Thoughts after 10 months of being a bum (a.k.a backpacker)

10 months we were on the road together, the 3 of us together. We laughed, we cried and we learned together, we grew, we understood, we accepted, we thanked. And now it’s time to move on, towards a new (in fact old, both for us and in itself) continent. The end of this experience is the beginning of another: HOME! “Mixed feelings” doesn’t begin to cover it.

For the past 10 months we have slept in more than 100 beds…couches, mattresses, floors, tents, buses, boats, planes. Eaten at more than 500 tables. Have moved by means of plane, bus, jeep, car, bicycle, horse, tuk-tuk, minivan, boat, ferry, train, metro, own two feet, big bus, small bus, fancy bus, 100-years-old bus, motorcycle, lifts.

Out of the 10 months, we were guests for 4.

We spent a week in the company of an Inca Priest, went to church for Easter with very Catholic Chileans and then spent 3 weeks in a Hari Krishna Yoga Park. We meditated in silence for 10 days during a Buddhist meditation retreat, then spent 2 months in Peru with healers, shamans and people following the Mayan Calender.

We stopped being tourists fairly early, and instead became world travelers (the main distinction between the two, as I see it, is that the first experience things mainly with their eyes and mind, while the latter find their heart transformed). That is just who we are and will be. For now though, a big stage is about to end, and another one about to begin. There is uncertainty all around, but one thing we know for sure: we are so grateful for the experience and support we have been offered for the past 10 months, and for all the incredible people we have in our lives, regardless of distance and place. Thank you!!

So… are we afraid of going home?

I’m speaking for myself now, but Boca’s feelings are quite similar. The word is “scared shitless”!

I left home four years ago for a one year experience in Singapore, because experiencing Asia was something I just had to “get out of my system” before “settling down”. Now, four years later, I am aware that traveling, exploring and discovering are some things I will never “get out of my system”. That it’s not a hobby, not a dream, not something on my bucket list. It is instead who I am. It is a part of me, just as I am a part of the same world I am dying to explore. Getting to know it helps me know myself more, and getting to understand myself more helps me understand the world more. A mutual relationship that I found really works (for me).

Do I know what’s waiting for me once I get home? Not a clue! Well, that’s not entirely true, some things I can already see in my mind’s eye: legions of extended family members, smiling ear to ear “you’re finally home, we’ve been waiting for you since…” (the truth is probably since the day after I left). Lots of friends, old and not so old, some I will easily reconnect with, some I will never quite be on the same “wave length” with again. People with lots of opinions about my experience, about what I should be doing next, about my life. MY life, that is.

Probably that’s what will happen. Definitely. Maybe.

Scared shitless I said… so what am I afraid of?

  • That I won’t be able to reconnect with my old friends. That we’ve all grown a lot in the past four years, and we’ve grown at different speeds and in different directions.
  • That I won’t be able to easily find new friends who share my view of the world and life, people who think the same and live their lives according to more or less the same principles as I do.
  • That my family members (grandmothers and aunts being the champions at this) will continue not to understand why I can’t just be a “normal child” and live my life the way I “should” live it: settling down in my own house, nailing a “stable” job (little do they know that “stable job” is pretty much an oxymoron these days), finding a husband, a good man they’d approve of, then having a couple of kids because “I want to know my grandchildren before I go”.
  • That people will judge me, look down on me or up to me, not understand where I’m coming from and where I’m headed
  • That the guy at my favorite groceries store will not even remember me, let alone recognize me.
  • That I have forgotten all the shortcuts and traffic-free streets and I’ll spend half of my life from now on being lost in my own city, and the other half stuck in traffic.
  • That it will not be easy to find the support I need for what I wish to accomplish next
  • That people will think I’m a freak and will throw tomatoes at my window.
  • That, as my mom says, “all the good guys are slowly taken”.
  • That I will function on Latin American time. “Oh, the show starts at 7? Ok, shall be there by 9”
  • That I’ll start bargaining with taxi drivers
  • That I will go to the market to buy lunch, or will look for it by the road side… and upon not finding it, shout at the top of my lungs in desperation “Where are all the mamachas????”

So… is that enough to keep me from going home?

Not a chance! I’ve never known it more strongly in my bones. This is it, and the time is now:).

What am I most excited about?

  • A room/kitchen/bathroom/place to call my own
  • Driving!!!
  • My big soft fluffy towel. The pink one.
  • Having a closet!! A c…l…o…s…e…t…
  • Perfuuuuuuume
  • My cellphone actually ringing
  • Lipstick! Oh, lipstick!
  • My grandma’s pancakes whenever my heart desires
  • My high heel shoes. Oh… Lord, I will never complain again…
  • Going to a theater play or a concert with friends
  • A shower that is sure to supply me with hot water until the end
  • Making omelet with my dad
  • Going shopping with my mom
  • Watching some Romanian TV shows (especially the really crappy ones… or maybe not:p)
  • Going to my favorite tea place and sinking in a book
  • Endless laughing nights with those close at heart

 From Boca: I wanted to read the post, to make some changes, add on some things, but the only thing I see or feel differently is that I am not so much looking forward to see Romanian TV, rather Hungarian J otherwise, my sis said all perfectly!

Conclusions after these 10 months?

Only one – life really is how we make it.
So be it! Amen! Arie! Aho! Haiaia!

Gracias a todos, love you always!!

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