Trip Start May 22, 2009
197Trip End Feb 16, 2010
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I am happy to be going back, and seeing family and friends will be wonderful after such a long absence. But I will miss being in the unfamiliar and planning new adventures everyday. Seeing places I've only ever read about in school or seen on documentaries...
Perhaps I need an attitude adjustment. Instead of seeing this as the end of one adventure, it should be the beginning of another. Here we are, starting again with no attachments! We get to choose new occupations, a new place to live, and new people to meet. Not often do you get to start over in your mid 30’s like this. I should be revitalized!
But I’m not quite there yet…Right now I’m just sitting, waiting for our connecting flight, thinking about the nothingness I feel.
Pictures from the last 8 months flicker over my computer screen and I think: ‘Wow! We actually did it’ and I’m so pleased with where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. The TV screens behind me shows images of the latest fashion show and I think: ‘How foolish can you get?’ and I dread the place where I’m heading.
What do you do when you’re not particularly content with your own culture? To disagree with many of the policies and values that are upheld there? To desire to be removed from it all? What am I doing? How am I going to get through this? I've heard about travelers going through culture shock for their own culture, but I'm not quite ready to deal with it myself.
Funny how I'm fearing this place called Canada, when I've never felt so Canadian in all my life. When you live in a place all your life it's simply home and you don't think about what it means too much. What culture? What accent? It's just normalcy. But when you travel, everything is different all the time and you're constantly comparing everything you see with what you know from 'home'. Everyday you declare yourself as Canadian to those around you. You meet other travelers from other countries and start to compare yourself to them and what it actually means to be a Canadian. You start to hear differences in accents that you never noticed before, and take pride in some cultural differences that set you apart.
Boarding the plane to Toronto I'm surrounded by fellow Canadians for the first time in 8 months. After spending the last 3 months in countries where I can do a quick scan of a crowd and immediately spot Brian or any other foreigner (looking for the paler skin and hair in a sea of dark), this is a shock. I'm now surrounded by people who have the physical appearances of at least a dozen cultures from around the world. All are speaking English again and I revel in the ability to eavesdrop on conversations going on around me. Seeing all of these different cultures around me makes my heart swell with pride. I can travel all over the world and find many great places to visit, but my home is one that is sought out by many of those cultures around the world as a place to call home.
I am Canadian.