Wanderlust still active, II decided to invest in a new e-Book for my plane ride home from France. The Lost Girls is an autobiography of three women in their twenties who decide to take a gap year/ career break and travel around the world. Their destinations include hiking in Peru, site-seeing and partying in Brazil, volunteering in Kenya, practicing yoga in India, backpacking through Southeast Asia, and road tripping while working freelance in New Zealand and Australia. Their journey around the world as well as their individual journeys are incredibly powerful. I can say that I was ready to book tickets to Rio and Bangkok almost immediately after finishing the last page (well before my plane touched down in Chicago.) Ever since I decided I wanted a life of travel, many travel blogs I have come across included ordinary people who saved their money, sold their belongings, and traveled the world for a year before returning to their lives back in the western world. To me, a year of travel sounds awesome…. more than awesome, in fact. But, the more I travel and live abroad, the more I realize that a non-stop, around-the-world tour may not actually be the right choice for me (even though The Lost Girls make it sound epically awesome!) I like to work. I like to have structure and routine. I also like to take a few vacation days to myself. I do not like sleeping in hostel dorms and living out of a backpack for months on end. My time in France and Japan have been great because I have gotten to live abroad, immerse myself in culture, develop a life, establish myself, and discover a great country while also having ample vacation time to discover other close destinations and countries! This way, I am traveling slowly, yet each new day is also an adventure– I get the best of both worlds! When I’m done conquering Europe and parts of the Middle East, I’ve told myself that my next destination would be Southeast Asia (once Thailand decides to calm down a bit.) I want to ride a motorbike in Vietnam, get my scuba certification in Thailand, bike around Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and lounge in the beaches in Bali. But I also want to backpack South America, climb to the top of Machu Picchu, and experience the colors of Buenos Ares in Argentina. At the same time I could see myself living down under and indulging in the laid-back culture of Australia and adventure sports in New Zealand. And boy, do I ever want to go on an African Safari! Even better, I would like to go to Antarctica and cruise through Alaska and explore the Caribbean Islands. I want to take a U.S. and Canadian road trip, go skiing in Dubai / Abu Dhabi see the Great Pyramids, practice yoga in India, and relax on Greek Islands. But I also would like to return to Iceland and Spain and Morocco and Turkey and New Orleans and New York City. I’ve also never been to San Francisco. Regardless, I’m trying hard to focus on the now. I made my dream come true with having another opportunity to work in France; the world’s doors are open, and I want to continue to walk through them. I want to continue seeing, experiencing, doing, and learning.
Originally as a teacher, I always envisioned myself teaching abroad in other countries, making enough to live on, and using the rest to travel and see the world during my vacations (If I end up working stateside, I also could easily see myself taking my summers to travel.) I also foresee myself running a successful travel blog on the side and inspiring others to travel through my writings.
But, being home, I must admit, seeing my family, realizing that life goes on without you, watching my friends buying houses, building savings, and establishing themselves in their careers, I am beginning to realize that a life back home may not be so bad either. And while I’m definitely not ready to quit my expat life or to get married and have kids, or heck, even to be in a long-term relationship, I have recently found myself daydreaming about having my own queen bed, an espresso machine and matching dishes, my own car, and art work hung up on the walls of my own apartment.
Overall, just like these women, I guess I’m lost too. I have no idea where my life will head after I’m finished with France– will I “settle down”? Will I keep moving? Will I continue my expatriate lifestyle? Will someone else come into my life? Your guess is as good as mine.