Tuesday, October 21, 2008


As some of you know, and others may guess, if you've been following me on Twitter or Facebook, I've been thinking about heading homeward. It started out as homesickness in Tacuba, but as I dove deeper into that feeling and explored the reasons for it, I realized that I don't want to go home because I'm tired of traveling, but because I'm excited about a multitude of opportunities and activities back home, and feel like I am ready to transition back into that world. I may not have a crystal-clear vision for the rest of my life (and I never expect to), but after taking some time out this year and getting to know myself better, I do have a much clearer vision now of my next steps. After feeling like I've been floating rather aimlessly for the last several years, this is more exciting for me than I can properly describe.

So, what is it that's got me itching to cut my travels and come back to the States, you ask? Well, it's a lot of things. Separating myself for a time from first the "normal" culture of working life (in February) and later from the rest of my customary life and language and culture in general (in July, when I started my travels) has taught me a great deal about myself and helped me to distill my values and ideals and goals. By discovering the things that I've missed the most in my travels I have begun to piece together a picture of how I want to live my life when I return, full of all those things that mean the most to me, without all the trappings that tend to accumulate over the years in an unquestioned life. I very purposely gave away most of my belongings when I left for Central America -- giving myself permission to start from scratch when(ever) I returned, to be picky about what I let back into my life rather than unthinkingly picking up where I left off.

For reasons that should be obvious after reading the list below, I will not be moving back to Portland (sorry, folks -- but I'll come visit!), but to California -- the Monterey Bay Area, to be more specific. I'm a little apprehensive about becoming a Californian again (you mean I have to buy a car?!), but I think I can handle it.

And, since I know you're dying to see the list, here it is -- some of the things I have missed the most and/or look forward to exploring as new adventures (the two most important factors first, everything else in no particular order, and by no means complete):

- Being close to family
- Work that challenges my limits, builds my abilities, and makes me feel I'm making a contribution to the world (after 8 long years, I'll be working at the marine lab again -- wheee!)
- Learning to play the guitar (and the fiddle?)
- Shape note singing
- Taking German classes
- Rock climbing
- Being close to the ocean
- Social dancing, ritual dancing, taking various kinds of dance lessons
- Gardening, growing things (& cooking them!)
- Really good, 55-60% cacao dark chocolate (okay, I know this isn't a reason to come home from Central America, but seriously -- the chocolate here could use some help)

I just bought a plane ticket to San Diego for November 7th. I'll be making my way north from there by train, visiting friends and family along the way, landing in Portland for Thanksgiving and then heading back to the Bay Area for Christmas and Harmony (hooray for Harmony!). See you soon! :)


cristie said...

Good for you for finding a way to determine what's really important in your life. It will be wonderful to see you back here. :)

(Gotta say, though - I've had a lot of compliments on that Guatemalan chili chocolate, so Central American chocolate ain't all bad!)

Trisha said...

OMG!! I just read your post! I'm so excited that you are coming back. Do you have a lay over in San Diego on the 7th? It'd be soooo great to see you and catch up!

I'm glad to hear that you've figured some things out. Anyway, I'd love to see you, and if we can't catch up when you hit San Diego maybe we can when you are in P-Town. I am going up for Thanksgiving as well (surprising the family with my arrival). I'll be there a week. If you want to drive back down together let me know.

Can't wait to see you!