By Sarah Hochberg
Getting back into the day-to-day monotony has been particularly difficult this semester. Part of it could be the delayed start, dispelling that lovely cushion of syllabus week where there is more the illusion of productivity than actually getting stuff done. But, at least for me, most of the difficult transition comes from the fact that coming back from abroad is definitely harder than I would have expected.
It’s weird transitioning from travel to my ‘real’ life. And travel definitely did not feel like my real life. It was amazing and mind-blowing and a whirlwind of crazy chances; definitely not words I would use to describe my Goucher life. My last month in Australia was definitely a highlight of my college career, if not my whole twenties. The school program I had attended wrapped up, so I spent a month traveling up and down the east coast of Australia, exploring different cities and seeing the sights. It was marvelous. I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, explored rainforests of all climates, climbed mountains in New Zealand, and spent more time on beaches than I did inside homes. It was absolute perfection.
However, what goes up must come down. When such an amazing time ends, how do you adapt to monotony? Such an adventurous time isn’t sustainable – I didn’t work at all and lived off savings. I wasn’t focused on any of the long term goals I have for myself and missed a lot of the benefits of an average life – having a constant source of food and the same bed every night, for one. So the need to remain in one place for at least a week at a time emerged, but it’s been hard. I find it difficult to care about studies and my long-term goals when every moment I want to be back in Australia. I’ve always disliked the winter, but it’s now become a visceral hatred when I know how much better my life could be.
I’ve tried brainstorming solutions. I’ve adapted somewhat by trying to bury myself in “American-ness,” i.e., the things I’ve missed most from home that I did not have in Australia. Cheese fries. Cheap alcohol. Fast internet. Most of all, calling my mom and loved ones without planning for the 14-hour time difference. This definitely isn’t the end of my traveling excursions, and once I’ve given my wallet a bit of a rest, I’m looking into different trips I could take. I’ve looked into moving to California for grad school, so at least I’d have a steady supply of the sun I miss so dearly. I’m trying to re-acclimate to America, with mixed results. To the well-traveled mind, home is but the next adventure.