The Dark Side of Travel


Last month, I had a really good teaser of the life I wanted. I was on the road for all but one week, and I loved every moment of it. Loved it so much, in fact, that I was completely unprepared for the crash that greeted me when I got back.

I honestly thought I was prepared to go home. I had blueprints to put to paper, plans to put to action. I had clear, achievable goals. Until they all crumbled into pieces. Despite these “runway lights” guiding me back home, I found myself afloat. Until now, two weeks since I got back, I still can’t seem to find solid ground. There’s just this myriad of things I can’t deal with, whether by choice or by force. And I think until I do, I will stay unsettled.

1. I’m becoming arrogant

Not in the sense that I’m better than everyone else; I’m still insecure as hell. It’s more of, I inadvertently developed this tendency to minimize everyone else’s concerns. It’s becoming hard for me not to find some of these concerns petty, even if I know they’re a big deal to some people. I now suddenly have this urge to just call everyone out on their bullshit, tell them what a HUGE waste of time it is, and please there’s so much more to life than flimsy decisions you regret every other day depending on your mood, and fucking Facebook.

Especially when they complain to me about it. It just frustrates me that they choose to live their lives spending so much energy on things that give them so little in return, whatever reasons they have for doing so. The arrogant bitch in me is just finding it hard to be patient with things like that. I mean, get over yourself! There’s so much more to life!

2. I can’t focus

Though I generally like my life, it’s not as cool and exciting as new places and adventures on the road. Naturally, in moments of weakness – which I find a lot of these days – I find my brain wandering to faraway places and distant memories, reliving experiences, rewinding days. I can’t keep my brain here and now. It’s affecting my work, it’s messing with my schedules. It gives me this strong urge to just lie down, close my eyes, and stay inside my head instead of in the real world where I need to get things done. It almost makes me feel dirty that I actually gave in to that a couple of times; I abandoned work in the pretense of taking a break, I lay down to “sleep”, and instead just went through my recent exploits in my head. It almost feels like watching porn, watching something you shouldn’t be watching. It’s gotten to a point now where I’m starting to doubt if I can be a fully-functional human being even when I’m not on the road. It’s a real effort to try to go back to the life I had before leaving, knowing that I’m not quite the same person and things fit differently now.

3. It’s affecting my sleep

Last month, almost every night I went to bed I was drained and ecstatic from a day of adventures. My normal routine now just can’t compare to that. I’m just on the computer all day, with little physical activity in between – unless you count eating a physical activity. I go to bed with my tank still practically full and unused, and this nagging feeling that my day isn’t complete yet so I’m not ready to sleep. But my day is complete, because so little goes into it now, and I am ready to sleep, coz there’s nothing else to do. My body just refuses to. Since I got back I’ve been sleeping just a bit before sunrise and waking up like I have a long day of sightseeing ahead of me. I’m honestly pretty tired by now, but despite that, I still have to completely expel my energy in order to sleep easily. I don’t know how long it’ll go on, but I’m now considering buying sleeping pills just to get some shuteye.

4. I am dirt fucking poor

I work to travel, and the moment I have the amount I need, I go. What I hate about being back to zero is the lack of possibilities to just up and leave. It makes me feel bound, trapped, and I loathe that feeling.

5. I feel uprooted

I have a hard time relating to the people around me. I have a hard time living the life I left behind. I have a hard time reacquainting with the quirks of the places I once called home. I have a hard time dealing with the various shit of the society I belong to. It’s like seeing through sunglasses; you see the same things but it still looks different.

Coming home after leaving, I found myself reshaped by the winds and tides of the places I visited. I was molded into something else. And when I get back, the previous life I tailor-made for me no longer fits like a glove. I feel like I don’t belong in it anymore, but molding myself back for the sake of accommodation is inconceivable. Thus, I’m at this crossroads. How will I reshape my life again in order for it to fit me? How will I reprogram my brain so it remembers and accepts the things that once made sense? How will I settle into this old-new life again?

At this point I’m just taking it slow. I’m letting the residual sands of travel fall off on their own before I wash them off and remove them from me completely. I don’t really want to, but life goes on, and so must I.