True Lessons Of The Return

Dirt Road To The TurbesiHere are the keywords to a google search someone made this morning which led them here: hard to return to life after traveling.

I can so relate. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not pining to be on the road somewhere. In Oman earlier this year I had a conversation with a young woman from Australia. She said, “I’m absolutely wrecked for normality now. Traveling for any length of time more than six months will do that to you.”

If you’ve got the travel bug, by all means follow it. But word to the wise: life will never be the same. And there are negative consequences to the traveling life. It’s not all fun and games.

Your parents won’t understand you. My father still schemes and manipulates to keep me in one place, to settle down, have a family and all that. Seriously, at 39 years old it ain’t likely. As soon as I can I’m getting back out on the road. My mother is much more accepting, but I think that’s just out of resignation than anything else. And while my sisters love hearing about my stories the envy is real; that I chose to go out in the world and do what I do, and they are at home, raising families, dealing with ‘real life’ as they call it.

A traveling life also truncates friendships, even those that are ‘lifelong.’ Of course, there is that glowing time when one returns home after a lengthy absence when you connect with all your old friends. And for some of them the bond does get stronger–those, however, are few and far between. For most it does not. At first they are glad to see you, but then the wide gulf separating two different lifeways is all too obvious. Text messages and invitations to go out for happy hour and such dissipate. Phone calls don’t get returned. The euphoria dies.

And searching for a ‘real job’ when you return?

Don’t make me laugh. Just the other day I was turned down for a job. The reason: “well, you’re the most qualified for the job, but you’ve been out of the job market so long–by choice and not due to a layoff–that we’re hiring someone fresher.” It is what it is, I suppose.

But, the rewards?

It’s been six months to the day since I returned. And I’m thinking at some point soon the Chronicles of the Return will need to be renamed the Chronicles of A Mistfit, in the sense of someone who just doesn’t quite fit in.

I’m not complaining, not remotely. I chose this path and I am grateful I did. I wouldn’t do anything else. Nothing in life has ever made me feel richer, more alive and in touch with the reality of our glorious home, Earth, than traveling. And I doubt anything ever will.

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