It’s official after 8 months and 12 days I am back in Canada! And I have to say I am rather excited. Conflicted, but excited. If anyone out there thinks traveling is easy think again, although I may not be the best person to ask (as the overly emotional being that I am) Cecilley could give you a better more practical answer about traveling as a whole.
But back to my current emotional state – I’m conflicted for many reasons, one being the idea of coming home. Way back when, when Cecilley and I set off to travel the world coming home early would have been a failure in my eyes. When I set out to do something, I want to do it. We set off to travel for a year, that was the goal. Hacking it out with only each other and our backpacks was the test. Do I have what it takes to make it 12 months abroad? I thought so, and I still think so, but now I’m trading my flexible schedule and freedom, my ability to chose my next home and destination based on where I currently am in the world and where I feel like going next, with a fixed work schedule, a fixed home, and sticking to one location. Why?! Why would anyone voluntarily give up this life of luxury?
Because I got a job.
Yes, a job. I know it sounds like a total cop out from the free living lifestyle of the average backpacker, but from the very beginning, Cecilley and I were not your average backpackers. Being slightly older than the average globetrotter (the compliments of being very mature for our age never got old), we also wanted to work and volunteer while we traveled This wasn’t going to be a glorified vacation for the two of us, and we made sure that it wasn’t. Running a marathon and walking over 1000 kms over 50 days is straight up work if you ask me! We wanted new skills for the old resume and we got exactly that and more. So much more!
Traveling has taught me many things about myself and the world. The people I’ve met to the places I’ve been, I can look back and be very proud of my accomplishments. With a tentative “plan” in mind we weren’t committed to anything but each other. But (as travelling has taught me on a number of occasions) plans change whether you want them to or not. I am no longer in a place to think that not competing the year would have been a failure. I am no longer in a place to think I have to keep going because I’m in Europe and when will I ever be back?! I have no idea, but maybe that’s a good thing. Ending 4 months sooner then planned would have upset me earlier in our travels, but now it’s the right thing to do. I’m ready to go back and face all the things I left behind, I’m ready for my new challenge… living at home with my parents. Yup. After 10 years of living away from home and on my own, I am going back home. Is this karma biting me in the ass? Nah, I think I am ready for it. We shall see. I will however, be working and planning my next adventure, this should keep me busy. For a little while at least. I’ve been conflicted with the idea of home and not going back to Toronto, but when opportunities present themselves sometimes you have to let go of expectations and just go with it. But at the time it was scary to think I may not go back to my life in Toronto. I trust it will be there, waiting for me when I do go back.
But the job wasn’t the only reason. I no longer felt as though I was running away, I was no longer scared to go home, I wanted to see my family and friends, and wanted to look forward to working again. But before that, I wanted to enjoy what Cecilley and I did together. I found the answers I needed to be proud of our accomplishments, and I found the clarity to realize what we’ve been through. We saw the world! I know this adventure seems like it’s over, but really it’s only over for now. I know I will keep going and travel more, but I have time, joy, and balance to figure out what my next phase will look like. These were things I didn’t have before. That Camino, man, I tell ya, it’s something else. It really is.
When I left Toronto a lot had happen in my personal life, but it was travelling that really tested me in ways I needed. Leaving my familiar life behind, along with the few belongings I had left, getting on the plane to Bali, I was in over my head. Travelling took me down some pretty dark paths, but I feel as though I know myself better because of it. It has it’s way of dragging you so far down, but then brings you right back up. I saw what I needed to see and I did what I needed to do. And it’s totally okay it didn’t take me a full calendar year to figure it all out.