(Taken my first days of India)
It’s been 2 weeks since I climbed out of the Narnia wardrobe and re-entered the life I left 14 months ago.
The first week back was hard. I honestly had the closest thing to a mental breakdown I’ve ever experienced.
Reaching out to my travel mate, Charlie I tried to explain how it feels to be back. It feels like nothing has changed. Like I’ve been gone for a few days, weeks at most. He referenced Chronicles of Narnia and Peter Pan and that’s it. I climbed into the wardrobe had a life changing experience then climbed back through to find just an hour has passed.
Saying goodbye to Bangkok on my birthday was a great way to wrap up my trip. It was only right that it couldn’t be that easy to make my original plane ride and Asia needed me for a few extra days. I landed in Seoul and literally stumbled off the plane in to an oversized lazyboy in the rest and relax lounge where I caught up on sleep until my flight was called. I breezed through San Fran airport and hopped straight into the parents of the bride’s car and off to Napa we went. Refusing to let the resort golf cart take me to my friend’s room, I chucked on my pack and ran off yelling “I’ve been carrying this thing for a year, I can make it just a bit farther.” Tears quickly turned in to laughter and it felt as if we’ve never been apart. The next two days were filled with wine tastings and late nights on the resort’s patio and somewhere in between there I had somewhat of a mental breakdown.
The little culture shock things were comical like examining the American change given to me and yelling “we got a new penny!” the realization that not only do I not have to carry toilet paper around, I can throw the tp straight in to the bowl rather than the bin that I’m used to. In the middle of a sentence I’d just space out and look around me. To be completely surrounded by westerners is foreign to me. Hearing my own language constantly is foreign to me. I was handling my transition ok until I was in my own head. When I’d be alone with my thoughts, I’d start to freak out. Feeling anxious, feeling down, feeling like people won’t understand me, and my body clock being completely off are probably what led me to hitch hiking down a country road in Napa. Yeah, I tried to hitch hike in America. And I quickly learned people don’t slow down when they see you, they speed up.
I had wanted to get my nails done at a cheaper salon in town and knowing it was a short drive from the resort, I decided to walk. I already felt insane only sleeping a few hours the past few nights but I thought a walk would be good for me. Still in my pjs, still in my glasses, and sweating out the booze from the night before, I set off. My body and my mind were not working together. I felt the need to run. I had to call my mates to keep me talking so I didn’t break down in tears. Google maps said I was going the wrong way after walking 40mins so frustrated I headed the other direction. I figured all these people must be going to town surely they’ll pick me up. I quickly realized as soon as I stuck my thumb out the cara started speeding up passed me. Eventually I gave up, headed back to the resort feeling like a stranger in my own country. When I hit the bed in my room, I started sobbing. It took a funny FaceTime with Jon to somewhat calm me down and the realization I needed to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. With company I was almost normal. More friends from home showed up that day which of course led to more tears but only happy reunion ones.
From there the weekend went wonderful. The wedding was absolutely breathtaking which of course led me to (happy) tears when I watched my best friend and her new husband have their first dance while the sun painted pink skies around us.
The flight home was nerve wrecking. My anxiety was high and all I wanted to do was throw open the plane window and parachute out. Thankfully Kelli and Kelsey sat next to me and kept my mind distracted. Landed safely and thanks to the tiny xanax I took on the plane, I zombied back in to my life.
Since then I’ve been home for 2 weeks. And as I said in the beginning it’s just like Narnia. Everything is how I left it. Home, job, family, everything minus a few engagements, weddings, and babies. It’s going to take some time to adjust to this life again. I still wake up every morning hoping to find myself in some cheap guest house in Asia. I’ll get used to it. I’ll enjoy it. And soon enough I’ll be chucking on my pack and heading to my next adventure.