Re-entry to civilization after a long trip ( 9 months & 3000 miles later) is always a challenging thing. I migrated back into the land of cars, shopping centers, starbucks, and all of the other Corporate & Consumer related things that middle America has embraced as 'Normalcy'. It is hard to relax and to breathe; I miss the sound of the ocean, the gulls, the fog horn. My body longs for the endorphins of 20 miles of paddling in the open ocean, the mental challenge of navigating in zero visibility fog.
It is wonderful to see family and friends, but they don't really understand what has been done and what has been left. I read somewhere an account by another long distance traveller how he felt it was impossible to share with friends exactly what he had been through and what he missed so much. As I read the article, I could totally relate. Their lives are so different from mine. I understand this and accept it, but long to find a vehicle to express and talk about life on the road. What it is like to live day to day, minute to minute, completely immersed in the wonders of nature. Even spending down time in Lubec allowed me to live simply, connect with people, and yet still live on the edge of what some might call civilization. I camped on empty lots, I slept in a chicken coop, I bunked in an old boat house, I house sat, and slept in an apartment under construction. As on the trail, I did whatever I needed to do each day in order to survive, to find shelter and food. Grounding came from the simple act of sitting on a rock next to the ever changing tide, and feeling the overwhelming peacefullness and beauty of the Ocean. Grounding here is harder, not impossible, but harder.
It is a sense of dull sadness that I feel inside. Dull because it is at a lower, deeper level that ever so slightly surrounds my thoughts and emotions. It is not an unhappiness, but more a longing for the road and the exploration that comes from travelling. Here I sit, a nice bed, a shower, coffee and shelter from the rain, and yet I would just as gladly take my hammock, a tarp, and a good book. Tucked away in the forest, just the sound of drops on the tarp and the smell of rain in the air, it is peaceful and perfect. In civilization, rains brings cries of bad weather and an unhappiness to those around. Out in the woods, on the trail, rain is just rain, no better or worse than sun, just part of life on the trail.
My digestive system is in complete angst mode as well. Having subsisted on a fairly even diet of natural foods with nothing processed in my diet, the re-entry to civilization makes that harder, more difficult to keep up. Staying with others who don't eat that way, well, I find myself consuming foods that I have not consumed for 9 months, the entire time I have been away. My body complains at sleeping on a soft bed and sitting in chairs at a table instead of cross legged in the dirt comfortably reclining against a wonderful downed tree with dirt and sand in between my bare toes, bugs darting here and there.
I am not complaining, I am happy to be back and see friends and family. I love them and missed them dearly, but I miss the trail equally. It is part of my soul, part of my nature. It is there that I find peace and harmony with the world. Someone asked the other day when I was going to stop this 'Walkabout' as they termed it. My answer was simply I don't know. Which is the truth, I don't know. What I do know is that as long as I can do it and as long as I continue to Love it, then that will be my path, and everything else will be out on the edge.