Total Immersion Tourism

11 Dec

This weekend marked the first anniversary of our leaving on our great voyage and I thought I needed to write something. Not as a couple but as me, Kimble.

I don’t think my feelings post trip have really been expressed. I think Priscill and I share a common set of feelings we don’t need to share, they go without saying but I need to document something.

The Return

While we were away I started experiencing a disconnection towards the end. I don’t know whether what I had was depression, sick of traveling or just plain homesickness but I had had enough. Even the magical cities of Paris and London had lost their shine.

Getting back home was great, for about ten seconds, until we all collapsed into a jet lagged, virally infected stupor which we didn’t recover from for almost a month. Once we were better we visited friends, ate food we missed, visited places we loved and things were wonderful. For a couple of weeks. Then reality kicked in again and we started trying to piece our old life back together. Problem was we couldn’t. Pris went back to work for her old employer which gave her some sort of semblence of normality but apart from that we couldn’t have our old place back and I couldn’t have my old job back. Not that I wanted it but the reality of our world changing forever was sinking in.

I wasn’t ready for an office job yet so set off to make the game I was working on available on more devices. The problem was, I also had to look after a two year old. The two did not mix but I spent almost three months fighting the fact only to cause myself untold dispair.

Finally I gave up and decided to look for work. The problem was that work didn’t want to come to me and I, still in denial didn’t really want to go find it. Eventually I took the initiative and landed a job very quickly. Still there as of writing this.

Itchy Feet

I am not settling into the routine of normal life very well despite being back just over six months now. I dream of the USA and Portugal every day. Perhaps glorifying it in my head like the refugee who ran away from a violent country dreams of what his homeland should be like.

We have our second daughter coming in two weeks and I want to run away to South America. I need to remind myself of how straining uprooting your life is.

Lessons Learnt

It is hard to put your life together when you so disconnect yourself from it. We and especially I, made the mistake of trying to totally cut off all attachments and even relationships to an extent when we could have saved a few. That damage is irreversible. I still feel a little lost because of it. I think before we do it again we will buy a home. It will be our base to come back to, you can always rent it off when you leave.

You can’t travel forever. Eventually you’ll start to feel homesick. Only those with truly no family, friends or attachments will avoid this. I have yet to meet such a person.

Man must work. Well Kimble must anyway. I understand some can manage to never work but I was built for the fight, to create things, it gives you purpose. Even though I was working while away it always felt like my hobby not my occupation. Make sure you have something that generates an income and feels like a responsibility if you are the type that needs purpose. Traveling itself becomes purposeless after a while. You need to tell yourself “I am working to support my travel”.

The most important lesson of all though is that we learnt that to truly experience a holiday you need to drown yourself in it, you need …

Total Immersion

Paris is not just the Eiffel tower, the Moulin Rouge and some stinky cheese. It’s living in a cramped apartment, hauling shopping up three storeys of stairs, cooking haute cusine not paying 200 euros for it in a snooty restaurant. It’s the suburbs, the markets, the people yelling at you because your French sucks.

Lisbon is more than Fado and St George castle. It’s fish fresh from the markets. More ways to prepare bacalhau than there are days in the year and more hauling shopping bags up three storeys of stairs but after you’ve walked 5 km up a steep hill with them. It’s realising you can’t just go to the shopping centre for that battery you need, it’s going from shop to shop being told to try Da Silva the instrument maker up the road who then says Henrique who owns the camera shop round the corner might have some.

Total immersion is living in a city like the locals do, eating as the locals do and attempting to communicate with the locals. It is an amazing thing and it sure scrubs all the golden shine off a place like Paris but you learn to appreciate places like never before. You’ll also be the ultimate guide for anyone wanting to visit. However, all your friends who did the whirlwind tour so many Aussies and Yanks do will be steamingly jealous.

The only problem you may find is that instead of trying somewhere new you may just find yourself going back time and time again. A short holiday somewhere new just never seeming as exciting as going back and immersing yourself again. Even if it’s just for a week.

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