Three hundred and thirty-six days: That is how much time I spent away from home this year. Well, that is how much time I spent away from my San Diego home. Eleven months: That is how much time I spent exploring the world. Seeing things I never dreamed of seeing. For years, I dreamed about how my time abroad would be. The anticipation killed me for so long. Now it is all over.
As I write this, I am sitting in San Diego waiting for my car to be serviced. How did I go from traveling to Rome, Paris and London with friends to sitting in a car dealership in San Diego by myself?
My time ran out.
I’m not going to lie: When I landed in Los Angeles, I was heartbroken that my crazy year abroad was officially over. I cannot go to Paris for the weekend or plan a trip across all of the UK on a whim. I have returned to the “real world” – even though my friends in Europe think that San Diego does not count as the real world. I am back at my job. I am able to drive my car again. I am looking for a new house in San Diego. Life is normal again.
Even though it is supposed to be normal, I do not feel normal. I feel like I am in a foreign place that I once visited. I am so used to being abroad, and that is what feels normal. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that I am back in California for the foreseeable future. I feel like this is another pit stop on my way to another new country.
It has been amazing seeing my friends and family, eating burritos again and living in the paradise known as Sun Diego. I still feel like something is missing, though. I have grown so attached to my homes abroad that I feel like I have not returned home. Home would be a mix of Sydney, Nantes and San Diego. So, this cannot be home. Maybe I am not the type of person who is meant to have a home.
I am a traveler: Part of a different breed of people, and I am not content to live the same life I lived before because I have experienced life beyond our borders. This is what is normal to me:
So does this mean the adventure is over?
Of course not! My adventure is only just beginning. I am back in San Diego a new person. I get to experience my old life from a different vantage point. I realized all the things that I missed while I was abroad, and now I get to reunite with my friends and family to do it all. To experience San Diego like a foreign land that has countless adventures and treasures waiting to be found.
And if I am being honest … I already started planning my next trip. I will be a traveler until the end, and I am so happy that studying abroad to two amazing cities opened my eyes to the wonders of traveling.
To everyone who has been following my posts, see you in San Diego!
Or really anywhere else that I may travel to!
Daniel Haberman is a marketing major. He studied in Nantes, France during Spring semester.