I’m 2 ft away from the ocean. The tide is coming in and with each wave breaking on the shores, the water laps closer and closer to my lounger. A woman with a tray of pineapple and mangos on her head just walked by. Two local Khmer boys are playing in the surf.
It’s all pretty idyllic. A photo is attached of the little girl who sat with me for about a half hour trying to sell her bracelets. She looks how I feel, okay I still have a small smile on my face (it’s not so bad). If they’re not selling bracelets the girls rub my legs observing that I haven’t shaved in a couple days and offer to “thread” the hair off. It’s like plucking each hair, only more efficiently done with a tightly wound string. Hard to describe or envision until you see it. Yes it hurts, but only a little.
I’ve been on the roads nearly 9 months and all of a sudden that realization has gripped me with some emotional response I can’t pinpoint. I don’t think I’m homesick (where is home these days anyway?), I don’t believe it’s boredom or loneliness… I’m kind of at a loss to describe it. Maybe it’s travel fatigue, fatigue from all the constant new information and decisions. Tired of the price haggling and tight budget keeping. Temples run together, island hopping has lost some of its appeal, long bus journeys see, more grueling than adventurous. What’s a girl to do?
I’m pretty satisfied with the notion of loafing around the beach for a little while (it’s comfortable and well, beachy) but then what? I think it’s that “then what” question that’s creeping into my psyche. Along with it are the sister questions “what to do now” and “where to go next?” More guidebooks to consult, travel websites and blogs to check out.
Me thinks that these travel doldrums are a symptom that its time to be somewhere again. Time to stop, unpack the bags a bit and invest (however transiently) in a place and its people. Find a community… Or are they signs to keep moving? Find some new and exciting piece of horizon just over the next horizon?
I’d like to crowd source some wisdom here: What are your most difficult times traveling? When did you feel ready to pack the bags once and for all and get that giant plane back to familiar territory? What drove you to where you are now: loneliness, physical beauty of a place, new friends? What keeps you traveling onward and keeps the adventures fresh and appealing?