Traveling through Southeast Asia was both culturally and sensory awakening. The colours, the flavours, the noise, the sound. My senses as I sit in my cubicle now are flat. I’m not seeing anything, I’m not feeling anything, and the only thing I’m hearing is the shallow, droning hubbub of people’s mind-numbingly dull conversations in conjunction with the relentless clacking of fingers on the keyboard. The only thing I taste is the bitter aftertaste of black coffee. The only thing I’m smelling is someone’s questionable lunch having just been heated up.
And it makes me want to just scream.
It isn’t just that the conversations I’m hearing are shallow and ignorant, my anger is coming from something deeper. I know what I’m really feeling is fear, fear that I have not been back for very long and I’m already feeling the reverse culture shock seep in. With a snap of the fingers I am back to the cold, back to engaging in small talk around the coffee machine, back to brushing the snow off my car, back to pretending I am interested in everyone’s kids. And that’s okay. But there’s something deeper.
Everyone seemed interested in my travels when I was abroad, but when I came back excited to talk about my experiences I found most people either were completely uninterested, or were unable to understand the value I had gained and how much I had grown.
If you have ever been in this situation then you will know how lonely it is. When you realize that you have changed so much only to come home and realize that things are more or less the same. When writing your blog is one of your biggest passions and most of your friends do not read it. When the conversations that used to incite you become dull because you have experienced parts of the world you never knew existed and all you can think about is the places you haven’t been and the people you have yet to meet. I think it is a unique type of loneliness that can only be felt when coming home after traveling.
I feel like I have grown outside the puzzle and my piece no longer fits. I may have returned home, but my head and heart are still a million miles away.