I’m at the airport in Sao Paulo. And I feel nothing. I slept as usual; I didn’t feel any anticipation at all as I usually do. It’s strange, I’ve never felt more ready to return. I’m coming from a few quiet and relaxed weeks, so I’m taking that feeling with me. It’s nothing like when I first started backpacking. When I left Australia, I was eager to go home and woke up at 2 am without being able to go back to sleep. When I left Canada I was dying to escape from a horribly busy last week. When I left Barcelona, I was frantically trying to pack my last stuff at 4 am after 2h of sleep and my birthday party. When I left Japan, I felt as I had broken up with a country that I used to love so much and I didn’t know whether I had made the right decision after all.
Somehow on this trip, I felt composed.
It’s almost funny how returning ‘home’ can make you feel nothing and everything at all.
This has been another time when I left one country to return to my parents’ in Germany to finish one chapter and possibly start a new one.
In a way, nothing has changed. I’m always that whirlwind that speeds around the world, then rushes into the old family home to stir up all sorts of emotions, trying to regain its new path and then leaves again.
Every year and a half, my life turns upside down.
I return home.
I’m overwhelmed by all the space I have in my room, the number of clothes that by far succeed the capacity of a backpack.
I clear out old stuff from my room.
Stuff that I could have cleared out years ago but that I wasn’t ready to get rid of. Every time I am able to get rid of more.
I have to adapt to living with parents who are not used to having their child (which you will always be for them after all) with them.
I sit on the staircase or on the carpet next to the router, trying to get a wifi-connection that doesn’t break every 30 seconds.
I get annoyed by the horrible internet even on data out in town.
I head out to hit up my favorite coffee shops, bakeries and falafel places indulging on all these nostalgic treats.
I catch up with friends I haven’t seen in forever and not been in touch with for 2 years, but it still feels like yesterday that we last saw each other.
And I am overwhelmed by the lifestyle that I should know, but somehow have forgotten or suppressed.
I feel like a stranger, yet a local at the same time.
I forget my pin code for my bank card and have to pay 10 dollars every time I return to get a new one.
I get yet another new sim-card because my old one always seems to disappear between the years that I’m not using it.
I sit down in the car, wondering whether I still know how to drive, panic during the first ride and during the second feel like I never stopped driving.
I head out and about to rediscover the natural beauty of my home region.
I talk to people who don’t seem to want to know anything about what I’ve done but rather what I’m going to do next and who are giving me a look of ‘you don’t have your sh** together,’ and ‘when are you finally going to settle down’.
Others are asking me where my next destination will be. As if that’s to be expected. I can’t blame them.
I waver between euphoria about having realized and achieved yet another adventure and anxiety about starting all over again.
And then life always gives you a new opportunity – and another chapter will open, just as the last one had closed.
To be continued…