For the last five and a half years I’ve been calling different parts of Asia home, the majority of my time has been spent in Korea, teaching English to amazing kids, while for the rest I play nomad, jumping from one country to another. Inevitably when traveling you’ll often be asked the question, “Where are you from?” This question has become the ‘What’s up?’ of the international world and is often used as a type of icebreaker, a simple way to get to know others in your hostel, at your dinner table, or on a bus. It’s such a simple question but depending who it’s directed at or the lips it came from, can lead to so many different conversations.
During my last few months of travel I kept coming back to this feeling, I was tired. I thought I was tired of travel: new beds, long buses, navigating cities and eating in restaurants at every meal. I've only just realized thought, that this is not what I'm tired of.
I'm tired of being a woman.
This post is part of Blogging Abroad's 2017 New Years Blog Challenge,
week one: Global Citizenship.
After traveling or living abroad, upon returning home everyone loves to ask the same question, or at least a variation of it, "[How] have you've changed?". Obviously, uprooting your life and moving to a different country will change you; some things are obvious, like the foods you eat or weather your accustomed to, but the lesser known and noticeable are the changes that occur within. Living (and traveling) abroad has taught me new ways to live life, values held by different groups of people, and differences in day to day activities. What I've noticed along with this though, is that the world is also changing, the United States is no longer the only 'melting pot', there are now cultures, races and religions mixing all across the world.
"Travel is fatal to predjudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on those accounts.
I was looking through old Pinterest boards the other days and it dawned on me, I'm 'doing it', fulfilling the dreams of my 16 year old self, but that's not all. On my trip through Europe last year I was able to revisit friends I had previously met on the road, some from my time in Korea, a few backpackers from SE Asia and even a few high school friends. It was shortly after this trip that I remembered my dreams from the time I was studying in Australia, to make friends across the world, people I could later go visit. I remember thinking how cool it would be to befriend people from different countries so that I could one day go and visit them at home, having that local knowledge of where to go, what to eat and what to do, with the added bonus of that person being someone I wanted to spend time with. Umm hello, this is reality, and so freaking cool.
"Home" even as Webster defines it could be one of many things:
In the most basic sense of the word I'd gravitate towards option number four, my home being Wisconsin, the place I came from and will always have a desire or obligation to return to. Since leaving that home though, I've discovered that this simple four letter word can symbolize such vast different worlds for each person who utters it.
Home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It's the place where you become yourself. ~ Pico Iyer
I've been back in the US for about two weeks and while there are many forms of reverse culture shock I'm going through, nothing is more in-my-face than the abundance of connectedness. Everything revolves around technology, and I mean e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I'm 28 and should be excited about all these advancements, no? But instaed I find myself wishing I could escape to a remote island and avoid it all. It's hard to avoid though, almost impossible really, and I admit it I'm getting swept right in.
Emptying my Head
I'm an overthinker, my brain is always on overdrive. Sometimes the thoughts are pertinant to life, and other times they're just a trove of wonder. They're usually about, related to or in memory of travel. When they're good I like to share.