Deciding to fly home for Christmas was a hard decision. I had said I was going to travel for six months and I really wanted to stick with it. On the other hand, I was homesick and I wanted to spend Christmas with my family. I also knew my grandmother was nearing the end of her life and this might be my last chance to see her.
My last day in Tulum (and Mexico) was spent riding bikes, swimming, eating delicious food, and lying in the hot sun. I wondered how I could leave all that for the cold of Seattle. I even called the airline to see how much it would cost to change my ticket, but it was too expensive. In the end, I flew home for Christmas and it was the right decision.
To be honest, I was terrified to come home. Before I left on my journey I had so much angst, I was crawling out of my skin. I thought there was a life out there that was so much better suited for me than the one that I was living. Nothing brought me joy anymore and I kept thinking I’d finally be happy when… fill in the blank.
This trip was the first time I had traveled long term. It wasn’t what I had expected it to be like at all. You know when you go on vacation and everyday is the best day of your life? Long term travel isn’t like that. In a lot of ways it was so much better than I could have ever imagined and at the same time really difficult in ways I wasn’t prepared for. When you travel alone you meet so many amazing people and have experiences you’d never expect. It can also be quite lonely when you’re all alone in a foreign country with a culture so much different from your own.
After my three months abroad something became very clear to me: where you are doesn’t matter, as long as you’re surrounded by people you love. It was a hard realization to come to. Back in Seattle, I had had everything I thought I was looking for during my trip. To me, friends and family are what’s most important.
I told pretty much everyone except for my parents that I was flying home. My mom told me more than a few times how sad she was that I wouldn’t be there for Christmas so I wanted to surprise her. The look on my Mom’s face was priceless and made coming home all the more worth it in the end.
Being back home was better than I had excepted. It was so good to be surrounded by people who knew me and who I knew as well especially during the holidays.