. Finances and a torn hamstring brought us home early, but the traveling wasn't over. The adventure had just begun.

Coming Off the Vacation High
Anyone who has traveled for long periods of time will tell you that adjusting back to "real life" is difficult. Quitting my job to travel was an adjustment. Working exclusively as a freelance writer was more of an adjustment. And then, returning back to "normal life" with a 8-4 office job was the hardest adjustment of all.

Fitting in Where You Don't Fit In
I've been struck with wanderlust, and no matter how hard I push for "normal life" to be normal for me, it just isn't anymore. This city isn't my home. This monotonous schedule isn't what I want.

More than ever, I feel like the hermit crab that's overgrown its shell; I feel like an over-sized trapezoid trying to fit into a very small, round hole. It doesn't fit anymore. I don't fit into this life anymore.

Accepting the Changes
At first, it was a relief to be back from travels. To walk around town without consciously gripping onto my purse at all times. To sleep in a comfortable bed that is my own. To see my family and hear my native language. To have some familiarity and stability back again. Those are, after all, things I missed most.

But when I returned, nothing was the same. From the outside, my life here looked the same. It had all the right colors, the right people, the right elements. But it didn't take me long to realize it was a facade - and once I removed the sheet that was hiding the truth, I saw chaos and disarray.

When you are in shock or panic, you do everything you can to make things feel normal and stable. You try to get things back to where they were before, even if it means jabbing together pieces of a puzzle that were never meant to fit together.

For a few months, that was my method. Everything was moving in fast forward and I was pretending that my life would go back to normal, all the while denying all the things that changed me while I was gone. It wasn't just the friends I lost, the employer that didn't hire me back, or the long-term-boyfriend-turned-ex. I changed. I was different, and I knew it.

Everyone says this is normal. After you do something adventurous and crazy for a long period of time, getting back to mundane life is a struggle. Then I found this.

What a simple concept. Yet most people, myself included, trick themselves into thinking it's unattainable. I will set out to prove this is possible...that I can create a life for myself that isn't just tolerable, but enjoyable. One I don't want to escape from.

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