It’s finally time. I’m coming home. And I’m not all that excited. In fact, I’m terrified. This past year was meant to be a year of self-exploration and discovery, of opening doors and finding my way to a better future. Instead, I am heading home uncertain about what will come next.
This blog has been an experiment for me, not just in writing about my adventures, but in sharing my thoughts with others, and putting them out into the universe for everyone to see. But the most personal – and most painful – lessons I’ve learned, I’ve kept off the page and close to my heart. These were the defining moments for me. The photos and descriptions of my adventures have captured the beauty of Australia and New Zealand perfectly, but the true and most lasting impact of this year has come from within.
I’ve redefined how I view my relationships with family, friends, and men. I’ve realized how important it is to surround myself with positive influences, people who inspire me and genuinely care about me. And once again I have been reminded, the hard way, how important it is to listen to my intuition.
I’ve discovered a newfound respect for my health and well-being, and a deeper compassion for those around me, knowing that we all have personal struggles not easily revealed. I’ve realized being broke is no reason to stop experiencing the best of every day, and that money isn’t worth losing sleep over, that it will all work out in the end.
When I first left Edmonton, I was deeply dissatisfied with so many areas of my life. I hated my job, and I was crushed when another job offer fell through at the last moment, with no explanation. My dating life was either non-existent or filled with one jerk after another. I was stuck in a rut, doing the same thing, with the same people, every day. I tried to fill myself with retail therapy and fell into an all too common consumer purchasing trap. I needed a change, and with it, a change in perspective. I needed to believe in myself again.
When I started my blog, I wrote that I wanted this year to be “not a destination, but a new way of seeing things.” I’ve accomplished that. And I am actually ready to return home.
But what terrifies me about the return is reverse culture shock, where you have difficulty reintegrating with your home country after having been away on extended travel. The fear isn’t so much that I won’t be able to fit back into my old life, but that I will. I don’t want to return to the same existence, to fall back into the same patterns. I don’t want to forget the lessons I’ve learned.
I thought in my travels as one door closed another would open, that along the way the answer would reveal itself to me, if not with a brilliant insight, then at least gradually over the year. It hasn’t happened.
I’ve had a few ideas – Give up my career! Work in a coffee shop! Go back to school! Start my own business! Write a book! Travel to Bali! Thailand! All great ideas, all with good merit, all with pros and cons. Somehow, none of them seem right for me, right now.
This is my opportunity to hit the reset button, and once I do, I have no idea where it will lead. Any ideas?