It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve been home. Returning to the “real world” definitely took some adjusting.
First, I spent the first two days catching myself speaking to people in pidgin English. Having spent 4 months attempting to talk as simply as possible to people who only knew limited English, I asked the deli cashier at the airport “1 bagel. How much?”
Then I had to adjust to Western prices. Coming from $1 dinners to $2.75 bottles of water was a bit of a shock. I still can’t really bring myself to eat at restaurants because the prices are so absurdly high. Then again, I never really could bring myself to eat at restaurants so maybe it’s not actually that much of a change. Groceries are finally starting to seem normal.
Finally, going from traveling on my own for ~110 days to sharing a 1-bedroom apartment is a huge change. I got used to doing what I wanted, when I wanted, and having my own space whenever I desired. Not so when back at home. On the flip side, I have someone making me dinner most nights. I think it’s a fair trade.
And now comes the biggest readjustment. Getting a job. I got home just a few days before Christmas, and then it was New Year’s, and then I flew to visit my mom and grandparents for a few days, so I put off my job search. Now that I’m back with no travels in the foreseeable future and it’s time to figure out what I’m going to do with myself. I learned from my trip that I definitely want to travel the world again, and want to do it for a lot longer. This means going back to school, which I had once considered an option for when I returned home, is out of the question. You just can’t travel the world for a year when you have a massive amount of student loans. So a job it is.
Luckily I set aside about 3 months worth of bare-bones expenses for a returning-home budget and then had nearly as much again left over from my travel-money fund when I got back so I’m in a good position financially to spend some time looking for a job. Since I know I want to travel again in the next 3-5 years I’m not terribly concerned about this being a career-path position, but I would like to find something at a university office or in a small financial or tech company. The downside of course is the job search itself. Never fun and always full of uncertainty and rejection, it’s not exactly something I’m looking forward to. On the other hand, job searches are full of possibilities and I like the excitement of stepping into something new.
I’m not sure what will happen to this blog. I’ll keep the site up for the next year at least and will probably continue updating it with pictures and adventures, but it won’t be nearly as frequent as it has been. If you haven’t already, click “Write Comment” to the left of this post and check “Notify me of new posts via email” when leaving a comment. That will send any future updates direct to your inbox (you can unsubscribe whenever) and that way you don’t have to remember to check back for new posts.
I don’t exactly know what’s next, but I’m looking forward to it. I know the self-confidence I gained on my trip will help definitely come in handy, and the memories and friends I made will last a lifetime.