The Quiet Burden Of A Traveler
Traveling brings about some of the most unique and amazing experiences one could possibly have in life.
Despite all of the romanticism surrounding being a traveler, there’s one terribly heavy burden that travellers take on the moment they leave home to see the world: the fact that they’ll miss out on making memories back home.
While I was away in Asia for 2 years, I missed out on birthdays, holidays, weddings, births of new humans, and big milestones of my friends and family.
It never occurred to me that later after I had gone back home and settled into life once again that time didn’t cease just because I had been gone.
New friends had joined my usual social circle. Some of my relationships didn’t survive the years apart, and family members had to clue me in on the new traditions that had come about while I was gone. I felt oddly left out of the lives of people who were so important to me.
It was a strange feeling to think that time just went on without me at home while I was gone– and, yes, I know that it’s an incredibly selfish feeling, but I couldn’t help it.
I learned to deal with it, and after some time back home, I felt like time was finally moving with me again rather than against me at home.
Until just recently, that is.
A few days ago I had to put my very best friend, a chubby little dachshund, to sleep because of a disease. This was the guiltiest I have ever felt about being away from home for two years.
When I looked back on my 2 years abroad, during which my dog had to stay with my mom because I couldn’t take him to Asia, I felt awful. I lost out on those 2 precious years with him because I decided to get up and explore the world one day.
I felt selfish, guilty, angry, sad, and any other emotion under the sun that’s capable of knotting your stomach so tightly that you think you just might die.
How could I have just left him behind for 2 whole years when he never even left my side for a second when we were in the same house together?
How many memories did I miss out on creating with my best friend because I was gone?
Did he leave this world loving me just as much as before or a little less because I abandoned him for that time?
Days have passed, and the grief and guilt still hit me out of nowhere, but I’m learning to accept my choices. More than that, I’m trying to accept the fact that living my life to the fullest is what my pup would probably have wanted for me.
The day I came back home for good, he wagged his tail and jumped up and down, barking happily while slobbering kisses on my face. He had forgiven me immediately the second I came back home (or maybe he was never mad at me in the first place).
I’ve come to realize that the moments I missed out on, the memories I never made, and the time that passed without me wasn’t all for nothing. It was done to expand myself as a person.
I truly believe that I understand myself better now that I’ve traveled Click To Tweet, and as an effect, I’m capable of loving even deeper.
Holding my dog’s collar now, I hope that he was able to see and feel that I loved him even more than I thought I possibly could when I came back home from my travels.
Accepting all of the bad that comes with the good of traveling is something that must be learned, and it takes time. But I’m taking each step day by day.
This is just the burden of a traveler, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m grateful for the path I chose, and I know that those that love me understand that it was something I had to do to become a better, happier, and more loving person.
Is this a burden you are familiar with? Are you an expat that has reticently returned home? How are you finding being back? Let us know in the comments section below.