Hey guys, guess where I am!
I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaackkkkkkkkkk! Surprise! After the farm, I intended to head down to South India, but the farm I had chosen didn't have space for another volunteer. When faced with the prospect of donning my pack and starting the "backpacker" life again, I came to the realization that, man, I was just tired. So, I booked a ticket to 'Murica, showed up in Palatine one day and asked my (shocked) parents nicely if I could crash ^here^ for awhile.
[Thanks to some clever fibbing on the part of my father, I have retained my old phone number. If you still have that... call me maybe?]
I only saw a small part of India, but I have no regrets about that. It just means I'll have to go back... which I intend to do. For now, though, my adventure continues here in Palatine, Illinois (seatbelts, and smart phones, and clean tap water, oh my!).
I have learned a great deal in the last 3 years. And once again, I find myself faced with the task of summing it all up. But how to sum up, in one nice neat little package, everything I have learned in 3 years and in 9 countries?
I have seen a lot, no doubt. And seen some pretty wicked awesome stuff. And though it took me a while to figure this out, I have learned that I don’t like "travelling" all that much. My favorite places on my trip (Dariganga, Ben Tre, Huayxai, Dharamshala) are the ones where I made the most meaningful relationships, the places I lived. And maybe in 10 years, I won’t remember the name of the mountain I climbed in Ha Long Bay, but I will never ever forget my 6 am work-out with all the ladies of Ben Tre. I might not remember which ruin I was in when that damn monkey stole my sunglasses, but I will never forget the birthday party the beautiful people at Project Kajsiab threw for me. And I might forget the Mongolian word for cow dung, but I couldn’t ever forget the moment when my counterpart, Zolaa, after months of dedicated studying, earned herself 5th place on the Olympic exams, up from 25th the year before. This is why you travel.
Each one of those people and countless others were the ones that made my trip the experience of a lifetime (though I hesitate saying that because another very important lesson I learned from fellow travellers is that you are never too old, too busy, or too broke to travel... my journey is just beginning...). The world is full of beautiful people.
So, I write now, the last post on this blog (RIP mongolia820), to say that this trip has been amazing. Amazing, challenging, life-changing, frustrating, perfect… impossible to sum up in a handful of adjectives. To EVERYONE I knew on this trip, whether it was for 2 years or 2 minutes, I say,
Until we meet again...