Unseen

People ask what it is like.

“It must be amazing.”

“It must be so cool to experience the culture.”

“It must be so fun.”

“It must be so beautiful.”

All these things are true. All the things that can’t be captured in a picture or explained in words are also true. There are things that most don’t think of when they see you on the go.

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It is like not knowing what day or time it is. 

It is like squatting in an airport for 24 hours.

It is like eating half a bag of crisps for dinner. 

It is like laying down and closing your eyes and opening them to find you are barricaded into the arrivals section of the airport. (why didn’t they ask you to move? That was really awkward…)

It is like nearly barfing on the bus sometimes.

It is like definitely barfing on the plane next to a stranger.

It is like walking around the fellow travelers puke and having nothing but sympathy because you know he is probably at least a day away from a shower too. 

It is like being so tired you become a legit rebel and don’t wear your seatbelt on the bus not caring if the foreign man yells at you. 

(Going extreme)

It is like loving it one minute and thinking you’re a complete idiot the next.

It is like traveling 3 hours by motorcycle, 2 hrs by train, 2hrs by bus, 9 hrs by plane…in 48 hrs. 

It is like crossing through 3 countries, 3 time zones, 2 continents, and 2 customs…in 48 hours.

It is like drugging yourself with AdvilPM so you can sleep. 

It is like not knowing what the last time you slept was because despite being drugged and tired seating on a plane made sleeping impossible.

It is washing your face, putting comfortable clothes on, sleeping, waking up, getting dressed, putting makeup on, changing again, taking off makeup, sleeping, waking up, changing, and putting makeup back on all in one airport stop.

It is trying to give your body some sense of normality in the midst of confusion. 

It is trying to comprehend why some countries are still light out until 12am. 

It is having an American sunset run over into an Iceland sunrise.

It is learning to balance 4 bank accounts, transfer currency, navigate 6 currencies, work with customer service when things get confusing, juggle 3 SIM cards and phone plans on two continents, trek through over 19 airports, balance 4 ID’s and multiple copies of important documents, knowing who you are (literally, from what your limits are to a SSN), learning how much cash to carry in the event of an emergency but not too much or you will lose money in currency exchange, how to run your life from thousands of miles away from home but also to ensure if there is anything you can’t do mobile you have done all the paperwork to give others the power to take actions on your behalf, sleeping in toilet stalls, to act like you at least remotely know what you’re doing, to be okay with unpredictability.

It is learning to survive when you’re uncomfortable and embrace when you are comfortable. 

It is taking approximately 55 flights and traveling by tuk-tuk, train, car, truck, bike, foot, motorcycle, boat, bullet train, uber, taxi, bus, tram, and other means that you are not even sure of names. 

It is saying goodbyes that never get easier. 

It is being away for weddings, birthdays, graduations, and births.

It is spending your favorite holiday without your family.

It is hoping that goodbye is never really goodbye but making sure you leave things at a place that if it were, you wouldn’t have regrets. 

It is tearful phone calls home. 

It is waking up with a drop in your heart because you forgot home is far now.

It is holding your tongue when people underestimate your love for where you came from or your upbringing. 

It is loving others through cultural differences. 

It is learning patience and keeping your cool when customs doesn’t do their job well so you miss your bus. 

It is always feeling like you’ve forgotten something but being comfortable with the feeling because if you’ve learned anything it’s that life goes on.

It is being an introvert who has to balance making the most out of time and not going crazy. 

It is having an insanely amazing support system that pushes you forward. 

It is inspiring sometimes.

It is heartbreaking sometimes. 

It is being blessed beyond measure, stretched beyond belief, and it appears it is being taught things the way the Lord teaches me.

That’s what it is like. That’s what it is. That is the nomad life. 

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