So, as I’m going in and out of places – hotels, restaurants, wherever – and meeting travelers from all over the world, one phrase keeps turning up, this idea of this time we’re in now ending and the inevitable return to “real life.”
More people have said it to me than I can count, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself, as I fend off thoughts of the uncertainty that awaits me and my next steps when I’m back stateside next week.
I’ve also been told I’m brave, adventurous, courageous and impressive for being on this trip, and on my own to boot.
Here’s the thing, though: this IS real life. It is.
Call it what you will, but saving for four years, finding the window between jobs, buying the tickets and booking the hotels to actually take the trip I’d been dreaming about for so long isn’t an escape, it isn’t a change of pace or scenery. Or maybe it is those, but at the same time, it IS my real life, it is what I knew I’d do and have done.
I don’t want to return to the US and forever remember lazy afternoons on quiet beaches or morning-long tours of ancient forts and cities as an exception, as some time removed from every other day I wake up and experience. In that they come up less often than get-up-and-go-to-work days, I suppose they are an exception. But they are just as much a part of this very real life I’m curating for myself as those “everyday” days.
Stepping into a new decade, I’m keenly aware of how the last ten years shaped up and what I hope for the next. I can’t imagine a better way to begin than with this very real three weeks of my life.