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Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Jessica Long, age 22
Barrington, Rhode Island
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I’m back home - back to the cold, dreary weather that summarizes New England’s notorious springtime. Less than fourteen days ago, in the intense heat of Thailand, perspiration began to bead at the not-so-taxing task of brushing one’s teeth. Today, I’m reluctantly reliant on my long john’s and hot tea. Nevertheless, regardless of the uninviting Rhode Island weather, my homecoming has been nothing but welcoming. It’s been jubilating to see my family and friends after such an extended time apart. It took little time and hardly any effort to re-adjust back into the groove of my life before I left.

After our long 36 hour journey home concluded at TF Green Airport in Providence, I practically ran from the airport gate to the baggage claim to see my mom. I was overjoyed to feel her arms wrap around me and to see her smile. Well timed, Easter holiday weekend fell on our first weekend home; therefore, it was happily filled with family, friends, and friend’s family. I spent my first few days back skipping from one house to the next, catching up on lost time and modestly bragging about my time abroad. The more time I spend with my favorite people, the closer I feel to the life I left behind. My time away has begun to feel less and less like a year, and increasingly more like a month.

I’m thrilled to be home. I’m ecstatic to be with loved ones, to know my surroundings transparently, to have linens on my bed rather than a sleeping bag, and to have gloriously said goodbye to the public bathrooms that a backpacker grows accustom to. But in all honesty, after the comfort wears down and I begin to feel average instead of adventurous, I reckon I’ll start to change gears and begin dreaming of my next excursion.

And that leads me to the ever so frequently asked question, “what next?” The easy answer is that I’ll find a job, find an apartment close to Rhode Island, and in about a year start applying for another foreign visa. What kind of job? What city do I want to be in? And which country will I choose next? These are all the open ended questions I’ve been facing since my arrival back to the states.

Ideally I’d like to find a job to fulfill three main criteria, the only part of my future path that I cracked during my time of travel. Essentially I’d like to find a job that provides me with the flexibility to ride my horse and plan small travel escapades, yet stimulates me creatively and challenges me mentally. Most importantly, I want to be passionate about my work and not settle for a typical, regimented, 9-5 mundane job. I need excitement and spontaneity in both my personal life and work life. The hardest part now is just figuring out where to begin.

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