America, Solo Travel, Travel Advice

Finding my way Home

4 Comments 31 December 2007

 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!

Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. Leslie says:

    Hi Sherry,

    I’m glad you’re still writing. What you’re going through now is the scariest part of my own future adventure, so it will help to see how you work it out. Thanks for sharing the experience!

    Leslie

  2. Cate Scanlon says:

    Miss Sherry! I think you have already stepped over the edge and are in Greatness! It’s like one of your blogs when you said your least favorite time to arrive anywhere is at night, in the darkness…the sun is about to rise but you left your watch somewhere else on your journey so you have no idea what time it is, where the heck you really are, and you are wondering if you made the right choice, AND when is the sun finally going to rise??? But, with patience and the inevitability that is time, the sun will rise and soon you’ll be able to see, little by little, the wonderful new place you’ve arrived in! You’ve already stepped over that edge, my friend, there’s just not enough light to see where you are nrnrNamaste and I can’t wait to see you!!!nrnrnrNamaste my friend and I can’t wait to see where you are :-)nrnrCate

  3. erica says:

    Screw reality. Or at least craft your own definition – who says you have to be forced into accepting someone else’s limitations just because they have?

    Thrilled that you’re still writing – keep it up!

  4. Angie says:

    An interesting thought on reality. Gave that a lot of thought when I read your blog – so I’m going to share a few of my own thoughts on the matter.

    Having left my day to day life for a time as well, I gues the way I looked at my trip wasn’t so much an escape from reality – or even an attempt to change my reality – but just another aspect of the reality that is my life. I don’t think of reality as negative at all. In fact, I think that the reality of life is that at any given corner, you don’t know what you will find next – and that’s an exciting reality. Yes – we have to pay bills, and have some kind of work – but the “reality” that keeps us breathing is that whether you’re traveling around the world or walking down the street outside your house, life can offer such profound moments of joy – and all in the simplicity of life. The people that touch you and that you touch, the beauty of a sunny day, the abilities we have to share with ourselves and others….THAT to me is reality and want to embrace it in every way that life hands it to me.

    That’s not to say that we can’t direct our realities to the place most fulfilling for each of us individually. That is our responsibility as a human being – and I believe that you are doing that. Just as I am doing that – yet each in our own way.

    You ARE on a path to maximize your personal reality. Just don’t forget to pay attention to all the beauty around you every day while you’re on that path.


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Sherry traveling the world

I'm Sherry, a corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler. I travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations to bring you unique travel experiences and photography. But it's not just about travel, it's also about life experiences of a middle age wanderer.
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Where am I and Where am I going?

British Columbia CA -> Ireland

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