3 years, 3 months and 3 days. That was the length of my incredible trip. Yes, I can apply all the superlatives without hesitation. The adventure of a lifetime. A life-changing experience. An incredible learning opportunity. All of this is true.
Is there life after the trip?
People often tell me that the adjustment after such a journey must be really hard. I didn’t feel this way. Even for a free spirit, being on the road for three years makes you appreciate some stability. I couldn’t possibly describe what a joy it is not to have to pack your bag yet again after a couple of days in your apartment.
I also grew to miss work. Surprising as it may sound, work is a source of meaning. I could have continued travelling as there was no immediate financial pressure to return. But I felt like it was time.
How to summarise this trip? 70 countries, 5 continents, a full circle around the world and then some. Slept in innumerable hotel, hostel, apartment, B&B, AirBnB beds, took a ridiculous number of planes, buses, ships, and trains, met an endless variety of people. So many events have taken place, it feels like a whole lifetime of experiences. Those who know me won’t be surprised – I of course kept a list of all the decisively new experiences that I tried. It goes from sky diving to a meditation course, though some items cannot be disclosed. By the end of the trip, there were at least 58 positions.
There are two major changes. Work feels different. And travel feels different.
Once you’ve been to so many places, and not just “been”, but spent quite a while in them, a month here, several months there, every place feels like home. And no place feels like home. I am never lost or awed or even really disoriented anywhere. And yet I don’t feel a particular attachment to any place.
The work on the other hand feels a lot more rewarding. This is what I keep repeating to my director – work is a reward. In the past it felt like a duty. Now it feels like an opportunity to apply myself. Quite a difference. Also the nature of my work has changed, and I feel lucky about it.
And nobody said I have to stop travelling! For example, this year I’ve already spent time travelling in…
US Deep South,
South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho,
Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan,
not even mentioning minor trips like a weekend here and there!
I am writing this in sunny Bern, the capital of the Swiss Confederation. What a great place to be!