June 23, 2008

traveling the world: a global perspective

Unsurprisingly, I can't sleep.

I even had some wine from the hostel bar to try to help me out, but it's not working so far. So I'll blog instead. But it's not a big deal - in a few hours, I will be on a plane, and I will have hours and hours and hours to sleep then. Which I think will help prospective jet lag? I am not really sure. But it will help pass the time.

I can absolutely not wrap my mind around the fact that I am going home. Whenever I try to think about it, I go pretty much blank, like I can't comprehend it or take it in. It feels just like I am going to the next new place, the next city, the next continent. I don't know if it will hit me, or how. In actuality, though, I am never really able to fully comprehend what I've done, this trip that I've undertaken. It never dawns on me, the enormity of it; it is constantly broken down into smaller bits, getting to the next hostel, seeing the next sight, taking in the next city. I only get glimpses of the fact of what I am doing, where I have been, and what I have done - generally it comes when I talk to someone else about it, and remember that I am not the norm. I wonder if I will have a collision, a recognition of both the trip and the homecoming all at the same time, and end up curled in a fetal position trying to process it all?

Even though I am really, really excited to be going home, and looking forward to so much both about being at home and about being done with traveling, I have a decent amount of trepidation, too. As I got closer and closer to coming home, I has also been away for longer and longer, and over the last couple of months, I have begun to feel increasingly disconnected from my life at home. I keep in contact with people, of course, but I think it has been an cumulative effect of being so far away and so erratically in touch. I know the big, monumental things that are happening in peoples' lives, but at this point, I feel like I know nothing about their day-to-day minutiae, and it makes me feel increasingly disconnected. I can't help but wonder what it will be like to come back, if it will be like I never left before very long, or if I will have to re-meet everything that I knew?

There is also the political aspect of it. It's an interesting paradox, but the fact is, traveling the world often means that you don't actually have to live in the world. I keep up with life and the world as best as I can from headlines grabbed in Internet cafes and actual headlines, when I can read them, but that really gives me that major bits and pieces. Now, though, I am back to being an American, back in a position where I feel I can and should do things about causes and issues I care about, back to a world where I am a participant and not a tourist. Coming home means re-engaging, and at a time when it feels like the world and America are at a pit of a precipice, and that is a bit of a daunting prospect on its own.

I am a worrier at heart, so I know that going home will mostly be about getting to hug my mom, and cook real food again, and sleep in a bed bigger than a twin wherein there will be no one else in the room, coming in at 4am or out at 6am (generally not the same people, but still), and watch television, and actually live a life rather than a temporary, transient existence. But the night before, I will worry that coming home will involve more than all the things I've missed while I've been away.

1 comment:

piffle said...

Sometimes coming home is as scary as leaving. we love you and we can't wait to see you.