Over the past year, I’ve come to experience emotions I had gone several years without feeling. In fact, you could even say that I experienced emotions I had never come to know before. Some days, I was on an extreme high – without a care in the world, happier than ever – but other days, I was as low as I could be. I challenged myself to do things I never thought I would do before, and not in the obvious sense. I didn’t challenge myself to climb literal mountains (though I did), but to climb the more subtle ones. My summit to the top wasn’t quite as obvious as it would be for others – being a sports enthusiast myself – but was much more defined in the social sphere. I’ve never really been completely anti-social, but at times growing up, I definitely acted that way. During those times, I relied on books and the written word to expand on my knowledge of the world, but this changed completely when I stepped outside the comfort of high school and had to face harsher realities. These harsh realities, along with the equally intense wonderful things that are out there to experience, came to me in full force this past year while I traveled. This time has shaped me in incredible ways, but I don’t even fully know how I’ve come to change yet.
I sit here, in my Californian residence, with an odd sort of post-travel trauma. To clarify, this isn’t to mean I feel a host of negative feelings about my travels. Instead, it means that I find myself feeling a weird sense of culture shock despite being somewhere that felt completely like home before I set off for Spain last year. I can’t help but wonder, what next? My body’s starting to feel the type of stress I thought I left behind – the stress I associated with being from the quicker-paced North America, where work is life. I’m starting to ask myself the difficult questions – what do I want, and am I really willing to chase it? I’ve always been torn between my “dreams” and the realities that many have tried to throw in my direction. I’m trying to summon the courage to be me, and to find a way to make that happen. I’m looking for a way to be the fearless person I was in Spain, but to be that way at home.
While I come to some sort of conclusion, all I can hope for is that those nightmares – or dreams – that keep waking me up every morning will push me in the right direction. I never expected to be woken up by my unconscious calling out for a home on the road again, or to warn me from letting myself set back into a lifeless routine. Yet, here I am, living the nightmare/dream.