Transitioning is a multi-faceted process

I like to believe my transition home, to California, was relatively smooth and easy but I think I’m just forgetting the difficulties. I was restless after 2 weeks back home so I did what I knew best after 9 months vagabonding in Africa- Travel. I flew to Vancouver to visit a great aunt and had a great time until I arrived in Seattle and stayed with couch surfers who were only semi-hospitable about having me stay. It was a pivoting point for me knowing as much as I love being on the road, the difficulties of being in new places (not knowing anyone, figuring out transport, where to go etc), isn’t worth the effort when I’m burnt out.

Five months later I feel adjusted being home but am I? I’m looking the job market dead in the eye. I didn’t think too much of it a few months ago, assuming when I felt ready I’d apply to a few interesting places and Ta-Da, I’d land a nice job. My fantasy of job searching has yet to manifest in everyday life in this downturn economy. “Remotely interesting” has become my minimal criteria for applying but it’s forced me to think beyond my intentions- moving to San Francisco, having roommates and having a decently paid job in a beautiful city.

On the road, I witnessed variations of off the beaten path opportunities and I embraced it fully. Until I returned home. The freedom and the lifestyle I love by being on the road seems to be lost o me and I’ve temporarily forgotten my own philosophy- “defying convention.” I’ve taken on traditional ways of living and earning an income but secretly know there are alternatives, many I’d be apt to try.

I’ve had the dream of volunteering on a farm, since my return but I keep pushing the idea to the far corners of my mind. WWOOF is the perfect network to work on a farm with room and board in exchange, but I’m assuming fluffing the bank account is a smarter decision so I have freedom when an opportunity or idea strikes. What I really hoped for was to work on a sustainable lodge in California similar to a place I stayed for a week in South Africa- Bulungula lodge . My google searches haven’t proven successful but I have stumbled across farm apprenticeships and the more I contemplate, the more it seems a perfect fit. Yet I’ve initially denied my thoughts thinking any job without a 30+ hr work week was not allowed. But by whose standards?

The economy in shambles may just be a very blessing for me. The lack of career opportunities is allowing me to follow my heart rather than having family and societal ideas influence what I think I SHOULD do.

Transitioning home is more than getting used to big shopping malls and grocery stores with every item imaginable, it’s also about remembering all that you learn on the road and following your intuition.

For all of you, who’ve taken off on a big trip and returned home, I wonder: How was your transition? How long before you started looking for a job? got a job? How did you deal with the should’s vs. the wants? Have you put your travels behind you or on hold? Or are you doing something related to or inspired by your travels?


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