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Returning to the USA

July 15, 2011

People always ask me how I can do this or that in a foreign country, but no one has ever asked how returning from abroad is like.

I have to admit it is never easy… I travel alone, live abroad alone, and when I come back to the U.S. the alone time is quite  limited. That can be good and then again rather exhausting.

I normally take a bus or a motor-bike in other countries, and I don’t drive a car there. Stepping into a car the first time back is always a white-knuckle ride, the traffic is so very, very fast it makes my heart pound, and I’m sure we are going to fly off the freeway, or be hit by another crazy driver. This feeling goes away in a few days, but that first ride is scarier than jumping out of an airplane.

I miss the smells from around the world so much that at times I drive by or stop at the local taco trucks, just to renew my last visit to a Latino country.  I often go in search or Thai or Vietnamese restaurants for the delicious food, but also for the smell. The smells from my travels are both good and bad, but always a reminder of that wonderful country. My memory doesn’t have a smell to recall the U.S. at best it would have to be someone barbecuing.

Being on time or having to do something on a certain day is a huge hurdle for me when I return. I don’t own a watch and I live by the word manana. Tomorrow is close enough for my slower way of life in other countries, but doesn’t work well in the U.S. and people are always a little irritated that I’m late. Around the world time is not very important. The best excuse for being late is nothing other than; I ran into someone and we had to visit for a while. I like the idea that people are more important than being on time.

The weather is another adjustment. I only own clothes for the tropics, so I often freeze upon returning, no matter what month. My shoes are all sandals, and don’t work well in the rain. My one long-sleeved shirt is now so well worn it should go into the garbage. The borrowed jacket is not a welcome item in my wardrobe no matter if I will freeze or be eaten by mosquito. I’m just too in love with the heat of the tropics.

How am I adjusting to this trip back??? I’m cold, and ready to see palm trees blowing in the sunny breeze. I’m missing the sound of a language that is new to my ears, and smells that make me rush out to see what delightful food they have to offer.

It’s nice to be back in the USA, but nothing can replace the wanderlust in my soul. Happy Travels!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kathy Ripley permalink
    July 21, 2011 3:34 pm

    I am glad you fought the elements so we could have our visit! Understand your desire to be near the palm trees & people at a slower pace. Keep me posted where you do end up.

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