Friday, September 25, 2009

Let the Cowboys Ride...

It's a really strange feeling coming home after a big trip like this. I remember meeting sooo many backpackers who tried to explain it to me but there's no way to really prepare yourself. I suppose if I were coming back to something it might be different, but I came home for one simple reason: money.

It's been 10 days since I boarded the plane from Singapore. I don't sleep well on planes so I thought it might be a good time to read through my journal and it truly amazed me to see the way my attitude shifted about traveling. I laughed at my initial fears and anxieties of going to India, at my descriptions when I arrived; "people, people freaking EVERYWHERE." When traveling, there are always times when things can seem so bad or so frustrating but you forget about it as fast as it comes. I remember hating every moment of our bus ride from Darjeeling to Kathmandu; the 15 hour wait due to a strike at the ferry crossing, eating rice cooked in river water, sleeping on the side of the road with my backpack as my pillow, the incessant stares that you never really get use to, the constant harassment from the locals who are nothing more than curious about you and want practice their English when all you want is to be left alone. Looking back, it's these experiences that really make a trip an adventure.

Someone real important to me gave me a card before I left with a note saying "Every place has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware." This couldn't be more true. I remember planning and researching so much about where to go but once you get there you discover there is so much more to uncover than what you read in the Lonely Planet or on some website, you just have to get right in there and see for yourself.

I keep finding my self thinking about all the people I met and wondering how they're getting on in Asia or back at home. Backpacker culture is really something else. I get asked all the time how it is traveling alone and I always say that you're never really alone. Leaving the tourist beat, especially in SE Asia, is rather difficult so there is always at least a few other westerners heading in the same direction as you. Countless times I would meet someone or a small group for no more than a few hours, sometimes as little as a few minutes, before deciding that we should share a room to cut costs. It's just the way everyone helps each other out; cheap food here, stay at this persons guest house, take this bus, drink these magic shakes, haha. And of course we all have our favorite places that we tell each other you must go see.

I miss it. I miss it so much and now I'm home, or in Calgary anyway, and everyone is doing the same thing. This is a common theme you hear among the travelers; when you get home you'll find that although you feel like you've changed so much, everyone is still the same, life has gone on and nothing much has changed. They were right, and it's freakin depressing.

This trip really did change my life. I am so happy my best friend convinced me to get the hell out of my office job and come to India with her. I would still be sitting in my office day after day dreaming about all the things I should be doing if it weren't for you, Jess. I think the hardest part for me now will be to remember the way I felt before leaving and to not slip back into the same routine, to continue to recognize that there is so much more out there than working 9-5 for the Man just to make enough to buy things that don't really mean shit to you or your friends in the long run.

As I sit here today I can't help but feeling like my life is in complete disarray. I know it will work out, it always does. If I learned anything in the last nine months, it's that when things aren't going as planned all you can do is embrace the detours.


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