You thought I was gone didn't you? You thought that even though I explicitly titled my last blog 'This Is Not My Last Blog Post' that I'd forget to continue writing after my travels and just let the blog fall by the wayside as I readjust to normal life. Well, don't worry. I'm not home yet. In fact I have about 6 last days (as of today) in Lima after all the backpacking. That's six whole days to reflect, pray, and catch up on Netflix. It's a great chance to write too. So, since I have next to nothing planned for the next six days expect 6 last blog posts. That's my goal.
I took a month to travel partly because I wanted to and partly because I thought some time in between my YAV year and going home might help me readjust. Maybe there would be time to process it all. Except I was traveling so there wasn't really time to process it all. Just enough time to take a picture and look at it later. Now that I'm on the home stretch I'm a whole jumble of emotions.
I'm excited to finally be home. The completion of a moment I've been waiting several months for. I'm sad to leave Peru behind me. I call this country my home and I feel a bit like I'm leaving family and friends behind even as I return to my family and friends. I'm anxious. America is a divided country. Especially now. Nobody comes back from a YAV year and doesn't have a polarizing opinion or two. Recently though I've been feeling nervous. Nervous for many things. I'm nervous to go home and answer the same questions over and over again. I'm nervous people will stop listening to me since all I can ever say is 'well when I was in Peru...' I'm nervous that some of the things I enjoyed back home won't carry the same satisfaction it used to. I'm mostly worried that when I get home, who I am (and I have changed over this last year significantly) will change my relationships with the people I treasure. I don't want to lose a friend but I can't rationally ignore a dissonance I feel for the sake of a friendship.
Granted it's unlikely to happen since my closest friends and I get along well. We agree on a great many things, but it's safe to say a YAV year changes everything. I guess really I should be excited since that means there will be whole new elements to my relationships to explore and discover.
I took a break between home and YAV so I could see my YAV year from a third person point of view. A warm up act to living back home you might say. Here are some highlights of what I saw:
- It sounds easy but it's not. My YAV year pushed me and challenged me in literally every way humanly possible. On paper it sounds professional. Out loud it sounds relaxing. Don't mistake either of those for what it really was (and what I intended it to be) incredibly hard.
- I've been gone from home for a year. It's a lot for any human to handle. I thought I would handle it better than most but I had plenty of days where I didn't want to get out of bed because then I couldn't day dream of being home.
- yes. I actually went into the rainforest. I hiked long trails, slept in hammocks, and ate local banana-leaf wrapped fish. It was an adventure at times!
- It was also a lot of office work. I learned a lot about just working a 9-5 and seeing what it takes.
- Climate change is real and we have to do something about it. We don't have a choice.
- even if you don't believe climate change is real you have to admit we should institute safer environmental protection laws. We can NOT be dumping waste back on to our world. That's equal parts ignorance and sloth.
- I didn't make a huge change on the large scale but on the small scale among my family, the children, and tribes I met.... I feel like I changed the world.
Yes these are all a few things I picked up along the way. Would I do it over again if I had to? Absolutely.