Photos coming soon! When we re-launched The 3 Star Traveler we lost many of the original photos from posts. Lori is gradually working her way through past posts and uploading the photos once again. Check back soon!
Every time I hear one overhead or read the latest news about the industry on the web, I think about it. I think about expertly packing my backpack, ensuring I have my earplugs and sleeping mask. I think about being so exhausted I can barely stand and so irritated that I’m ready to run people over, yet content, original, unique and adventurous all at the same time.
I’m talking about airplanes. I’m also talking about the fact that I haven’t been on one in four months.
For someone who rarely travels these thoughts and feelings may sound odd. However, after three years of hopping on an international flight every few months, navigating the ins and outs of airports and airlines in your own country and those abroad, it feels like a part of me is missing.
It’s not that I’m unhappy. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. We are now living back in the US. I’m cooking to my heart’s content in a beautiful kitchen, my husband gets home from work at 5:30 instead of 8:00, I’m growing a garden, I’m mowing a lawn – all things I enjoy, and things I missed terribly for three years. Yet, I am having a difficult time dealing with this travel drought.
I suppose most travelers come to this point during their adventures. Unless you are permanently on the road you must face this transition whether you’ve traveled around for a month or several years.
I balanced this state of being nicely before we moved abroad. I worked full-time, I traveled and explored, I enjoyed having a permanent home. However, after leaving that for an extended period, I find I’m a bit out of whack. The comforts of home sooth me, but the memories of being on the road have me worrying that I won’t feel that bliss of exploration again, even though my heart knows this isn’t true. Travel will always be a part of my life.
One of my biggest fears in all of this laying roots and staying grounded business is losing my sense of adventure. I fear getting too comfortable with the conveniences of daily life again, of being afraid to try a foreign food or eat from a roadside stand. I fear losing that toughness that allows one to take travel delays and culture shock in stride, the kind of toughness that is unique to hardcore travelers.
Instead of falling victim to these fears I’ve decided I need to figure out a way to face them and overcome them. To not let my brain tell me I’m going to turn into a local homebody when my heart knows this isn’t true. These are the ways I choose to overcome my fears and if you’ve ever been in a similar transition perhaps you can share how you face yours.
Celebrate the good in this transition. There are some good things about our transition back home, some very good things. I will focus on those things that aren’t material although I can’t hide my happiness with our washer and dryer and stove. I love growing our own food, we have our dog back with us, we see family and friends more often, and I look forward to long drives alone something I couldn’t do abroad.
Explore my backyard. When traveling abroad it is easy to forget that the people and things in your own backyard are incredibly interesting. Local foods, festivals, restaurants, farmers and organizations have my full attention and I aim to learn much more.
Never stop researching. We may not have plans to travel anywhere until this December, but it doesn’t hurt to keep researching for the future. Trip planning thrills me. I love the challenge of finding the best deals and learning what to see and do. Although at moments it may seem like forever until I’ll get there, France, Italy and Austria will all still be going strong a year from now, I won’t miss out on much.
Keep reading and connecting. My expat life exposed me to a world of inspiring people who travel extensively and live their lives in places other than their home country. By reading the excellent content they provide and connecting with these individuals it helps me to feel like I am still a traveler.
And I AM still a traveler.
Laying down roots and exploring the world is like having your cake and eating it too. I intend to do both.