Sunday, August 31, 2014

On traveling and adjusting to life when you return

So... hi? Is anyone still here? This is me, crawling out from under a rock. A rock I'm sorry I stayed under for so long. It's been almost three months since I last posted here, the night before I left for the US. And to my defense, my sister and I's time in America was amazing, but also exhausting at times and I could just never find the time to finalize my update-from-the-road posts, though I have quite a big draft and might tell you more about my travels in my 'Get to Know Me' posts that I used to do on Sundays.

Dear Americans, your country is HUGE. I travelled about twice the north-to-south length of my country every day, for 3 days, going basically all the way straight through lots of desert. I've never seen so much sand, or flat space without mountains. I can't even begin to count all the new things that I've seen during those 6 weeks I was abroad, but let me give you a short list. I have:

  • met a fellow blogger - shout-out to Kelly from Effortlessly Reading! She is such a wonderful, generous person and you should check out her blog if you don't know it already. She showed us Strands Books and Books of Wonder in New York and contributed to the heaviness of my suitcase(s). Kelly, thank you again for everything, and I hope we can meet at BEA some day!
  • ridden the Greyhound bus
  • had my fortune told after going on a ghost and vampire tour in New Orleans. Then kept chatting with the fortune teller and her fiancĂ© in Jackson Square until long after midnight. He could do an amazing impression of Jack Sparrow and the Joker from Batman.
  • drove from New Orleans to Tucson in 2.5 days
  • slept in a tent in the woods at Grand Canyon after stargazing through a telescope and seeing Saturn's rings.
  • seen a show in Vegas

    Seriously, I had no clue it was in Vegas this year, and during the time we were there! We could only stay for 3 hours but it was awesome, I met Holly and Julie Kagawa and I got a ton of books and I wish we could've stayed longer, though I made a bit of a fool of myself in front of Holly because I was so excited. I've loved that woman's books for ten years and never in a million years thought I'd get the chance to talk to her.
  •  met April White, author of Marking Time, an awesome novel that is currently free on Amazon and that I've reviewed here on the blog a while ago. She is one of the most generous and kindest people I have ever met! April, thank you again for everything you've done for us - you don't know how much it meant to me! Also, I owe you email and a review.
  • saw July 4th fireworks at the beach
  • went whale-watching and saw a pod of about 1000 dolphins! Dolphins used to be my favorite animals as a kid.
  • drove up Highway 1 along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco
  • biked across Golden Gate Bridge
  • had an amazing hostel-organized tour of China Town during which we visited two temples, a factory where they still make fortune cookies by hand, and had a tea tasting with the best snarky host-lady ever
  • was in Japan Town during a festival. Lots of cosplaying people! A store with awesome hats! A store with a whole floor of manga!
There were of course many many more things, big ones, smalls ones, fun ones, less fun ones (like the crack in our windshield), people met and left behind. I've never been away from home for so long. I've never seen so many places in such a short amount of time. There are so many cities I want to go back to. So many memories. At times over there, I even forgot I had a job. My old life seemed very far away.

So, coming back was harder than I thought it'd be. It was strange to be in the same place for so long and not live out of a suitcase. Everyone spoke Swiss German, which was weird at first. I had to go back from seeing new, exciting things every day to somehow trying to fit into the everyday-routine of life in Zurich. My city suddenly seems very small, even though it's the biggest one in the country. My life seems small and boring all of a sudden, though there were of course also perks to being back, like meeting friends, eating healthy food, having an Xbox again... Still, I miss being on the road. I kind of envy my sister, who after 3 weeks here is currently in Shanghai.

I haven't quite found my footing again yet, also because I'm in a very in-between kinda situation. I've finished my MA thesis and final exam at the end of may, but I will only get my diploma on September 24, so I can't apply for any jobs or internships yet. Still, after 6 years I'm done with university. I don't know what to do with that. I've been a student of some kind for almost 20 years, and I've never done a gap year or exchange program. And now I'm suddenly not part of the student population anymore, and it's weird.

I'm supposed to be an adult now, right? But what if I don't feel like one? What if I have no idea how to have a career, or if I want one, or what kind I want, or what I want to do and how to go about it?
This type of questions, combined with falling back into the routine of my part-time job, is one reason why I didn't start blogging again at the end of July. I also had a strange kind of fear and writer's block thing going on about blogging because I've been away from it for so long. I have no idea what everyone's been up to. I don't know which books are coming out. I don't know if anyone still remembers me.

But you know what? I missed blogging and the interactions that come with it. I miss talking about books, posting my new book purchases, reading Top Ten Tuesday and WoW posts, interacting with people in comments and reading reviews. And I hope that eventually, I can find my way back in and that there are still people interested in what I have to say.
Have any of you had similar experiences after travelling and/or not posting for a while? Do you ever feel insecure about having something worthwhile to say? What do you do about this strange fear of posting? I'd love to hear from you in the comments :)