Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

This is my personal blog and a space that I try to make sense of my wandering life. Depending on the day it could be a helpful resource for the country I'm in, or a self-help guide. We'll just have to see ;)

Homeward Bound

I’ve been back for a while now, and if anyone actually reads these things I’m sorry for the delay. And even though I’m back in my typical role of wearing 50 hats, running early morning to late night, I feel like I’m just now coming home. It was gloomy at first, but stick with me. I promise I’m working on a happy ending.

For those of you who have traveled, maybe you’ll understand. Everything was different, this time more-so than before. It turns out that being aware of your own culture shock does very little to dampen the effects. I’m almost over the morning realizations that in that very moment I could be floating, weightless atop a wave or trudging up,up to the top of a mountain. The thought that “I could have stayed there this time, taught English, lived cheaply,not worried…” has regressed to the confines of my mind rather than the too-quick tip of my tongue. I’ve re-learned how little people really want to hear about how great someone else’s life is, or was and I’ve felt the sting of absence. “5 months is a long time..” was a statement that stuck with me bitterly for my first weeks back as I discovered the extent to which people, places had changed. America weighed heavy on my conscience; the obesity, dependence on technology, and constant push to do and never relax drove me to feverishly check the next flight South. Heck, I even checked north, east and west.

That was my first month home. I can say with confidence that I was suffering some form of depression; everything I’ve learned from commercials with women (it’s always women?) and bouncy white blobs has taught me depression means little to no interest in anything, blurred memory, blah blah blah.

So I took a trip.

I didn’t drive to Mexico, or even Miami as I think so many people expected me to. I went to Bloomington, Indiana. I visited an old friend, and made myself get out and do things. We hiked, discovered new shops and food and music and bars. I met new people, even spoke a bit of Spanish and I slept on a couch. I was back in my element and out of my funk.

Since then, I’ve landed a job I love and as always – have a hundred other projects keeping me busy. I turned a few doodles into cards, printed them and all of a sudden I’m participating in gallery hop and selling them in 2 locations. I picked henna up again, promoted myself and have now set up shop for a belly dance studio, University of Kentucky and private parties. I still stop by the hookah bar too. Shoot, I even sell worm poop when the opportunity arises.

I’m working as a trail guide and assistant at an outdoor rec area in Lexington, and soon will be zipping above the gorge and treetops of Fayette county. I’m able to get outside, and even though my dog now lives full-time with my sister I see her when I can – I feel like a divorced parent and it’s comical and heartbreaking all at the same time. I got to spend time with my dad, and am still making peace with myself and the family for not being here in that time of need. I’ve reconnected with old friends, and neglected some as I acclimate to being glued to a cellphone all the time. I’ve discovered new places, faces, and food and settled for skyping my boyfriend once a week instead of hiking, biking, or road-tripping with him.

Being back has been a slow progress for me, but it’s an exciting time to be here. I have more pride in Lexington than ever and have embraced it as home even as I dream of leaving. Something has changed, because now when I think about leaving I also think about coming home. To West 6th street brewery. To spicy hot chocolate at Coffee Times, and Keeneland in the spring. To a quirky but growing group of outdoors enthusiasts, hippies and humanitarians. Lexington is changing and so am I. People keep asking me “where next?” and I have yet to reply. Because, as much as I believe in and miss traveling I know there’s so much to learn here too.

I’ve almost been back for 2 months, but I’m still coming home.

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2 comments on “Homeward Bound

  1. Hannah
    February 1, 2013

    I love this Chelsea! I’ve felt this way so many times before…..and even in the painful, lost-feeling moments, it’s a beautiful experience. I’m sure it will lead you somewhere amazing, even if only HOME.

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2013 by in South America 2012, Travel reflections.
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