I'm back from Europe and I can hardly believe I'm expected to go to work tomorrow. How can this be? I just took an Ambien so I can hopefully get a semi-normal night of sleep before facing what I'm sure will be a hard slap of reality tomorrow.
I had a great trip. A great trip. If I had to summarize, I would say it was mostly full of potato strudel and goulash, hanging out with street musicians, Cold War history, shitty buses and trains that I loved, and there was a significant amount of gelato involved. I met five great people at different parts along the way; I had a little Pope here, a little Pope there, and ignored famous, smelly old churches and temples as much as possible. I walked more than the inventor of walking ever intended one to walk. I saw a movie and two concerts. I read a Solzhenitsyn book (finally). I learned a tremendous amount of history and felt humbled over and over, both by the enormity of what I don't know and by the enormity of what I have.
At different times during the two weeks I had huge fun, I got lonely, I was bored, I was excited, I missed my family, I danced, I yelled, I cried, I laughed, laughed, laughed. I talked to myself. A lot. I considered my job and how I can maintain better perspective about it, I thought about my time in Japan and how my struggle with it has made it a part of who I am now; not just Japan, but the struggle. I looked forward to the future, I tried to make sense out of what I was experiencing. I thought about getting older and what I hope my life looks like as I continue to grow. I got lost, and I got lost, and I got lost again. I asked for help. I didn't ask for help. I was confident, and I was scared. Sometimes things went my way, sometimes they didn't. I worried over and over about how things would work out. And then I saw them work out. This is why I travel. Microcosm. It mirrors life.
I loved every place I went, and every city I visited was so good that I thought, it's going to be such a let down after this because it just can't get any better. And then it did. Every time. I'm going to try to do a few bullets of summary for each of the six cities and countries that I visited and post those soon. I think it will help to think through the trip from day one to day fourteen, and take a macro-type look at it. Schlepping my bag from bus to bus and train to train, and counting my underwear over and over to make sure I had enough before I could find laundry facilities again has left me deep into the micro. A review would probably help me continue to process.
So I've thrown some quick photos on my Flickr account, but I don't really *get* Flickr and where the hell is spell check on there, so I don't know if it's really ok. But it'll have to be for now, as Ambien is slowly dragging me off to bed. My bed! So thankful to be home.