I did it. I got on the plane in Bangkok and eventually found my way back home to Seattle. The first week was rough. In one word: Jetlag.
There also was a boulder of expectations and self-doubt slowly crushing my ribs, forcing me to lie on the floor of my dad’s house while listening to The National and old Belle & Sebastian on repeat.
But eventually I managed to get my bum off the couch and embrace the beauty of being home. The view of lake, the mountains. My friends. Hanging out with my family.
One thing about being home is that everyone has questions.
Top 5 questions I get asked since being home:
It’s a typical hot and rainy night in Bangkok. I’ve spent the day buying last minute gifts, battling traffic jams and getting my last Thai massage of the trip (200 baht for one hour of it-hurts-so-good-bliss). And now I’m staying up late, writting, drinking tea and getting ready for my early morning flight back to the US.
That’s right people, after two months of traveling in Southeast Asia, I’m coming home.
Am I ready to go home?
As ready as I’ll ever be. Truth be told, I’m over seeing the temples and doing touristy things. But as you can imagine, it’s a mixed bag of emotions about returning to normal life.
What will I miss the most?
Adventurous stuff like mountain biking in Vietnam, washing elephants in Laos, white water rafting in Thailand and riding a motorbike taxi in any Southeast Asian country. Being able to do whatever I want. Not having a set schedule/routine. Cheap massages. $1 tropical fruit smoothies. Delicious street food. All the crazy/annoying/wonderful characters you meet while traveling.
What am I looking forward to?
I can’t wait to give giant hugs to my beloved friends and family. I’m also more than ready to enjoy the last few weeks of Seattle’s summer from a dock on Lake Washington. In general, being home.
There are more than a few practical matters to take care of once I get home (1. Find a job) but I think I’m ready to face these challenges and see what types of opportunities I can create for myself.
For now, all I have to do is make my early morning flight…
20 pairs of Burmese eyes stare at me as I stumble on a public bus in Yangon, Myanmar. I point to my crumpled photocopied map and smile big, “Shwedagon Pagoda?” The bus attendant shoos me forward and makes some sort of joke at my expense.
I curse myself for being too cheap to take a taxi.
As soon as I pay the $0.10 bus ticket, a shy young woman with very good English informs me that I am on the completely wrong bus. So that’s what the joke was about. She points to the other side of the street and instructs me to take the #28 bus. The advice is well-intentioned but utterly useless given that none of the city buses have roman numerals on them. All I see are the loopy loops and defined curves of the Burmese alphabet.