It’s a little disheartening when I pull out my trusty little travel writing computer and blow dust off of it. I’d just be guessing when I say that all writers go through points in their lives when they stop writing, when they feel uninspired. It is difficult to rationalize such feelings without a sense of loss - without a sense of losing myself. But looking back over the last few years I realize that it has been an ongoing process of losing myself, of evolving as a person through experience. So I keep my head high and realize that this simply is the next step for me, albeit one that seems very foreign.
It’s actually quite ironic. Coming home, finding a job, settling down – these are the things that are foreign to me. Not taking off to some distant land where people are fascinated by the way I dress and speak. We were to call it re-integration when we came back from our contract work in Ecuador, and our employers attempted to assist us through it with motivational speakers and reverse culture shock activities. But for all of us that went to work in Ecuador we all had different degrees of separation from this society, and so we all required a much different process of re-integration. I had spent the majority of the last three years living in Latin America, constantly on the move, constantly finding new people and new adventures. For this to all come to an end suddenly is something I’m still coming to terms with.
Some may ask why it has to end, and this is a question I ask myself more than anyone. Why should I not keep living by my free floating ethos, and let the nomadic life fully absorb me? Is this not what I’ve promoted throughout the writing of this blog? Perhaps I always knew that it was something that could not be carried on forever. Contemporary society dictates some level stability in ones life in order to be relatively prosperous and I would be lying to myself if I claimed that prosperity has not been a lingering thought as I’ve lived a rather austere life over the last while.
If there is anything that the last three years on the road have taught me it is that where you imagine yourself a year from now, will often be the opposite of where you end up. If life were not this way, we would not be human, and we wouldn’t learn from our experiences and use those lessons to guide us.
So here I am in Toronto, investigating different opportunities for my future, engaging in different commitments and activities that were foreign to me as a traveler - and it feels good. Regardless of the next steps that I take, the adventures and travels will never stop, and I'll always continue writing. People from around the world have touched my soul, and brought me to where I am now, and that is something that I want to carry with me throughout my life.
The Canadian that went to Ecuador to take over my position when I left sent me an email the other day which left me with a great smile on my face and forced me to choke back some tears. She said that she had begun to work with the community council – that group of people that I knew so well in Data de Villamil, Ecuador. As I read her words I pictured her sitting around the little wooden table at the side of the dusty road, listening to the wise words of those hardened coastal folk. She wrote to me that they were having a hard time pronouncing her name, so they had simply all decided to call her “Antonia”, and that I had left quite an impression on them. I only wish they could know the impression they have left with me, and I take that impression with me always as I move on to different things back in Canada.