14+ months. 19 countries. And when I decided to take this trip I knew I would take a piece of every place I visited with me but had no idea that some of those places would take some of me, too. Big pieces in a couple of cases. So now when I see a Thai massage salon, I catch a whiff of leaking sewer, I stumble on a broken sidewalk or into an impossible traffic pattern, I remember places I've been and smile wistful. Sometimes in a spare moment I page through my passport and shake my head dumbfounded over events that seem a year or more ago but happened only a few months back. Seriously? I was in Indonesia in March?
For all I've collected, I'll not only never be the same, but I'll never be whole--because even if I return to me second home, I'll be missing the first.
I'll never again be whole.
So what will I be?
A couple of weeks ago I dreamed that I shaved my beard, and what was underneath was not good--ugly folds, discolored skin. I spent the morning thinking about its meaning, since clearly this was not a literal thing, of course I'm beautiful beneath the beard. At last I concluded it related to this grand trip and it's inevitable conclusion. I can't live my life as a rolling stone--eventually I'll come home. I'll sleep in the same bed of a single nation, night after night (most nights, at least).
What will I be then? Who will I be? Certainly not as interesting as I imagine myself now. Of course, I'll be writing, and going to conferences so there's travel in that--but it obviously won't be the same.
Will that be enough for me?
Then there's the ever-present question of my life's dwindling savings, and will they outlast the rejections and allow me make this dream of writing for my living a reality? No wonder I've been getting stress twitches of late.
Here's where I like to write a convenient and clever little wrap-up encapsulating the theme and restating the thesis of my post. But I don't have that right now, except maybe this: if you look at my pics and posts and think "he gets to travel the world, must be nice" just know it's not that simple.