Reality – what is the definition? I read once that “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” That will give you a headache if you think about it too hard. However what really hurts, is when someone says to me “You must go back to reality sometime.” I hear this phrase about once a week. They say it as if reality is a terrible place or as if what I was doing for the last 15 months wasn’t real. I don’t think people really think about what they are saying – they say it as a trite phrase such as “What do you think about this weather?” It’s just a much used phrase that seems appropriate for my situation. Plus, I think that the majority of people out there consider reality as a negative thing – work, bills, responsibilities – things we don’t like but we feel like we have to do. Yet why does reality have to get such a bad rap? Isn’t reality what you make it…after all, it’s YOUR reality. When I left on my trip in Sep. 06, I wasn’t really trying to escape reality – it is more like I was trying to change my reality. I can only hope that I succeeded at that.
This is about the time when everyone starts to ask “Do you know what you are going to do when you return?”…so to avoid all of those questions that are awaiting my return – the answer is “No, I have no plan.” Sure, I have ideas – but when I verbalize them – they seem completely unrealistic and absurd. When I fall asleep at night, I chastise myself about them falling asleep in a swirl of doubt.
There are days when I feel like I have everyone rooting for me, just wanting me to succeed in order to tell the story about their friend that gave everything up, quit her job, and traveled the world to really experience life and eventually find a profession she loves. I love the feeling that I have so many people behind me mainly because it pushes me – propels me to succeed. I am such a proud person that now I feel like I have to try this, that I have to make this work just to prove to people that you can do it. Yet some days it weighs extremely heavy on my shoulders as I think that some people are just watching and reading waiting for the train wreck to happen…everyone loves a good disaster.
I’m not sure what home is anymore – then again I don’t know if I ever did considering I moved around my adult life throughout the US. I don’t have a cat to go home to anymore…so what is home…a bunch of furniture and kitchen appliances? Hell – I’ve lived without them for long enough now that it doesn’t even matter. I’ve purposely tried to not use the term ‘home’ any longer – so that I trick my brain into thinking that the US is just another country – one that I’m passing through. I also don’t use the phrases ‘end of my trip’, ‘back to reality’, ‘all good things must come to an end’, “finishing my trip”, or “when I’m done with traveling.”
For the last 15 months I’ve lived out of a suitcase or two…yet back in NY 5 wardrobe boxes of clothes and shoes await me…is that really all necessary? There’s a part of me that doesn’t even want to unpack it because I know the addiction that goes along with it. For that same reason I feel this urge to simply sit in my apartment for weeks just looking out the window at NY below me, not wanting to set foot on the streets. I’m afraid. I’m afraid that when I step back on the streets and subways of NYC that all of the pressures, anxiety, and expectations will all of a sudden glob onto me as if I were a magnet. I will feel like I need to fit in, like I need a job, like I need a new wardrobe, like I need to consume – the list could go on and on. Therefore somehow I want to stay on the outside and continue looking in – as if I don’t belong because it’s easier that way. I’ve been existing in countries for the past year where I didn’t belong – and I could simply observe as the minority.
What does all of this rambling mean – I don’t really know. I do know that I feel like I’m on the edge of something great. Not fame or fortune, but personal enlightenment coupled with doing the ‘right’ thing. I stare over the edge wondering; wondering if I have the guts to be that person who makes an impact to others, and to change my reality into a positive. Yet I am terrified to step off the edge and simply fly. However, the reality is I’ve stepped over that edge already and I’m already flying – I just have to keep flapping my wings so I don’t fall out of the sky!