“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” Isabelle Eberhardt
Coming home from traveling is never easy for me. The post-travel blues hit almost as soon as I arrive at the airport ready to head back home, back to life, and back to unfinished business that was left behind.
Months prior to leaving were filled with feelings of excitement at the weeks that were ahead, but once you return home, life is as it once was. Normal routines fall back into place and the thrill of waking up each day with a feeling of carpe diem is all but a memory.
That’s what makes travel so hard to leave. Each day I woke up ready for a new adventure, ready to see what life had in store. What animals would we see? What ancient civilizations’ secrets would I uncover? What mountain would I climb? What challenge would I accept? Who would I meet?
Unfortunately, this isn’t so easy to do when you return home. There are bills to pay, jobs to work, laundry to be done, and life almost immediately returns to normal. It’s as if you never really were away at all.
While I love being home to see the people I’ve missed, I long for the nights spent huddling around the campfire drinking Milo or hot chocolate with Amarula, the sounds of animals outside my tent at night, and the feeling of the African wind blowing through my hair. I miss my new group of friends and what we all experienced together for the first time. I miss our inside jokes and being called my group nickname, “Pixie.” I miss the laughter and even the long drives on the truck. I miss sleeping on the ground, planes, and trains, using currencies other than my own, and seeing signs in a language other than English. I miss the adventure each day brought and the growth that I experienced in the realization of all that I could do.
Africa changed me. I believe in myself more than I ever have and am amazed in all that I am capable of. I also have a greater understanding and appreciation for this world that I live in and all who live here with me. With each trip comes change, but I do believe that this one has had the greatest impact on my life. Each trip may end, but the person we are after traveling is what matters most.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett