I spent the past year living a stationary life in America. I realize I didn’t write much, and it wasn’t necessarily because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I didn’t deem the things I had to say as blog-appropriate. It was a rather dark year for me, mood-wise, for a host of reasons I will not get into (for the same reason why I didn’t get into them before now), and I couldn’t find a way to write about the negativity I was battling in a public space. I tend to shy away from publishing anything negative in my blog, not because I want to pretend these things never happen but because I honestly don’t know how to write about them to you.
I think that’s okay and for now it will stay that way. But it’s my blog, my rules, so maybe one day I will experiment and write something negative/outspoken/controversial. No promises either way!
What I do want to write about is a recent realization that has left me reeling. After living at home for so long in a relatively conventional lifestyle, I learned that it is entirely possible to unlearn everything you have learned while on the road.
Well I just didn’t think that was possible. I understood travel to work in an additive way, like you go have your trip and you learn/grow/change and that’s that. Then you go have another trip and do some more learning/growing/changing on top of the previous learning/growing/changing, and in this way you continue to build upon yourself.
It’s just not so.
All of the patience, the flexibility, the “letting go of control” – I unlearned it all! I won’t say I completely went back to square one, pre-Thailand, pre-Australia even – but I definitely regressed. Afraid, neurotic, dependent: I encountered all of this within the past few months before departing for Peru. (Still got those packing skills though!)
This isn’t really a bad thing, I guess, it’s more just an observation. Just as I have unlearned things I suppose I can relearn them again. I think there is a lesson here, though, that could be relevant for one-time travelers like college students who do a study abroad and then never travel again, or really anybody:
You can’t just plan a big trip and it changes you forever and that’s it. It may change you, but there is always the potential to change back. How can we alter our conventional lifestyle to maintain the lessons we learned while traveling?