All good things must come to a PAUSE

San Francisco, World - other travel posts — By on December 14, 2011 7:09 PM

“The party is over, skirt is home!” a friend teased me after learning I had returned to San Francisco after my second yearlong gallivant around the world. I assured him that in no way was the party over, that skirt just needed a power nap. I have no intention of ending my exploration of this big beautiful world. As far as I am concerned … all good things must come to a PAUSE.

“So you are back because you ran out of money?” everyone asks.

YES, I sure did, and money well spent it was!

Having yet to find a way to make money on the road, and having spent every last dime I had saved and then some … I decided it was in my best long-term interest to return to the states and work. This logical way of thinking is quite foreign to “by the seat of her skirt” and as I contemplated my options under a coconut palm in Fiji, the glistening turquoise waters did its best to seduce me to stay longer. Another option I considered was meeting a friend in Africa.

But ultimately, the paycheck I was lucky enough to have waiting for me in San Francisco, won me over and had me boarding a flight back to California.

My totally awesome boss graciously allowed me to return to my previous position as a marketing contractor. “Hand over your passport lady!” she demanded on my first day back to work, knowing full well I am a flight risk. “How long do we get you for this time?” she asked me, presuming and okay with the fact that I would hit the road again as soon as my bank account is in the black. We decided I would work for 6 months, helping manage projects during the busy season, seemingly a “win-win” for everyone. There had been speculation amongst my coworker as to whether or not I would actually return. Bets were placed; many hoped I would continue traveling so they could continue following my adventures around the globe.

While it was great to see all the faces I had missed while away, it was also very startling to find myself in a cubicle after having spent the previous three months on yachts sailing the brilliant blue waters of the South Pacific. The playful sound of the sea splashing against my cabin window was replaced by the chanting protests of Occupy Oakland outside my office window. The real world can be a real unfair bitch.

I decorated my cubicle in photographs of beautiful beaches and sunsets which only served to torture me as they giggled amongst themselves taunting me, “look how pretty it is where we are, bet you wish you were here!” Accustomed to seeing Thomas’ smiling face 24/7, I taped a close up him to my computer monitor to ease the “Swiss Withdrawal”.

My body physically rejected the predicament I forced upon it eight hours a day. My outstretched arms felt tingly and numb as my fingers pecked against their will. A more ergonomic chair would help to ease my physical discomfort; however, inside I felt overwhelmed, lost, bored, and restless. Reverse culture shock is a real phenomenon, and those first few weeks back were anything but easy! It seemed so wrong to feel discontentment while surrounded by loving friends and blessed with a job “in this economy.”

I know what you are thinking … cry me a river, right? I have some nerve to complain about being back at work after a yearlong holiday. You are absolutely right! And I slapped some sense into myself for you! It also helped to attend travel related events like Meet, Plan, Go! and Travel Massive, both great reverse culture shock support groups attended by other travel addicts.

I eventually got my groove back and I am happy to call San Francisco my home again, if only for a brief while. It’s hard to believe I have been back for four months; time has gone by so fast. Sometimes it feels as if nothing has changed since I have been gone. I think this bothers me most because I feel so different somehow. Thus as we evolve so does our place in this world. As I reflect on the past and look longingly at the future, I am reminded to pause and embrace today.

So for now, I am thankful for my very blessed life in SF! I will keep working hard, living frugally, and saving money for my next big adventure!

What is that I hear? Is that Africa calling?

2012 is going to be a VERY good year … stay tuned!

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  1. Kristin says:

    What a great, honest post! Thank you for sharing how you made the transition! And, of course, I love that you’re in SF!

  2. Lisa says:

    LOVE,LOVE,LOVE the newest post to your blog. You always keep me reading and wanting to read more. Can’t wait to read your next adventure but knowing our family it won’t be about Africa as you predict but rather at our family Christmas gathering. Can’t wait to see you. Love you!!

  3. Dasha says:

    I also can’t believe it’s been 4 months since you’ve been back (since I’ve started graduate school!). I’m glad you’ve found a peace. Summer is coming, come join me in Thailand!

  4. Deb says:

    I just returned from Thailand less than 3 weeks ago and am still struggling with re-entry to my corporate world… The coming back is always the toughest and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been when you were gone for so long and not just a couple of weeks. I have found that returning to SF was way better than when I returned from my last trip to Thailand/Burma when I was living in NYC. After spending 3 weeks in paradise, returning to Manhattan in February was nothing less than shocking. The dirty, cold, snowy wasteland was such a sharp contrast to the white lines of sand on pristine islands surrounded by liquid glass that had been my reality. Makes me thank God for the temperate and beautiful Bay Area where at least I’m still wearing flip-flops!

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