Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Post Adventure Travel Let Down

It happens. Returning from an exciting, different place leaves one feeling that everything else is not very interesting. Sitting at my desk... I've done that. Drive to work along the same route I have driven for the last 19 months... I've been there. Look at little squares and the same eight colors on the computer screen...

I had this after Pakistan. That was worse. I went to Colorado for a week and did things I had never done before. Run at elevations previously breath taking. Go on a 15 hour hike and climb and not feel terrible. Curl up on the floor of my parents van as we drove. (I wear my seatbelt so often it is extremely rare for me not to wear it.) Really the whole five months of 2009 after I returned I was pretty affected. Cristina died and I did not.

My sister told me, "...you are addicted to travel."

I had, and still have, no good response. Am I addicted to travel? I don't know, probably.

Perhaps it is not travel per se that I am addicted to but rather new experiences. Again, I say that but then I think about something like running, I have been doing it seriously for quite a few years. Somehow it does not really get boring in the same way that driving to work gets boring.

Traveling, specifically to a less developed place is exciting. The language is different. The food is different. The people have great perspectives on the world. Most I have talked with understand the global community context better than most Americans. Our problem is that you do not need to understand other countries to exist and succeed in this country. The people are interested in what I have to say, wether that is because I am an American or they perceive me to be rich, which in the context of the world I am, I do not know. The weather is often a little different. The terrain is different. The animals are different. There is often the fear of a bombing or something, and fear is strangely exciting.

In contrast, the United States is easy to travel around. Having spent over 100,000 miles out on the roads in one manner or another I have yet to come across a check point in this country where I have to sign my name or have my identification checked. We don't have many bombings. Everyone speaks the same language.

The post adventure travel let down is no fun. Those chores that may have seemed dull before, no longer  just seem dull because you know they are dull. In a strange land time seems so important, the goal so majestic, the adventure so nobel. Back in the routine feels... routine.

Lest this be a negative, quit-my-job-to-bicycle-Vietnam sort of post, the feeling does go away. With time the depression of being back in the routine goes away and the importance of what was learned is diminished. But the memories do not disappear. Adventure still remains. Poverty still remains. The challenges still remain. For these reasons I will return. Perhaps to a different place. Until the job is done and my work, whatever that might be, is finished, I will not stop.

You should come sometime. I won't promise that you like it. In fact, you will probably hate it... and get diarrhea. But I guarantee it will change your life.

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