Traveling is trippy, no pun intended. If love is like heroin, then travel is something like acid. Still a drug, but less destructive.
Why? Well, there’s the obvious — it’s addictive, in a way. The feeling that comes with exploring new grounds, meeting new people, and discovering a different culture is kind of like a high.
Also, time changes when you’re traveling, and I’m not talking about time zones.
It took until my most recent trip through Europe to realize the difference between how the passage of time feels for people back home, versus how it feels for the traveler.
When I lived in Spain last year, I hadn’t picked up on it yet. I didn’t realize how much slower everything felt for me. When I came home, I realized that most people felt like I’d barely been gone, like that nine months had flown by.
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It makes perfect sense, though. When you’re off traveling, you’re much more conscious of time. You’re trying to make every moment count. Even in a situation where you’re abroad for months like I was, you still know that it’s limited. There’s an ominous end on the horizon.
As the traveler, you’re doing so much more. You’re not simply zoning out, pressing autopilot like Adam Sandler did in “Click”. I noticed that when I came back home, I was instinctively pressing that button a lot.
It’s a trippy feeling, fully processing how truly different time can feel. A month abroad, searching, trekking, and learning can feel like a lifetime. You can come back feeling like you’re a totally different person, but then you realize everything and everyone at home is exactly the same — except when they aren’t. And that’s when it gets even trippier.
A lot can also happen in a month, or nine. People meet people. They get into relationships. They move. They get pregnant, and they get engaged (not necessarily in that order). Kids grow up. They start to talk, crawl, walk…they play on soccer teams and have birthdays. Family members get sick. They pass away.
All the above actually happened while I was living in Spain, but it happens to everyone — it’s life. It puts an aching feeling in my heart…