When I checked out Ayngelina’s blog this week, it left me feeling abnormal.
Her wrenching post on coming home and the sad realization that her friends have moved forward, made her question where she belongs. Even doubt the stability of those relationships.
She eloquently referred to the post-travel depression that many travel warriors suffer from. Being smothered with familiar surroundings can make you feel more displaced.
A few things have happened to me since I’ve been home.
I was sipping a delicious fruit smoothie, weaving through a neighborhood I use to live in, Commercial Drive, seeing with delight the shops that I frequented in the past, and feeling slightly sad at the ones that closed.
I turned the corner onto a residential street and paused. Everything seemed the same. Lush, jade colored trees, which have stood in East Vancouver for longer than I’ve been alive, spilled forth against the powder blue sky. Birds chirped. An elderly woman rolled down the sidewalk noisily with her foldable shopping cart, throwing me a scowl. No doubt heading to Donald’s Market, a popular grocery store around those parts.
Then it was silent again, save for me and the birds. I craned my neck to the sky, catching sight of a seagull in flight, its dove, white wings flapping with purpose. Contracting. Expanding. Moving forward. I wondered where.
My limbs grew lighter, like a marionette master had attached strings to them and was pulling me upwards, towards the blanket sky, forcing me to move like the seagull.
I looked at my feet, to ensure they were still there. Along with that weightless sensation, came another feeling. A stone dropped from my heart. The kind of burden that makes you shudder.
The stone of “home” fell away. I had finally bid Vancouver adieu. It was nice knowing you. We had many highs and lows, but I didn’t regret a minute. There wasn’t overwhelming worry, no pain to fill my emotional boots. It was just time.
I felt 20 pounds lighter, ready to buy clothes to dress this new body.
As for my friends, the reality of them moving forward actually brings me peace. When I left last year, many were in life mid-streams, some were going through divorces, separations or career anxieties.
Right now, all of them are branching into exciting new phases, some personal; some professional.
Life at home does accelerate, and I couldn’t be happier. I can leave on a high note and feel reassured that I don’t have to worry about them.
Then, I read Ayngelina’s post and wondered what was wrong with me. Shouldn’t I be experiencing the same?
Yet, I feel the opposite. Somehow, throughout this insane process of re-jigging my life I always knew Vancouver wasn’t where I belonged.
In ten days, I’m about to pick up stakes and leave again. The Train Challenge plans are cemented for September, but after that, it’s an unmanned ship.
I ought to be questioning where I do belong, because as social animals don’t we all crave a cult to tether ourselves to?
Instead of feeling grief at that prospect, I feel renewed. Nerves crackling, my traveling pugilist is ready for fancy footwork, to send the world a right hook.
So frickin ready for anything, everything. The possibilities, combinations… are there for the plucking or the chucking.
Solo travelers write endless advice articles and op-ed pieces on loneliness. My loneliness stems from the lack of a companion to tease or joke with. I can stand in a place I’ve never been, barely heard about, and never feel lonely. With so much meat before me, how can I?
I don’t belong to a cult, but I might just be ready for what an entire world can offer me.
So, maybe I’m far from normal, but I can still gaze at my reflection in the mirror and like what I see.
Time to embrace my weird.