For the past four and a half months we have been traveling around the world. We have faced many challenges and had many joys along the way; our experiences have been breathtaking, frustrating, exhausting, and exhilarating. Lately I have felt more run down than usual on the trip, and fankly, some things have been getting to me.
The hardest thing for me on the trip right now is that I often feel isolated from other people. My friends have gone to college and are leading busy social lives, and I often feel like I have no social life left. I can’t wait to go to college, both out of the anticipation to learn new things and a desire to make new friends. I am glad that I’m on the trip, and I know I am seeing amazing things, but sometimes it is hard to think of how much time I have before I’ll be back home. And despite being in constant contact with my family on the trip, I sometimes feel extremely lonely. I am used to being able to bounce my thoughts off of and develop through my friends, and not having personal contact with them is hard.
Home Sweet Home…Where?
Another challenging thing about being on the trip is not knowing where “home” will be when we return to the US. Since we’ve sold our house and my mom has left her job, parts of our future are still mysteries to us. I don’t get worried about us having a home or my mom getting a job- I know that both of these things will happen. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to imagine being at home again when I don’t know where that will be! Luckily, I’ll be entering a dorm when I get back, so I do know some of what I can expect for when we return.
What to do When I’m Feeling Down?
I am learning to occupy myself when I start feeling down, and it has been easy to do on our mini- vacation in Zanzibar. The beaches here are absolutely beautiful, with sand the color of porcelain and water as warm as bathwater. I’ve spent a lot of time collecting shells and walking along the beach, and yesterday we went on a day-long snorkeling trip. When we’re not in such glamorous places I dedicate myself to writing, reading, drawing, and pushing myself to do more when we’re volunteering. The most important thing I have learned is to get active if I start feeling gloomy.
Is it Worth it?
All in all, though, I am still glad that I embarked on this journey, and would not change my decision if I was given another chance. Although it is sometimes very hard to be traveling all of the time, I know that the experiences I’m having will enrich my life so much that it is more than worthwhile. Already the trip has changed my outlook on life and opened my mind in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. Nothing is perfect, and our trip is most certainly not perfect. But I know that we are helping people, having the experiences of our lives, and learning new things every day.
An Unstable (and Wonderful) Environment
There have been many people who have felt that our decision to go on this trip was a bad one, that it would be creating an unstable environment for Alex and Bella especially.
Yes, we are in an unstable environment. Any environment full of such constant change can be considered unstable. But change is essential to human development, and every day I see us, especially Alex and Bella, developing in new and beautiful ways. Alex is becoming more and more social, and taking part in activities that before he wouldn’t want to do. Bella is blossoming as a young woman and her writing skills are giving me a run for my money, thanks to all of the posting she’s been doing. We do fight sometimes, we do get lonely and upset sometimes, and once and a while we wonder why we’re doing this crazy trip in the first place. But above all, we still love what we are doing- and that is why we’re still doing it. It would be easy to get on a flight home and raise the rest of the money from there if we wanted to.
Are we Still Dragging the Kids Along?
The point is, we all want to continue the trip- all of us. Even Alex, who famously said that he “didn’t have a choice” about going on the trip, wants to continue it. If we were unhappy, we wouldn’t be dragging ourselves around the earth for another seven and a half months!