I wrote this as an answer to a reader's question once, and since I have been suffering from writer's block and missing Israel and adventures with Celessa a lot right now, I thought I would post this.
Adventure Awaits: A letter to the traveler who had to come back home
For those who travel or have that ‘Je ne sais quoi’ so deeply embedded in their being to experiencing cities, cultures, and people all over the world, there is often entered a state of depression when the adventure is over or at least when the adventure seems to be over. Darling, let’s first start by the absolute truth that the adventure is never over. You are the adventure. You create the adventure. The adventure is the beautiful ups-and-downs, highs-and-lows, heres-and-theres of your crazy, wonderful, wanderlusting self.
Many call the period of travel ending as “coming back to reality,” or “settling into normal life,” and yes, the end of a trip often requires more than just a return ticket or a closet instead of a suitcase, but also must include a mental shift; an acceptance and a thankfulness that this, the life at home, can be just as good as that life away. That over is not over forever, but ‘over’ is simply over for right now. It’s an understanding that new adventures always await.
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Travel has a way of making us face ourselves, our emotions, our insecurities, and our unknown yearnings in a way that almost no other entity has the power of doing. We often are forced to be ready for adjustments or lessons before we realize what is happening. We didn’t feel that we were ready for the beginning, and now, definitely we are not ready for the ending. But, if we waited till when we felt ready, most of us would probably never do anything in our lives. Travel must end at some point, not permanently or maybe permanently, but either way, travel is under the same laws of nature and science and life, and these laws state that all good and bad things must end.
Your heart wants so badly to have those moments experienced when away just one more time, but Darling, No! This can never be possible. It’s like the saying, “There are many types of love, but never the same love twice.” You can love what you had, but you can’t make it happen in the same way again, so don’t try. Please do not ever try to recreate, compare, or remanufacture a new experience to be like an old one simply because you have not learned the art of letting go. Letting go is as freeing as why most of us travel- to be free. So let yourself be free. Wishing to be back in your favorite moment one more time taints everything about everything that happened. Always remember and appreciate, but also remember, you are here now. Be here now. And, if here is some shitty apartment, in some god awful town, with no diversity or depth, love the plain and simpleness out of that shit and dream about the new adventures that will happen. The new adventures of today when you walk down the street. Tomorrow when you go to the market. Next week when you sip that very normal looking black coffee at that very normal looking Starbucks.
Mourn what you miss, Darling. Let yourself cry while looking out of that airplane window. Feel that ache of your heart because you want so badly to be everywhere and nowhere and not here all at the same time. Reminisce and remember. Don’t be calloused or cold. Don’t force yourself to adjust too quickly, but do not allow yourself wallow either. You will adjust, because you will grow and change and accept that this feeling you are feeling now is just as much of a part of the beauty of travel as being actually immersed in travel. The fact that you hurt a bit and miss a bit- there’s something to that to celebrate. There’s something reverent about feeling so deeply that it makes you ache. There’s something wonderful about missing, because missing tells you what matters. Missing is an indication of where you care, what you care for and when you care.
If you continue to travel in excess, you will hit the point when each experience blends to the next making you adjust so seamlessly that it is as if the contrast of the various countries and people never actually happened. Travel becomes such a reality that it feels like you live in a complete dream and that’s when you can miss the whole point. You become so tired of the goodbyes that you don’t even try to make a hello. When you struggle with being ok after leaving, embrace the truth that you were so deeply rooted in the experience that you truly felt all of it, and that is wonderful. At home, you may feel absolutely out-of-your-skin out of place, missing the friends that you met, that crazy beautiful sunset in Costa Rica, and that kiss on the streets of Barcelona. Alright, feel out of place Darling, but you aren’t. You think that no one understands you, but you are wrong! They do. They do understand you. It’s that you are not giving them the chance to understand that creates the wall. Just let them try. Just try living today’s adventure, instead of yesterday’s memory.
Life is about accepting the transition, and the sooner that you learn this, the more you will understand and be able to readjust well. It’s easy to transition when the change allows us to escape from a relationship we didn’t know how to walk away from, a job that we didn’t have the courage to quit, or a place that we knew was only making us stuck, but it’s a new story when we have to leave a really good place. A good place of location, a good place within a relationship, a good place in a job. You are strong enough to handle the transitions that you don’t want. These transitions and adjustments make you better. How mundane would a book read if each chapter returned to the issues and content of the previous? You dear traveler are anything but mundane. Don’t act like you need the last chapter back. Live this one. Write it. You have the pen and paper. You will always have your most favorite part to the story, but that doesn’t mean the next part can’t be just as a good. Whose to say your favorite part hasn’t even been written yet…
because adventure awaits.