My life for the past 7 months has included near-constant travel. I've been extraordinarily lucky to have been invited to speak at conferences, businesses, and universities all over the world, something I never would have thought I'd be doing even just one year ago. At first I had a lot of anxiety around this - airports are their own special level of hell, not to mention sleeping in sanitized hotel rooms that are so eerily quiet they seem to be insomnia factories.
After a while I got used to it all - the 5am cab rides to the airport, the pat downs, begrudgingly turning my phone off at take off, awkwardly navigating new cities, wearing myself out running around new places all day so I can sleep in almost any hotel room or on any friend's couch at night. It became my new normal a lot quicker than I expected and bothered me less and less. These days, I look at 8 or 15 hour travel days as my commute to work. The homesickness seems less profound, but it's always there. Overall, everything's gotten easier with time.
I just got back from almost a solid month of travel and have three weeks before I set out again. I've referred to this short respite as a vacation to a lot of people - time to spend at home with people I've missed for weeks, to squish my cats' faces into mine, to sleep in in my own bed, to cook my own food, to get back to some level of normalcy. Also, time to sit and work on my writing, since I somehow deluded myself into believing that I would have time and the mental capacity to write while on the road.
Getting back has definitely been nice. I've spent whole days doing nothing, which seems luxurious. I sit in the bathtub for an hour and read a book, I cuddle my cats, I find some mindless thing to get sucked into, and have been really enjoying the lack of pressure to debate, inform, and perform for other people.
It's weirdly lonely in a way, though. I've spent so much time over the past 7 months constantly being surrounded by people I rarely get to spend any time with, with a few exceptions. I go out and do things that are completely new to me, plans are formed spontaneously, I end up in conversations I've long wished I could have in person instead of online. I meet new people and fall in love with new sides of others that I've known for years but never gotten to see close up. Especially over the past three weeks visiting Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, I've become addicted to this. All of it has aided in raising my general level of happiness and positivity.
These little moments I get to share with friends and new acquaintances keep me going through all of the rough stuff I deal with as a by-product of my work. Feeling like that's suddenly taken away when I get home is jolting. Lows seem lower. My anxiety has actually increased while I have more time to stare at the ceiling at night. I'm still trying to settle back into normal life, at least for a little while, but am left wondering how I can make that spontaneity and that feeling of fulfillment a part of that normalcy.
I'm currently entertaining a few ideas about what I want the future to look like for me, but I know it needs to include more physical space stuff and less online things. I'm not sure what that means yet, or how I intend to get there, but it's important and I need it to make this sustainable.
In the meantime, I wanted to thank you for an amazing year thus far. Know that your friendship, companionship, and support has meant more to me than you can ever realize. I love you all and am so grateful to know you. I want to be a more active part of your life even when I can't physically be there, so let me know how I can do that. <3