Traveling can often be a lonely endevor. When one goes out into the world, for any adventure, out of their own element and into a different culture, a sense of loneliness can settle in. You are removed from your circle of family and friends. Your favorite restaurants are missing, your go-to places to shop are all gone. You have to reboot and relearn, constantly filling your head with new information. It can be liberating, exhilarating, and tiring, all at once. It´s like being in a constant state of mixed emotions, being simultaneously pulled in multiple directions and being far removed from normal influence. You want to go out and learn everything you can about this new place, but it can also be overwhelming and it takes a lot more effort, courage, and desire to keep it up every day.
It´s what we decide to do, in that vulnerable state, that what matters. There are several options or courses of action one can take:
1) As an escapist, running further into the world in an inviting option for me. To just keep going and try not to look back. However, one cannot run forever. At some point you have to settle, at least for awhile, in order to gather your bearings to continue further. Maybe that means you have run out of funds and can´t move on, at least not yet. That´s where I have found myself. However, I am in this position thankfully in a wonderful place with good people. I am not trapped. I look at this as a new challenge. I want to see what else I can make of myself here in this new world.
2) Or you can choose to return home. Go back and see if you are capable to resuming a life that has changed drastically since you have left. Going home to familiarity sounds nice, but in reality you know it´s not the same as it was and never will be. Because traveling changes a person. It broadens the mind and does not allow you to settle back into normality.
Then you start to question normality in general... what does normal mean? For me, it´s a terrible, terrifying notion. The thought of having a normal life is extremely offputting and can set me into a frenzy of twitches, leaving me scrambling trying to find a way to escape. Such a funny thing, normal. Hmm...
3) Stay. Look forward. Keep learning and expanding your mind. There is always something that can be learned. Maybe the next challenge is seeing if you can really excel in someplace where even communication is a constant struggle. You cannot triumph here, not really, unless you master the language.
Challenge = Accepted.
What will be my legacy? I think one of my biggest fears is that I will wake up one day and not have much else to show for what I have done with my life, beyond a collection of stories and memories. But isn´t that the essence of life anyways? In old age do you rely on the happy memories, the triumphs of your accomplishments, your perseverance in your struggles? I don´t know what I want out of life, except for this: I want to see the world, do something good for the people in it. I´m not going to be a doctor. I´m not going to be a famous scientist and solve global warming. I won´t be a nurse in a third world country. But there is something that I can do here, for now, and that is to teach English. For someone currently learning a language I know first hand how difficult and frustrating it can be to not be able to effectively communicate. Maybe, just maybe, I can help those who are struggling with these same emotions to push past it and to accomplish their goals. It might not be saving lives, or curing diseases, but at least it´s making a difference, if only in a small way.