The Truth About Long-Term Travel According to A 15-year old (Travel Experience 101.)
Well, most people would think about how amazing it would be to take a whole year off to travel. It's that or either that they don't think that would benefit us in our future. I lean more towards the amazing part. Yes it is amazing. I love travelling, even going down for 3 weeks down to the States or around Canada in our mink coloured van every summer. Discovering different cultures and exploring them. It's always exciting and i think that I've learned how to adapt better to different culture experiences. So we do more hiking, more roaming, meeting more people and exploring. It seems lovely and so so so carefree. And it is.
But every long-term travel will at least experience homesickness once. And in China I've been living under a sort of 'haze.' I'm not really sure that this is what it really is. It could be a culture shock and still processing the present situation. But ever since i was 10, i played soccer just until this year. Every season, for 5 years. When summer always comes, i'm so relieved to take a break. It started to get intense around U14 and we were under some pretty high expectations. Overall, i dealt with it pretty well and so my body adapted to those habits.
Suddenly i stopped and was put into another atmosphere in another country with different people, breaking daily habits and starting new routines. Being away from my best friends. Even as i prayed about it and tried to mentally prepared myself, it was still so abrupt and i was never truly ready. In China and even through bits of Hanoi, Vietnam i felt that what experiences i was living were all temporary. Soon i would just find myself back in Regina a year ago. Almost like a dream? Well that's what Regina and all the other 14 years ago seemed like. Because here we were, in a totally different country. Homeless. I guess newborns to some extent with this different society.
I still feel as if there was a line drawn between me and the people back in my home. They would never see the world how i see it. I understand that i'm speaking with only 7 months of traveling but for a 15 year old. I have been to many places, learnt much and got used to the diverse types of people you'll meet. I don't really see how i will find boring 'ol Regina the same as i did when i was 14.
Some may think that spending so much time with your family for even 12 hours straight in the same room is enough for you to buy a ticket back home without any hesitation. Especially for a teenager. I coped surprisingly well for these past months. I'm not going to explain my frustration or anger towards them but i just learned to some extent the word self-control in preventing myself from launching into Eli with flurries of blows. I'm proud with the results!
Another problem are the parents. Tasking themselves for taking care of 4 children constantly will also drive them mad. Especially if one parent enjoys to communicate to be honest while the other is more reserved and dislikes confrontation. They fight and family will eventually break apart then they will restart and be just as dysfunctional but cover it all. And in the end, problem is never truly solved. Goodness, it isn't even a fight. Literally all just a whole bunch of false accusations, confrontations and loss of communication. In the end that's how almost everyday will finish.
So i just keep it in and rant when i return to my friends so we have something to talk about. Not that i won't have anything to talk about but i wouldn't know where to start. Before we left for this journey, EVERYONE would ask us.
"Excited for the trip?"
"Where are you going?"
"What are your thoughts about the trip?"
And when we return i can imagine almost everyone asking us similar questions.
"So how was it?"
"Aw Emma i missed you!"
"Tell me ALL about it!"
All about it? Honestly, i wouldn't know where to begin, sorry. So much happened on this journey with different stories in every place. Choosing to tell you all about it, with us being both 100% enthusiastic will be nearly impossible. Please let me just ask you about what happened when i was gone. Me, being a more self-absorbed human, the conversation will slowly lead back to my experiences and we will both be satisfied.
But everyday i think about how on earth would i just adjust back into my "normal" life and acting like a "normal" teen. Before i left, i viewed myself as a musical, athletic, and artistic person. My intelligence may vary... If i come back, my athletic body will be umm...not exactly fit. My skills in soccer no doubt will fail the reputation of Best Female Player of U16. My fingers won't recognize the keys on the piano as well as i left. So how will i see myself? These questions are also asked in the bunch. Will my friends view me the same? How will i suddenly jump into a high school in grade 10 where everyone has their group of clicky friends? Ever thought about your career? There are just so many insecurities and worries that are circulating my head.
As every thought going through my mind and conflict clinging on to the positive thoughts, there will always be downfalls of traveling long-term. Excellent results will come but obviously along with the longing to travel again. I do believe that when i return, i will most definitely not be the same person as i started with. Time changes you and so does experience.
I guess you just have to learn to accept that.