Published: November 22nd 2006September 1st 2006
Now that I have been back in the US for awhile, I thought I'd reflect on my trip and what I have learned.
As my plane left US soil last January, I thought about how my life would never be the same. I was right that I would come back a changed person; I just didn't realize how completely different my life would be. Many people expect that you will just pick up where you left off and that things will essentially be the same, but it is simply not possible. A journey like this always changes you, usually for the better.
As many of you already know, Stevan and I have separated and he has moved back to Belgrade. This has been a really difficult time for me. I won't go into the painful details of our split, but I will say that re-entry has been a major shock for me, and these intense personal changes have made settling back into an American life even harder. Getting used to American people, cities, stores, prices, lifestyle, etc. again has been pretty difficult. Even the simplest thing like buying groceries is still a bit of a culture shock. I may be American by birth, but I feel like I don't belong here anymore. I am very fortunate to have the opportunities I do, but there are times when I feel pretty alienated and alone.
People in Asia live their lives on the streets, always with friends and family close by. People in America live their lives in boxes. They leave their box house in their box car to go to their box office to stare at their box PC all day and go back to their box home to stare at their box TV. There must be a better way to live than this. Instead of living, that kind of existence makes you die a little bit more each day.
I'd like to give a big shout out to my fellow travelers who looked out for me. Thank you for making my journey so memorable. Thank you for listening to me and being there for me when I was traveling alone. Thank you for reminding me that I should live life based on love instead of fear and that I should always live each day to its fullest. You know who you are, and your love and kindness will never be forgotten.
I can't say enough positive things about the people from so many countries who have done so many kind things for me and who made this journey such a mind-blowing, amazing experience. It really does reaffirm that humans are basically good and that not every person who approaches you is out for a quick buck. Fellow travelers, don't be afraid of those locals. They are not all scam artists. Most of them are very kind people who would give you the shirt off their back even though they live in gut-wrenching poverty.
This will not be the end of my adventures. In fact, as some of you know, I've already had one, but I can't post it here. I'm not exactly sure what I'll do next and where I'll end up, but you can be sure that it will be one hell of a ride. Stay tuned for the next chapter.
It's a big, beautiful world that we live in and there are so many amazing places and people waiting for you. So don't be afraid to explore, just stop making excuses and get out of the box you’ve created for yourself. You only live once, so what are you waiting for...