A steamy, bubbly bath, my hometown favorites, clean sheets, my family, my friends. All things that should make a weary traveler incredibly happy to be “home”. But they aren’t… or at least they weren’t. My energy was low, I was eating garbage and sleeping until 10am everyday. Not my best self. One good way to make yourself sound like the most spoiled of brats and the most stereotypical only child is to complain to someone working 40 hours (at minimum usually) about the post travel blues that you can’t seem to get over after getting back from traveling for six weeks halfway across the world. The extremes of India while at times tiring and overwhelming were also awe-inspiring, magic and very hard to transition away from. The magnificence of the Taj Mahal with it’s inlaid stones and perfect symmetry. The “street babies” faces that you can’t help from your comfy house on a different continent. The majesty of a rescued elephant; the feeling of mutual respect and love. Her warm, rough skin under wiry hairs. The women on the side of the roads with black eyes and bruised bodies because their husbands beat and rape them. The rolling sand dunes of the Thar Desert that leaves you feeling smaller than a grain of sand and at the same time as powerful as any sandstorm. I was told over and over again by Indians, “India! Where anything is possible!” From my experience, this couldn’t be more true.
This country with the most delicious chai tea to touch your lips, but also a culture of violence against women or at the very least a huge lack of respect for us. With ancient instruments, dances and music that is beautiful and moving but also trash. Trash everywhere. Trash on fire. Trash flying out of windows and off trucks. A superstitious and time-honored religion that incorporates incense, bells and fire to create an experience that permiates deep into your body to your very soul. The ups and downs are almost unimaginable.
One does not simply transition back into “normal life” after this. At least this one doesn’t. The counter culture shock of missing the wonder, the adventure and excitement of travel can feel scarily similar to depression. I don’t know that I ever want to fully transition back out of where I am. It feels more true. With such extremes constantly being thrown at you, it is the perfect place to build a better sense of you. The real you. To determine where all these very intense aspects fit into your life. It’s completely up to you to decide what you want to do with them. Take a picture? Hold on to the feeling? Change your life path? Ignite a fire you didn’t even know was inside of you? Not doing is the worst for me and it turns into a vicious cycle of don’t know don’t do know don’t do that take s a few days, a laugh good belly laughs and a few nature walks to come out of. These blues just weren’t shaking.
This is why I consider travel is so important, to experience that which you haven’t. Memories to miss because of how full your heart felt. To let those experiences and lessons shape you. As I experienced these extremes, I felt every emotion from bliss to horror to surprise to homesickness. I had to get more comfortable with emotions normally outside of my comfort zone. Doing these uncomfortable or scary things and getting in touch with my own emotions, urges, desires and avoidances without judgement creates such extreme personal growth that I am still processing. Processing, waking up in Ohio and feeling like I don’t belong. It took me three weeks to even get out of my own head and remember that a feeling of not belonging isn’t the end of the world. It’s my authentic self awakening and pushing me to where I want to be. Where will fill my soul. Where will bring out the most genuine smiles. Where my mind, body and spirit will be pushed, expanded and opened. Where will allow me to serve the highest good to the best of my ability. Right now it feels like the open road is where I’m being drawn. While I know I’m 27 and most people in my life (while being very well intentioned and with my best interests at heart) what me to “figure it out” “settle on something” and “commit”, I’m enjoying this unknown. I get to create the life of my dreams from scratch! That’s fucking incredible.
As I gypsy my way through this journey of self-discovery I know my uncertainty and unknowns make most people uncomfortable. Usually because they love me and want what’s best for me, but without this being their journey they can’t fully understand. Partially because seeing my unknowns reminds them that we aren’t as in control as we’d all like to think and that makes most people HELLA scared. The ego says “control is important, control is everything” but it’s an illusion. The only constant is uncertainty, change and our ability to find our true, most authentic selves through the ups and downs. I’m finding mine. It’s scary and hard and so much just more everything than I ever even thought possible but it’s worth it. So maybe my post travel blues are part growing pains as well. I’m know I’m feeling better because my favorite people and activities are creating real smiles, I’m finding my routine and I’m finding it easier to be present. I am intentially living my life ferociously according to what works for me. The me which is also a part of the One-ness that allows me to live my life for the greater good. I’m so grateful to the women and men who are living their most authentic lives in my life and showing me that it can be done. That people can be truly happy and I deserve a beautiful life of love and joy like they have; that we all do. Thank you India, I miss you.