I remember the first
time I put on my full pack. Man, the thing was heavy. Walking with
it was awkward and I felt like I was carrying the weight of another
person. There were things in that bag I knew I shouldn't have packed
(sleeping bag) and things missing I should have (rain coat, proper
toiletries bag). I couldn't tell what was going on behind me as I
walked through busy Penn Station in New York and I had to take care
not to hit anyone when I turned. I was so nervous about what was
ahead of me, being on an around-the-world backpacking trip starting
in Ireland and ending ?? But I was anxious and ready to go.
Today, 2 years later I
slip on my pack and it fits me like a glove. It's been awhile since
we have been together, and I can't help but think “hello, old
friend”. A certain thrill runs through my blood that I haven't
felt in a long time. My attempts to wash the dirt and smells off it
have long failed. I see the brown spots and think of it being shoved
under benches in Chinese and Russian trains. I smell the flowery
odor of my conditioner in the top pocket where my toiletries burst
open more times than I would like. I smell...well I am not sure what
you want to call it....muskiness? The bag has been on 13 planes,
about 10 trains and a few boats and buses. I don't think the smell
is going away anytime soon, so why bother? I touch the fabric and
think of the time I had to hold it in my lap on a cramped 4 hour bus
ride through southern China. My knees started to go numb after a bit.
I should get a new bag really, but I won't. We will be together
until it dies, because I am just too loyal to something that never
gave up on me.
I am going home. For a
holiday. Then I am coming back to New Zealand where I currently
live. Just as I didn't know how long I would be when I initially
left, I am not sure how long it will be when I leave again. It's
bizarre, that I am going home for just a visit. I haven't seen my
family and friends in 2 years and now it will be for just a tiny few
I sit in my bedroom and
finger the few American notes I currently have. They feel familiar
and yet foreign to me at the same time. I guess the same can be said
for how I feel about home. At first I was so excited but as the trip
draws near I am nervous. What are people going to think of me? Do
people still think of me the same way as when I left? I start to
feel badly about the people I lost touch with. I am really not the
same person as when I left- neither mentally or physically. In some
ways I am better and some ways I am worse. I left home because I was
lost. But to be honest, I feel no more found as when I left, perhaps
I am even more lost. I am nervous about what I will think of home.
Will I not want to leave again? Will I regret any choices that I
Living abroad can be a
hard choice, particularly if you live on the other side of the globe.
After awhile you get used to missing all the events at home. But
you have this comforting feeling that everyone is still there,
looking forward to seeing you. It's a scary thought that perhaps
people have moved on and have perhaps given up on you.
Bottom line, it feels
good to get that pack on again. It's been far too long.