Knowing full well how I felt, she asked me, “What was it about Australia that made you so happy?” Was it the place… to some extent. Was it the idea of the place… that too. Was it the people…It was how the people made me feel. For the first time in my life I felt like I knew who I was, but once I came back to the states it instantly evaporated. I’m still trying to regain that feeling and sense of self-worth. What it boiled down to was that sense of “belonging” was really just because I felt special for the first time in my life. In Australia, I stood out, and I became the “American girl,” and I have to admit, I loved the attention. I had never felt like I stood out like that here. I have more friends now than I did in one place then, but my friends here actually love me for who I am, not where I am from or the person I became when I was thriving off of being the center of attention. So, why isn’t that enough for me?
My roommate started telling me her own struggle, as she has wanderlust just as bad as I did. She started talking about how creating a home base, establishing relationships, and building roots has finally become more important to her than her desire to travel. It made my stomach turn and hers too. “This is all part of growing up, realizing that the cloud of Australia or wherever the next adventure is, is not reality.” She compared it to getting high or an addiction to a substance- “It’s the same thing,” she said. How can I reduce the high, create a reality and home base, find “real” bliss and still travel. Here's the thing though, I know that travel is an escape for me. It's a place to runaway to when my "reality" isn't what I want it to be. I think that acknowledging that fact is huge and until I get over trying to run away, I know that I am not ready yet. Until I don't feel trapped any more, it is then that i will be ready to travel again.
I hate this so much. I hate thinking about it or even asking these questions. I just wish the conversation had never happened, but I don’t know if she is right. I know there is a balance between living-on-a-cloud and where I am now, but right now I don’t even have an idea of where that is. It’s either travel for the rest of my life in bliss or get stuck in U.S. for the rest of my life and never travel. And no- I am not okay with traveling once a year. That is a sick and twisted concept that Americans created. It’s literally frowned upon to take your two weeks’ vacation. When you take vacation, everyone hates you for it, your coworkers and your boss'- then you have the potential of not having a job when you come back. Here I am feeling guilty for missing one day of work to go back to Colorado for Christmas to spend it with my family for the first time in 2 years. That’s not okay with me. I know that is sick and twisted, and yet I am living proof that it doesn’t matter how much you're against it- you will get trapped. I've been working for 9 months now with 0 vacation days. Twinsies and I- we call it "the trap," and that is a reality that I don’t want to live in for the rest of my life.I understand that this isn’t just a desire I have and that everyone feels this way, but because I’ve actually lived and worked in my dream country as a reality, it makes me feel like it is even more possible than most people would. Where does my dream stop and reality begin? Or, where does reality stop and my dreams begin?
*travel meaning actually living in another country and working for an extended period of time