Finally my last blogstory! Not many photos, but a lot of reflection....
These fifteen months have passed like a few seconds. And it feels as if they were only a dream right now... And the nearly two months since my return home on 11th November 2012 have passed even faster.
So how is it to come home after such a long time, after so many countries travelled to and passed through?
After so many accumulated impressions?
What would you tell people who have never ever been on such a trip?
Can they really understand you?
Instead of a slow return by meeting friends one by one, I had decided to make a welcome-back-party just one day after my return to my beloved Vienna. It was a great night, and I was happy for everybody who showed up! It is good to see old friends again!
And I was really happy that the three girls I was each travelling with longest were all at the party:
Burma - she was just about to leave Vienna to France for a new life after her own long trip (all the best for you my dear!!)
Niku, with whom I was travelling in China in 2011 and in Iran one year later, came for the weekend; like Lise, with whom I had been discovering the magic of Central Asia.
So, how about meeting friends and people back in Vienna?!
Generally, I was suprised first of all about the amount of people, who had been following my blog thouroughly over the whole time. Because many of the people who did I wouldn't call close friends. Their interest really touched and honoured me! (And whoever has read my blog at least a bit, knows that I do have a tendency to really long stories... )
So: thank you guys! You make me convinced now that all these hours spent writing and editing this blog have not been worthless at all!
Furthermore it was really surprising to observe, who was really interested in hearing stories of my trip and my views on different countries and people, and who was already satisfied after a few sentences. Don't get me wrong: it is completely fine for me, if some friends did not want to spend hours just talking about every single detail of my trip. One of the reasons I wrote my blog is to avoid telling the same stories over and over again anyways... But it was simply interesting to see which questions had been asked and by whom. And who in the end did not ask any questions or showed any interest in how I have spend my last 15 months...
In fact, I can understand that many people simply didn't know, what to ask. I was quite happy that many were aware of the fact that the question "Where did you like it best?" was not really appropriate (however, still many were not aware of this fact, so after two month this question definitely is on place 1 in the ranking of "questions asked").
But no wonder that I felt best understood by people, who had already been travelling for a longer period by themselves. And for those few moments, when I feel really not understood at all, I now have all the many friends spread around the world I could talk to!
But you still don't know, how it was for me to come back, right?!
After all, I must say that I was quite well prepared for the coming-back-shock. It turned out not to be a shock at all... I never ever expected Vienna to have changed at all, and surprise surprise: good old Vienna is still good old Vienna :)
I was going through different phases since my return. First I felt as if I had never been away. I was back to reality amazingly fast:
I came back to my parents place and stayed there for a few days - it was as if I had just come home for one of the usual few-days-visits. And back in Vienna my life was even more like it had been before; changes occurred only in its details: I used to study, and beside it I was working in a pub as a waitress; I lived in a flat together with a flatmate and tried to meet up with my friends as often as possible in my freetime.
Immediately after my return I had to study for a big exam; since then I am working as a waitress - in another bar though; I am living in the flat of and together with my aunt, and I am still meeting up with my friends as often as possible in my freetime.
Same same, but different, right?!
What?! You never heard of Idefix??? Oh dear - here you can see and enjoy his trip!
First I was quite happy about that. Too big had been my fear of falling into a deep black hole after my trip; questioning myself of the sense of being here or wanting to travel again immediately. I am quite happy that this didn't occur.
But with the time I started to feel rather empty regarding my trip. It was the questions people asked that made me more and more aware of this. Whereas in the beginning they had asked about the trip itself, they asked me later on, if it wasn't weird for me to be back after such a long time. And even me I found myself amazingly boring when answering them: "Well, nope. I do feel completely fine being back and no, at the moment I don't have the immediate need of travelling for such a long time again. One day for sure I want to travel again, and definitely for a few months. But right now, I do feel fine being back home."
But the more I got asked this question the more I asked myself, if this trip had changed anything within me and with my life-style at all?! I mean, it can't be that I am comig back after fifteen amazing months and am living exactly the same life I used to live before, right?
A quite important question at the moment - also asked by many people - is of course: what comes next?! And even those who ask are not suprised when I tell them that I don't know it yet.
Luckily enough I am not freaking out completely by the fact that I do not know at all what is coming next. And that I don't have any goals I am working for at the moment. I used to feel really depressed when lacking a goal or a sense in what I am doing - do you know that feeling?
But right now, I am really confident that whatever comes will be fine. There is always something worth working for, and sooner or later I will find out what it shall be in my case at this very period of my life.
So, hooray, definitely a change in my mentality thanks to my trip!!
When travelling, you don't have these doubts. Everything is really easy: the goal is the journey itself. In terms of justification (mainly before yourself) I therefore find it much more difficult to have a stable and settled life, than to travel. So, surely I am thinking about travelling. Or even about starting a new life somewhere else but Vienna, or Austria, or Europe as a whole...
Shortly after my return Rindo has sent me a link to a really great story on reddit about the thrill of "getting out". The story itself reflects the deep wish of escaping the "boring" reality of house, job and wife. Of all these "boring" responsibilities.
But what is even more interesting is the first comment to this story, and the mentionned "curse of a traveller", which can be shortly explained as: the more different places you've seen and enjoyed, the least you are happy in one place. Because no place is perfect, there is always something, which was better in another place you've already been to. Which is why in the end travellers will always continue to search for "the perfect place", and will be less likely to find it the more they travel...
A dear friend of mine, who has been away from home - travelling and working abroad - for more than two years, wrote me in a really touching email about her feelings to be back home:
"I look at my return home as my attempt to break it [the curse of the traveler, author's note], to get over it and take steps towards making a more settled life for myself, but I am finding it exceptionally hard. I cant help thinking that I dont want to break it either. My heart is not really in this. I think it is worse because I live in a place which is so quiet, my friends and life I had here years ago is gone (moved to cities or settled down mostly) so I have no social life and I absolutely hate my job. I get paid to do nothing really but sit in a cubicle for 8 hours and check a few boxes of pills. It isn't permanent I am planning to move to London or another city to find a job that interests and challenges me. But I haven't done this yet because there is a part of me which doesn't want to commit to it. I don't want to settle down and tie myself to financial responsibilities. I don't want to confirm that I am not going travelling again."
But right now these moments pass rather fast. I will be travelling again, for sure, but not straight away. And of course my financial situation doesn't allow me to travel immediately.
| translation into English |
Her story remembered me a lot about the story of an English woman I got to know on Fiji: she moved to New Zealand when she was quite young and by the time I met her she had been living on a sailing boat since twelve years, with her husband and two kids (who were younger than twelve, which means that they had been living their entire life on the boat). They did not have any "home" other than their boat, which could go anywhere the sea would let them.
But the story of this Austrian woman also remembered me of the book "Weltreise" (worldtrip) by Dieter Kreutzkamp. I have read this book last year in China, where I had found it on a book-swapping-shelve. His book had inspired me to a lot and added a few destinations and types of travelling to my list.
However, one thing that both have in common: they point out how important their partner is in their life-concept as nomads. I could imagine living a life like them, always on the road, not staying anywhere for too long. But like them, I wouldn't want to do it alone.
I really enjoyed my trip alone, I met many interesting and inspiring people. I can easily imagine travelling again for such a long period of time by myself. But there is a difference between travelling for a period of time, even if it is a long time like my trip was, and between living on the road. Because one thing I was sure about at all times during my trip: that I'd return home...
**Trendy rock-climbing trousers
An Austrian Woman in New Zealand - Dagmar Lindner, 41, Nomad
I don't define myself through my job. Ask an Austrian person, what he's doing, and he will talk about his job. A New Zealander would answer this question by talking about his passions. In my case these are mountains and the water. Rock climbing. Ski-touring. Sailing. As I am continiously trying to reduce my belongings, I like things, which are useful in many situations. Rock-climbing trousers, for instance, which do look good in a disco too. This reduces the amount of things, which one has to carry around all the time.
I got to know my partner on a 4-month trip through South-East-Asia ten years ago. Eight months later I resigned from my job, moved out of my flat and left my my Viennese life, thouroughly packed into twelve boxes, behind myself. With a one-way-ticket I flew to India. In some places we are staying for longer periods of time. But it is always planned to move on. We are working six to eight months per year, the rest of the time we are living. Not owning too much is my richness. One day, on a visit back to Vienna, I got my boxes from the cellar: concerning three boxes I could say, what was inside. The content of the remaining boxes had become unfamiliar to me, so I gave it away.
In the beginning the letting-go had been difficult for me. Now, I do feel relieved about it. I am convinced that you don't need much for a good life. Now we are planning to buy a sailing boat. Let's see where the wind will blow us to.
Dagmar Lindner from Vienna lives in Lyttelton. Always in movement is the motto of her life.