Monday, June 29, 2015

Waking from a Dream

It's hard to believe that we'll be going home for good a week from now; it feels so unreal. I still remember two years ago, right about this time of the year, I was about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, leaping into the unknown, having sold the house we had just bought two year prior and most of our possessions, and quitting a job that was tearing apart my soul piece by piece. It felt as if we were about to leap off the side of a mountain blindfolded and with our hands tied behind our backs. It was scary, exciting, exhilarating, and stressful, all at once. I stayed up nights worrying, thinking, analyzing, and thinking some more. And now, we've come full circle: We're about to embark on the same journey, but backwards, going back to where this all began. Everything will be the same, yet nothing will be the same. We may be returning home with the same material content in our suitcases, but our minds and spirits are no longer what we started with. Again, I'm staying up nights worrying, thinking, analyzing, and thinking some more. Again, it's scary and stressful, but not quite as exciting or exhilarating.

These past two years have been beyond anything I could've imagined. Yes, there are the perks of being able to travel every few months on a budget. There's a reason everyone refers to living abroad as a "working vacation." And there's also that element of escapism involved: Living abroad certainly lets one off from social and familial obligations, responsibilities, and expectations. But while it's possible to travel and see the world and escape from reality without uprooting one's entire life, living abroad is a lot more than that, as this article makes clear. When you are constantly living far beyond your comfort zone, day in and day out, you are awakened, rewired, irrevocably changed. It shakes you up and changes everything you've ever thought about life. You feel alive. You become fearless. You feel capable of anything. You feel the freedom to do what you want to do, and you become more willing to try new things and take risks. When you are freed from the constraints of lifelong expectations and influences, you are free to examine yourself, learn about yourself, and get to know yourself and your priorities. You feel free to be yourself.

Two years ago, I felt afraid embarking on this journey. I was afraid of the unknown. Now I'm afraid of the known and familiar. I'm afraid of, once again, living a complacent life, of putting my brain on auto-pilot, of going through the motions and sleepwalking through life. Going back to the U.S., I can't help but feel as if I'm waking up from a pleasant dream to reality again. When we used to live in the U.S., I frequently felt at a loss. I often felt as if I was "messing up" my life somehow. Living here, I have never felt that way. If I did, the mistakes didn't feel irreversible, like they did in the U.S. I'll need to keep in mind that, just like moving here, going home is yet another leg of our adventure that will reveal other surprises in store for us and offer other life lessons. Life truly is an incredible journey.  

No comments:

Post a Comment