Six months ago, I embarked on my last round the world trip. It won’t be the end of my travels, but simply the beginning of a new chapter in my life – one filled with shorter trips.
It’s hard to believe that time has passed so quickly. It feels like only yesterday that I was exploring Sweden and Norway. The clock has moved so quickly that I feel little has been accomplished over the last six months. Yet, at the same time, so much really has. I celebrated turning 30 in Greece, fell in love with the Ukraine, went to Oktoberfest, lost my passport, tried finding Dracula in Romania, returned to Copenhagen, met tons of other bloggers, and made countless friends.
I guess that’s a sign of a good time: when you feel as if you have accomplished very little and so very much at the same time.
Looking back on six months in Europe, I’ve gotten to visit many parts of the region I never saw before. But I also got to have one last hurrah as a Eurotripping backpacker. This is my last time spending months on end traveling Europe. I think of all the adventures I’ve had here over the last few years and say to myself, “Well, if I do one more summer I can go here, and there, and over there.” But that’s just me thinking up reasons to extend something I know I’m ready to move on from.
As I watch so many young travelers on their first adventures with a gleam in their eye as they discuss how they are going to come back next year, I do get a little sad. Hanging around so many young people keeps me young, but it also keeps me from growing up. I just want to live in this post-college, carefree age forever. I am constantly envious of these young 20-somethings. I want to come back, too. I want to be that carefree again. It’s like that line from the movie Dazed and Confused, “I get older but they stay the same age.” I don’t need to grow up when no one else is. But things change, and I’m ready for some change. However, sometimes you do miss the life you leave behind.
In three weeks, I’m off to Asia and I’m getting increasingly excited about it. I would have left for the warm Southeast Asian sun already, but there’s a big travel conference in London in November that I want to attend. But after that, Southeast Asia and I will be reunited.
It has been almost two years since I was last in Asia, and close to five since I traveled around it. I’m looking forward to this final leg of my trip because, after visiting Europe every summer for three years, I’ve grown very accustomed to it. It’s become too “normal” for me. Just like my trip to Latin America, I’m looking forward being somewhere where I don’t feel completely “at home.” I want a little uncertainty. I want to get a little lost and confused. I want something new.
In a few months time, “the end” will be here.
But, for now, I’m just going to simply keep moving.