Returning home to a new chapter

A recent entry on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree struck me. The post (“The return home after 13 months of travel…”) begged the age-old question “but what do I do at the end of it all, when I return home?”

It may hit some of us harder than others—and when asked prematurely it may keep someone from going abroad in the first place. I know that I’ve been lucky to return to a safe haven after a long trip, where I was able to take some temp jobs while stalling for time, before changing to a new field of work. But don’t mistake my quick summary for an easy transition—those were confusing months.

The first response on the Thorn Tree popped up: take your time.

Sage advice, but it was the analogy of the next post that I liked. The idea of life as as a series of pages or chapters turned isn’t new, but the blogger puts it well:

“I use the analogy of a book to think about life. I’m about to begin chapter 62 and when you get that far into your book (life) you start to gain some bigger perspectives on things. What in chapter 25 (or wherever you are now) might seem like a major point in your life may well (and probably will) become a far less signifigant point by the time you get to chapter 60. If it hasn’t become less signifigant by then, life must have been very dull ever since.

My point is simply this, don’t make a bigger deal of it than it is. Decide what you want to do now (the next chapter at least) and get on with it. This is probably not the crux of your life.”

Well, if you put it that way: you’re not to going to fail miserably if you stall for a bit, or if you take a short trip down the wrong path. This wide-angle-lens approach isn’t meant to discount the trip that you just took. Actually, the things that you trusted and honed on the road—your instincts and flexibility—are exactly what will serve you well on your return. But the dose of perspective is good to keep close as you move ahead in your own way—knowing that other fantastic things lie ahead.

Posted by | Comments Off on Returning home to a new chapter  | February 26, 2008
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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