October 10, 2014
After a childhood as an army brat and two years of some pretty diverse trips, I have come to an unfathomable conclusion: I am sick of traveling.
As exhilarating as backpacking can be, as life-changing as witnessing world renowned landmarks and natural wonders is, after too many in a short period of time they all start to blend together and lose their epicness.
I remember reading an article almost a year ago about this girl who called quits on traveling, and she said she just knew it was time. Those words stuck out to me then because of their absurdness, but now I finally understand their meaning.
I am by no means the most traveled person I know, but I have certainly ended up in more places then I ever could have imagined in my wildest dreams as a child. Not only have I visited some phenomenal countries, I have lived on 4 different continents in my lifetime thus far. The thing is, I don’t have any regrets about postponing adulthood to travel, but I do feel an overwhelming urge to stop. I am nowhere near close to completing my bucket list, but I suddenly don’t hear the ticking clock in the back of my mind that makes me think: if I don’t do it now, I never will.
So I find myself back in Arizona, and in no way does it feel like home, but it does feel relatively familiar, and the appeal of setting off on another adventure is rapidly wearing off.
It all began on an average morning in June, precisely 6 months into living in Cusco, when the 6 month itch creeped in. On this particular morning, the green mountains freckled with colorful houses no longer seemed like the most stunning view to wake up to. The llamas lining the narrow streets and the children accompanying them lost their lure, and the street food that I grew to love (a little too much) seemed bland. The relationships I had built became the main draw, but those were all temporary and the goodbyes were piling up.
In the midst of that mindset, my mom and I set of on a 6 week backpacking endeavor across Peru, chile, and Argentina. Don’t get me wrong, the trip was amazing, and I am beyond grateful for all the opportunities it provided me with. However that being said, 6 weeks, 3 currencies, 9 flights, 2 ferries, and 5 overnight buses is all it took for me to admit defeat. I Anna French, self-proclaimed world traveler, had a revelation: I am utterly exhausted. My backpack is falling apart, I might scream if I have to explain gluten to one more person who tells me that the soup is only made from about 3% wheat, my clothes and shoes are so worn that I had to leave them behind like a bread crumb trail around South America, I have a newfound appreciation for toilet paper and hand soap, and I’ve grown fond of the English language and the sheer ease at which communication is possible in my mother tongue. In short, I’ve never craved the comforts of home so much so, that it outweighed the prospects the rest of the world has to offer, until now.
Who knows when and if this will all wear off, but for the time being I vow to take in and fully appreciate the luxury of having access to 4G, credit card machines, toilet seats, Pei Wei, my Prius, A/C, hot showers, and all my shoes.
I’m sure my backpack and I just need some space, and it will be no time at all before I am frequenting travel sites and scanning airfares, but in this moment I am giving into the peacefulness of just being here.