There comes a time when your trip will end, and you will make your way back home. This is a time that is truly bittersweet. Your emotions are all over the boards. You’ve got feelings of excitement, worry, nervousness, sadness, happiness… You name it.

The sweet

Mt. Cook

On one hand, you’re excited to get home, to see your friends and family, to be attacked with kisses from your dog until you are completely covered in slobber (I seriously can’t wait for this). To hug your mom for a half an hour until she stops crying because you’re finally home (love you mom 😊). You’re excited to eat the food from home you’ve been craving, and cook in a clean, empty kitchen. You’re excited to put all of your clothes away in a closet, and shower without wearing flip flops. You’re excited to have a room all to yourself and not worry about being woken up by the 10 other travelers in the room getting up or coming in at all hours of the night. You’re excited to have a routine and get some order back in your life. You’re excited to get a job and start making back all of the money you spent; but let’s face it, in reality, this excitement actually comes from the thought that all of the money you’re about to make is going to fund your next trip (which, yes, you started planning before you even got home). In fact, you’ve already planned out all of the ways you’re going to begin saving again: cooking food instead of eating out, having one drink at the bar instead of four (your liver will thank you for this as well), renting movies instead of heading to the theaters, riding your bike (or carpooling) instead of driving your car (which will be a shitty car anyway because you don’t want to have to make ridiculous car payments), skipping the pricey morning coffee or soft drinks you would normally buy throughout the day and getting your energy from tea or water instead, working out at home instead of paying for a gym membership, wearing the perfectly perfect clothes you already have instead of going on shopping sprees, or sharing a room with a mate or living in moms camper (thanks again mom!) to help save on rent costs. On one hand, you’re excited to get home to the world you left behind months ago, the world you used to know so well.

The bitter

Lake Tekapo

On the other hand, going home is the last thing you want to do. You’re nervous and worried because the past few months of your life have been some of the best ever, and you don’t want it all to end! You want to keep visiting foreign countries and learning about different cultures, languages, religions, and lifestyles. You want to be the minority and be pushed outside of your comfort zone. You want to look at your home country from an outsiders perspective and take into consideration what the rest of the world thinks. You want to keep trying new foods, finding ones you know you will later crave (Trits, Platanos Fritos, Nasi Goreng, Magnum Bars – ice blocks, Tim Tams, Meat Pies, just to name a few). You want to get lost and have to ask another human, instead of Google, where to go because you don’t have any cell service or internet connection. You want to use old school paper maps. You want to read signs and find your way around by just looking up (it’s amazing all the things you see when you simply look up).

Lake Pukaki

“You have to get lost before you can be found.”

You want to wake up each morning knowing you have so much new stimuli coming your way. You want to see those insane ocean sunrises and sunsets, those towering cliff edges, raging rivers, snow capped mountain tops, ongoing desert landscapes, beautiful crashing waves, vast rolling hills, swaying palm trees, peaking volcanoes, thriving rainforests, mind-blowing water falls (don’t go chasing waterfalls-room219), sparkling stars, rice fields, the world below water, glaciers behind icy lakes, and white sandy beaches. You want your jaw to drop on the daily, and while you travel, it will.

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.”

And the people! Wow. You crave meeting new people each and every day, more than anything! The people, overall, give you the most inspiration for wanting to continue exploring the world. There’s something about meeting other travelers that you just can’t match anywhere else. You meet these people as strangers, and leave as great friends. It’s incredible how close you become to these people in such a short period of time. One second you don’t even know their name, the next, you feel as if you have known them forever. Even after two days, the goodbyes hurt so much! It’s like a piece of you is being ripped out. So unreal.

Frasier Island

These people have a place in your heart that will never be taken away. You learn something from each and every one of them, and you carry a bit of them, and them of you, forever.

You go from the never ending,
“What’s your name?”
“Where are you from?” (“Oh really? You’re American? I don’t meet very many Americans.”) -Always always get this reply!!
“How old are you?” (Wait you’re 18?haha)
“What did you, or are you going to study?”
“Where have you been so far?”
“Where are you going next?”
To laughing so hard you seriously might pee your pants. The connections you make with these people are unexplainable. You want to keep making these connections. You want to keep hearing strange accents, and have the majority of your Facebook news feed read in languages other than English. You want to continue to learn about others and the world beyond your home boarders. You want to spend more time with these people, because the time you had with them simply just wasn’t enough.

Lake Mackenzie

Lake MackenzieLake Mackenzie

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

You want to be in the moment. You want to put your phone down and take in the beauty that’s all around you. You want to go for a few days without checking your social media sites because you’re having too much fun doing what you’re doing in real life. You want to live in the here and now, because in reality, that’s all you truly have.

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”

You want to learn about yourself. Overall, traveling has taught me more about myself than I could have ever hoped to learn. It has given me patience and taught me how to take a step back when something goes wrong instead of getting angry about it. It has taught me how important it is to go with the flow, because in the end it’s going to work out one way or another. It has taught me that each person in this world is important, and we are all in this together. It has taught me to appreciate every single moment, every single second that we are given, because life is just too short not to. It has taught me how important it is to let go of grudges, anger, and regret, because life is about LOVE. It has taught me how important it is to be happy! A little good energy goes a long way in this world, and you never know who’s day you might make by sending good vibes. In the end, it has taught me how important it is to wipe away your tears, because you never know who might be falling in love with your smile..

Room 219

“You have the world at your feet. Let this be a reminder that there is nothing you can’t do.”

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