10 Oct

5 Months

102010_OneGiantStep SlideShow-015 

Sometimes I can’t believe it happened.

I lie in bed at night, or sit at my desk, or wander through the grocery store and try to remember what it was like when I wasn’t here. When I was there, in another country, another culture, another time.

It takes more effort than I think it should. To remember.

Sometimes I can’t believe how much it has changed me.

When we first got back I said that it hadn’t changed me. I said that I had taken this Gillian around the world  and had brought the same Gillian back.

There were no life-changing epiphanies for me, no thoughts of giving-it-all-up to live in an ashram, no great ground-breaking moments. Just me, coming back.

And then I slowly realized that it wasn’t the same Gillian.

That I am different.

That I have changed.

But, then again, I wonder if I have.

Or if this was in me all along.

13 thoughts on “5 Months

  1. Hi Gillian, I saw your comment on a post today about traveling with medicine. Your comment caught my eye because I have colitis, so pretty similar. I decided to check out your blog, and I really like it! When I have more time, I’m looking forward to reading through some of the posts from when you were still on the road. I so admire people who take trips like this and hope to do one myself eventually.

    BTW I was going to email you from the “email” link at the top but it seems to not be working.

  2. Yes… I’d love to hear how it changed you. And what you’ve found most difficult about coming back. Everyone writes about the journey – but it seems to me that the reentry is overlooked – and often the most difficult part. Thanks for sharing your trip with all of us…..

  3. I think that this was you all along. Before there were things you dreamed quietly of doing and now you have fulfilled those dreams, so you talk of them, and you talk of the dreams that you still have and how you want to achieve them. To me, as your friend, I feel like you are not living in your head as much, or perhaps as we have both have had such life changing experiences that perhaps this allows your relationships with people to be more open than before, that you are allowing us in more.

  4. Hello Gillian,

    Thanks for stopping by my place today and leaving a comment. It gave me the opportunity to track back and read about the adventure you completed a few months ago. What an amazing experience for you and your husband. I’ve already read through about 10 or so of your posts and will be back for more. My husband saw your comment and went to your site for a look and just called out from his study about how interesting he found your site too.

    I’m not sure how you found my blog, but I’m glad you said hello.

  5. Well said. It is hard to put into words exactly how a trip like this changes you, but it does. The road changes you in ways you can’t imagine, in its own time, in its own way. And you are never ever the same.

  6. Gillian, the question of how long-term travel changes a person has been very much on my mind as well. I’ve spent the past five months on volunteer work & travel in East Africa and am currently in Egypt. We’ll be home in six weeks from now and I’m already anticipating the many questions of “How was it??”. At this point I don’t have a decent answer besides the generic “great!” so I’ll need to do some soul searching as to what made this trip so life-changing… I look forward to following your inner journey – maybe I’ll get some insights from your revelations!

    • I found that, when we first came back, it was hard to answer all the questions of how I was doing. It’s only now, 5 months later, that I’m able to talk about it more and to really realize the impacts. I will try to write about it more here in the coming weeks and months.

  7. Gillian,
    While I’ve never been on as grand and long of an adventure as you have, I can relate to it taking a while for the feelings to sort themselves out. Even in our ‘everyday’ lives there is change over a month, a year, a decade. But it takes knowing yourself well to see the changes when they are there, and for time to pass since the change occurred. It’s like being very close to a 10’x10′ painting and making small changes here and there. It’s not until you step back 20′ that you see those small changes have altered the larger painting as a whole. If you don’t step back, you can’t see it all.
    I’m looking forward to hearing about how your travels have shaped you!

  8. gillian – not only do people go through culture shock while they’re overseas, but the reverse culture shock when they come home is often more critical (to both personal growth and development, and intercultural adjustment). it takes longer, and we don’t expect it at all. but it’s all worth it -and it all helps us to plan our future. when we’re challenged interculturally, we want to keep being challenged. BRAVA!

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