She woke with the strange thought that where she lay was not her bed, and what she woke to was not her life. She had to convince herself to peel away her covers and face the music that was reality, despite being fully awake, just in denial that this is what she woke to and the life she had returned to. When she had left, she had convinced herself that it was not too bad and that she was making the best of the situation that had been handed to her. But upon returning, she wondered why she had ever compromised in the first place – there were so many options for her in this world. She could be teaching English in China or Thailand, or draining the rest of her savings while touring south-east Asia. She could be hopping from hostel to hostel, working to earn her room and board and being satisfied with such menial wages. She could be filling her mind with the wonders and people of the world, but instead she had returned to responsibility and reasonable expectations. She remembered that she had a job that had her signed into a contract until July, and she had student loans that needed to be paid off. She remembered that she had people who counted on her and family that broke her heart to be separated from. She had medical prescriptions that could not be fulfilled abroad, and she would not last long without. Her home had a rational hold on her that she fought to break away from every day, as it felt more like a choke hold on her spirit rather than a hand of reason and comfort on her shoulder. Her ties stabilized her but also stifled the spirit that took her around the world and fed the hunger her eyes felt to see new sights and take in new scenery every day. She had revived her addiction to the irrational and unstable lifestyle that is a traveller’s reality, and the post travelling withdrawal was almost too much for her to handle now – it took all the willpower she had not to cry upon placing her foot back across the familiar threshold that she had left behind a month ago.
To be fair, the life she knew was not one filled with tragedy or daily struggle, and she could comfortably feed herself every day. She was not homeless or on the brink of it, and was surrounded by a group of reliable people who she could call friends. She had collected a variety of luxuries such as heated blankets, beauty products, and intoxicants – but she could be convinced to trade all this in in an instant if it meant that she could be back on a plane tomorrow, owning nothing more than what she could carry on her own back. Although her bed was comfortable, expansive, and incredibly soft, she would rather spend a thousand nights on the straw mat back in the village in China and not feel the need to snooze her alarm twenty times before having to mentally convince herself that it was necessary to get out of bed and face her day. She would sacrifice comfort and sleep for the excitement of waking up to new landscapes and ideas. She would trade in seeing familiar faces for the challenge of finding a new friend every day. She wanted to overdose on new experiences rather than be able to predict and rely upon the plans that she had tomorrow. The reliability and familiarity were suffocating, and it took all of her self-control not to scream in panic as time proceeded and she was expected to return from her vacation and be satisfied with the life she had left behind.
She knew she had to change her reality. She had to escape from the trap that she had set for herself. She had to find a new way to live. It was only up to her to change, and it was within her power, if she did not allow her vision to be blurred by intoxicants and compromise. She could not compromise on the standards that she needed to be happy, and she could not ignore the facts any longer. This was not the life she had envisioned when she had originally decided to come to this new place two years ago, and it was not the life that she would continue living. She had allowed the influence of her friends in this new place to dictate to her standard of living was, but she had a bigger vision than them, that she had momentarily lost sight of in the excitement of new scenery. She knew that no new location would make her happy, it was what she was doing in that location that really mattered and what she was aiming for after that. She could not become complacent in comfort, because after a while comfort is no longer an excuse for a lack of progress and she will only have herself to blame for standing in the same spot for so long that she had grown old and lost the vital exploratory spirit that once drove her to do great things in life.