128 Days Later
On some tiny bridge in Venice…
It’s been 128 days since I returned home from a 80 somethin’ day trip to Europe. 128 days removed from an experience that had been on the back burner ever since I was told “You can do anything as long as you get an education”, and I took that to heart. It’s been 128 days and I’m starting to REALLY go through travel withdrawal.
When it was time to come home I was in a weird position. I think I was more ready to come home for financial reasons. Honestly, if I had the money I would’ve stayed a lot longer. I ended the trip awkwardly in a place I already knew and it kind of exhausted me to an extent.
I recall my first night back- absolutely exhausted from the flight and late night before. I came home to friends and family which was exceptional. And then it was time to go to bed. It was the weirdest feeling I have ever had. I knew it was my bed, but I wasn’t comfortable. It was really dark. I was the only one in the room and was no longer to see the distant glow of someone texting a loved one on the other side of the room. I eventually fell asleep with a full stomach, something that was uncommon while I was away. Within 4 -5 hours I woke up. I was disoriented. I was looking for the other bunk beds. Listening for anyone snoring or maybe even the squeek of the hostel beds. Nothing. Just pitch black. I had forgotten I was home. In my head I thought I was still in Frankfurt. Over the next few nights I would slowly start sleeping more and getting used to my surroundings again.
The next few months would be easier. I had a part-time job that kept me distracted on weekends. I was painting parts of my parents house, and I was slowly looking for my first full-time job after graduation. I was satisfied. I enjoyed talking about where I was in Europe, but was more happy to keep a lot to myself. You see, there are stories I will never share. Stories that others won’t fully understand whether I tell them in person or on here. And it isn’t because anything crazy happened, but it’s something that I want to keep to myself.
Skip forward another few months and I am sitting here tonight. A few weeks into my first job. It’s 11:30 at night and I am sitting at the kitchen table. I haven’t been up this late in a while, but tonight has been different. I’ve realized that travel withdrawal is a real thing.
I haven’t been able to write, at all… When I first came home I was happy to recap what happened, start filling in the blanks over my last two months, and do some more general info type posts. By the end of February, I was no longer able to keep up writing the way I used to. I went from writing a minimum of 6 posts a month to maybe one. Even the ones I did post were strained. It’s just become hard. Hard to really “get over” what I accomplished and where I want to be moving forward. I’ve started an amazing job and if it weren’t for this company I have no idea what the hell I would be doing right now. I’ll slowly try to keep filling in the blanks (starting in Ireland).
I constantly do research. What’s the flight to this country? What If I had two more days and flew here? How much are these hostels? What’s the weather like in the fall? What’s the exchange rate? These are things that are always on my mind. I’ve basically covered the next three trips but my mind doesn’t want to settle.
I have to bite my tongue and pinch myself every time I start a reply with “When I was in…” or “This reminds me of the hostel” or “So there were two Australians and a Kiwi…”.
It’s sensory overload. I have vivid dreams where it’s like I am recounting steps I’ve taken while away. When I hear certain songs I’m taken back to a certain city or town and I immediately become distracted.
Talking travel is my drug. Outside of being at work, the only other time I can be removed from the memories/thoughts is when someone starts talking about their trip or their plans. It’s that little injection of coffee that gets my mind on track.
I don’t know why this is happening. I want to keep writing. It’s just too strange. Before, I was recapping trips that I took from 1-6 years before. Now, it’s almost too early for me to think about it. Mostly because I know it will distracted me from what is going on now. I haven’t touched the journal I kept while I was away. In fact, it’s the only thing sitting in my backpack. And that backpack is currently perched on top of a box of VHS Disney movies. It’s a subtle reminder every time I wake up. There is more to come. Things bigger than Boston/NYC. It keeps me looking ahead which makes me a lot happier than the alternative: the visions, the memories, and the painful task of going through photos and notes I took while I was away.
I guess I am trying to say it’s a weird feeling. I’m totally happy but unable to fully examine what happened in those few months while I was away. Eventually, I will be able to look back and share more. For now it will have to stay as is. Every few nights I log on here and awkwardly add chunks of memory into here. It doesn’t flow at all. So don’t expect much of Europe related posts moving forward.
Does anyone else have the same problem? Thinking it’s too soon to look back?
Next: Are you travelling to North Carolina?