Leaving your country for the first time might be one of the hardest things you have ever done. Scratch that. Every time you leave is hard. You go away for some long term travel, for a gap year, to work. You begin your adventure, your terrifying and exciting journey, in the first weeks, even months of a new start, in a new place, alone. Everything is new, odd, weird, fantastic. As soon as you step out of the airport, it's like the air smells different, the sun is not the same, and the possibilities are infinite.
As soon as you settle in and everything goes according to plan, your new life begins. You create roots. The longer you stay in a place, the deeper they are. New routines, new people, new habits. You make new friends, perhaps even lovers, and and it's like you're living in a different world. In a way, it is. You're getting used to a new culture, new foods, new personalities and different ways of thinking. You dare yourself to push your limits more and more.
And when you're finally settled, comfortable, and open, it's time to come back. You have to leave behind new friends, the ones you swore were for life, and maybe you'll have to breakup with that special someone, because let's be real, long distance is still hard and you won't have the patience to be connected to a device everyday to connect with someone that was supposed to be next to you, touching you. If you're lucky, extremely lucky, one or two of your best friends you made there will keep in touch, visit you, have annual get togethers and travel together in the future with you.
It's time to pack the bags. You take with you not only your belongings, but also all you gathered inside of you, your soul. All the experiences, relationships, emotions. You might cry on your way back home, but you'll see your parents for the first time in months/years, and you're happy again. It's time to relax and visit people you haven't seen in ages. If you have a big family, it's now time to visit that aunt or cousin you always had dearly in your heart and bring them that gift you bought when you thought of them. A friend calls, and it's time to reunite the old gang in a bar and pay for the rounds for the friends you haven't seen in so long. Everyone asks how was your life out there, what did you do, did you make new friends? You have millions of stories that you're eager to tell, to share, but they don't care. Everyone asks about your experience, but after a minute, they'll be bored and change the subject because they weren't there, they are not feeling what you felt, what you have inside. Your heart and soul are full of these adventures and stories, and they'll stay with you to be told here and there in a casual conversation or to remember in the future for a possible reunion.
The two weeks of bliss end, you've met everyone, and you being back is not news anymore. What now? That temporary life you left behind that left you with that bug for adventure creeps on your mind and you realise home is not home anymore. The things you did before you left are not exciting, you think you need the rush, the hunger for new experiences becomes stronger and stronger. But that job from 9 to 5 won't get done itself. Being in a place you know your whole life doesn't give you a challenge. You sigh. You look at your suitcase that you still haven't fully unpacked because if it gets stored again in the attic, it's like that adventure never happened, and wonder, what if I do it all over again? What if I just pack everything right now again and leave, start a new adventure? You have that thought for a moment and then you come back to reality. You need to focus on your life, on the now, be an adult.
Little do you know now that in less than one to two years, you're back on the road again. Because once you start, there's no going back.