This whole trip has been one big experiment and now it’s time to make another iteration and adjust the ‘prototype’.
I was sitting in the crystal clear, white sand at Koh Rong in Cambodia. Listening to the waves crashing in. To the leaves rustling in the wind. People are laughing and having fun in the background.
I was feeling numb. Out of touch with myself. I just wasn’t happy anymore. Was it the travel fatigue again? Was it homesickness? I’m not sure.. but travel took its toll on me I guess, and tears started rolling down my cheeks.
"I feel so much that it is hard for me at times to feel anything at all."
And it’s not a bad thing. I mean, traveling isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. I know that by now. A lot of people romanticise their travels when they come home and tell their friends and family it was the best thing that ever happened in their lives. It’s not that I don’t believe that, but I do believe there is more to it. Because we (travelers/backpackers in this case) never talk about the problems we faced or the time when we cried our eyes out because everything was simply too much or because we missed home.
What I’m trying to say is that these moments are also a part of our travel experience, but we never feel comfortable enough to talk about it because it’s not what people want to hear. People only want to see the nice, happy smiling pictures on Instagram and want to hear the funny stories when we get back home.
During a conversation with a travel friend about how I felt, she managed to reflect on my emotions and told me the truth I’ve been holding off for some time now.
"When I first met you, you always convinced people that they have to do what makes them happy. And to be honest, I don't think traveling makes you happy. Of course, you have moments where things are good, but you also have a lot of moments when you don't feel okay. I think you'll be way happier if you would split up your world trip into chunks and travel from a secure home base. You always told me that you have nothing to go back to, but you have everything to go back to. Your friends, family, grandma and nieces and nephews. Those people mean the world to you, more than the world itself."
I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say… The words spoke to my heart. I felt relieved but confused at the same time, because letting go of that ‘I’m going to travel the world for a year-idea’ was hard. But, she was right. The way I travel right now doesn’t make me happy. It’s just too much in too little time, and I need time to process things. A few days at a nice beach just isn’t gonna cut it, I guess. Actually, I was even surprised why I never thought about doing a world trip in phases. Probably because the first idea I had that got me excited tricked me into thinking that was the only option.
It’s a beautiful thing that this is one of the most valuable insights I got after traveling the world for 6 months. Actually, it’s all I ever wanted. Remember when I talked about why I quit my job to travel the world? I wanted to see how much pain I was willing to sustain. I wasn’t going to settle. And now, at this point, I felt that this was all I was willing to sustain. This whole trip has been one big experiment and now it’s time to make another iteration and adjust the ‘prototype’.
The best is yet to come
It has been one hell of an amazing ride. I don’t have words to describe all the things I’ve experienced, how some people touched my heart and will forever stay my friends and how my view of the world and my role in it has changed.
And the good thing is: the best is yet to come. Because not only will I travel New Zealand for another 2 months before going home, my MOM AND DAD will be joining me for the first 2,5 weeks!! It is unbelievable that this is actually happening! Until this moment it still feels like I’m dreaming. It is so special that after Stockholm and New York, we will meet again during a very important phase in my life. It’s an understatement when I say that this literally means the world to me.
Around mid-April, I will fly back home. In a way it’s a relief, because traveling for another 4 months would’ve been too hard for me. But it’s also a great moment to look forward to and as funny as it may sound, it also makes me enjoy more of the time that I have left for this trip. Who knows if I’m off on a new adventure after being home for a few months. Let’s see where this all takes me.
Following your intuition isn’t easy. It takes courage and effort to follow that gut feeling. But ultimately you’ll make the best decision for you. Because that’s the only thing that counts.
Stay awesome ♥