As I woke up to the sounds of Barcelona street life outside my window Saturday, I slowly realized that I had just been dreaming in another language. At least three, I think.
As I tried to grasp on to the quickly-fading memory all I could remember was playing Frogger across a street with my Egyptian guide to enter a (candy?) store and negotiate with the purveyors in whatever language I could. Not the most exhilarating dream, but still intriguing since I have heard that you know you are truly comfortable in a new language once you begin dreaming in it.
I’m fairly certain the dream involved Arabic, French, and Spanish, but I can’t say I’ve reached the “comfortable” stage with any of those languages. I think what I have reached familiarity with is the state of transience that comes with many months of travel through so many varying cultures, all so different from my own.
I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I have come to enjoy not being able to understand what’s going on most of the time, making my way on uncertain ground, and being made fun of over and over (see photo above).
Standing in a group of new friends last night, all speaking rapid Spanish (seriously, they talk fast), I was happy to just watch their exchange and gather what I could from the conversation – it was definitely something about a salsa club and making fun of our roommate for not dancing. If nothing else, I can always join in on the laughs!
Recently I perused a few articles from travel pros centered around when you know you’ve spent too much time at home. This comes at a time when I have to begin planning the end of my current trip and look forward to some quality time back home. Reading this article by Turner Wright actually gave me some great things to anticipate, like having easy access to a good burger again, or being able to do as much laundry as I want.
While I am excited to see home again and have these things within my reach, I have continually put off buying the necessary plane tickets because I just couldn’t face the end of this round-the-world journey. I still feel like there is so much more to do and see, which of course is always true. I haven’t even been to Paris yet, for Pete’s sake!
Of course it is now time to face the music, suck it up, and buy the damn tickets. We’re flying out of Dublin on September 9th. As sorrowful violins play my homecoming hangover on stage, I’ll be gazing back at almost five months of delicious local food, camel rides, and playing on the beaches of the world. And dammit I will see Paris! It’s on the way to Dublin after all (sort of).
But I have a hunch that once the warm embrace of home has got me feeling extra-cozy, I will feel an itch to get that out-of-place feeling back. The feeling that means you’ve really done some good traveling.