I doubt this will reach anyone, as it has been quite a while since I’ve been back. But I suppose this is more for myself anyway. I thought that by six months back I would feel completely re-immersed into Western culture. To my delight, this isn’t the case. I feared losing all that I learned, and felt, in Tanzania. On the contrary, my desire to be back has increased. I’m comfortable living in the US. I recognize the importance of getting my education here, and of course, all of my loved ones are here. BUT, I miss it, so much. It’s hard to explain, and I barely understand myself how a few months abroad could have such a monumental impact on my life. Three months. I’ve been back six, and very little has happened. But in those three months, my world was re-created. I still have this recurring dream of driving along the road from Moshi to Arusha in a dala-dala. I can remember it so vividly, the smell of the land, the warmth of the sunset, the wind. It almost brings me to tears. But I’m not sad, this memory is of one of the few times in my life I’ve felt entirely at peace. It’s a great source of happiness.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy, very. But I recognize I’ll never feel the same. I can no longer be content being a tourist. Looking in, not immersing. I crave travel. I have this insatiable need to go abroad. When I made formal plans to be in Peru this winter I cannot begin to describe how happy it made me. I can’t wait. And I know, this feeling will never go away.
I’m not alone either, a great portion of those I traveled with last year are either headed back this summer, have already been back, or are making other plans to go abroad. I won’t try to explain why we need this, why all of us, once affected crave to be back. My ultimate life ambition is to be in a position that allows me to travel in this way, to volunteer, or trek across continents. I don’t need a house, I don’t need any part of the American dream, what I do need is someone to share these experiences with, and thats about it. If I never own a house, I don’t care. If I don’t have a car, I don’t mind. If my job doesn’t have a great retirement plan. I don’t care. I simply don’t. I know my views will continually shift as I experience more, and perhaps I will change my mind, but as of right now, my desires are simple. And I couldn’t be happier with how this experience has changed me.