Day 123 – Houston, Texas

And just like that … I’m home. The 12-hr flight from Japan to Houston was pretty smooth. I was lucky enough to have an exit row seat so I had plenty of room to stretch out my legs. I didn’t sleep much on the plane, only an hour here and there, but mostly passed the time by watching a couple of shows and the latest Blockbuster movies. When we touched down on the runway, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I’ve never been a nervous flyer, but there was something about being back in Texas that was very comforting.

Customs was a breeze. (Thank you, Global Entry!) And after I collected my bags from the conveyor belt, my mom was already waiting for me outside of the terminal. Everything felt … normal. Perhaps I haven’t been away long enough to feel the “reverse culture shock” of returning to the US that all the other travelers talk about. The biggest shock was probably finding out about all the car problems I’ve suddenly inherited. My lease had ended in February, most of my furniture was sold. The only thing that I really left behind was my car. I hadn’t had to worry about it for the past couple of months, as walking and public transportation became the new normal. However, the last thing I was expecting to return to was a mess of problems and the very real possibility of purchasing a new car to replace it. So much for that cushion budget.

The other huge reality that I had to face, this one I had been expecting, was the need to find a job. I briefly started my search in the last week or two, browsing the available positions online. It’s one thing that I was hoping to have a clear answer to at the end of this trip. But that just didn’t happen. There was no almighty sign from God to point me in the correct direction upon my return. No ultimate epiphany on the road. I was back to where I was four months ago, with lots of possible directions and no idea which way to turn.

The biggest thing I’ve realized upon my return, though, is that I am happy. Like truly happy. I feel like I have lived so much of my life in the past four months. I am both proud and amazed at what I have accomplished. I’m glad I stuck through the hard times and never gave up. The best thing that this trip could’ve ever given me was clarity. Although not in the way I originally thought. Clarity in a sense that I was able to look back at my life, my work, and my relationships with others, and really see them. A good friend and fellow travel blogger once wrote,

To take a step back from everything that causes you stress and take care of yourself and your dreams is healthy. -thefreshstarttraveller

So I come back renewed. Feeling refreshed and ready to tackle life and all the stresses that come with it. There’s no clear path ahead, but that’s all part of the adventure. If travel has taught me anything, it’s that the future is always going to be unclear, but just keep moving forward. It’s all you can do.

Postscript, thank you to everyone that has supported me up to this point! Thank you for all the readers and people following this blog. Whether it was one post or every post along the way, I am truly thankful for your time. The last 123 days have been a blessing, and I’m glad I was able to share them with you. As for me, travel is still going to be a huge part of my life. And who knows, my nextdextination might just be around the corner.

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