I’m four weeks into my US trip. Before I left Manila, every person I’d run into (whether friend, acquaintance, or former student) would ask: “Are you leaving for good?”
“Stop trying to get rid of me!” I’d reply.
This trip’s been very quiet. In the years before this, whenever I’d travel, I’d _really_ travel. There would be adventures. I remember running through Rome stuffing a pizza into my face because there was no time for lunch, oh my god, the bus was about to leave. I remember finding my way home past midnight in Barcelona, in a bus, pushed against equally tired, equally sweaty people. I remember (okay, maybe I don’t remember) drunken nights in Austin. Watching my favorite band in Singapore. Avoiding the flea market sellers in Istanbul. Being quiet in the temples of Bali. At five years old, I remember being lost in the hills of a large park in London. (They found me eventually.)
This trip, in comparison, has been quiet. Domestic. I live in the suburbs. I cook, and wash the dishes. I read a book over lunch. I do an hour of yoga on the kitchen floor, since it’s the only uncarpeted part of the house. I hug my nephew a lot. I get slobbered on by the dog a lot. I play board games. I eat at my favorite restaurants.
Today, I walked into my favorite nail salon in Redwood City. The girl at the counter took one look at me and said, “Hi! It’s you! Long time no see!” She remembered me after a year. I love them.
Life is good; life is quiet. It’s not that I no longer have adventures. (I went to Casual Connect Seattle this year, and got home at 830 in the morning one night. It was great. I’m not doing that again.) It’s just that I feel myself slowing down. Work is always so intense that at the end of the day, I no longer have a burning desire to go out and party. Not as often, anyway. I want to keep seeing the world, but slowly, with enough time to breathe. I see (and value) the importance of home. Here in Redwood City, it almost feels like home.
I’m also dealing with real-world concerns now. You know, things like “relationships”, and “career”, and “Homeland Security”. (They detained me for an hour when I arrived in the U.S. because I stayed five months out of my perfectly legal six-month visa last year. “Just because you can do that doesn’t mean you should,” they said. I got the message: “You’re not welcome here”.)
Since I won’t be coming back to the U.S. for a while, I’m wondering where else I can go. Definitely Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in 2012. Maybe Hong Kong. Japan is still interesting. Europe? I’ve always been a type-A planner, but everything’s so hazy at this point that I can’t tell you where I’ll be. Maybe I’ll just let the world carry me around this time. If I get lost, someone please come find me.