Based on the comments in Christine’s post, it seems there are a bunch of us in the same situation right now — returning stateside in the next two weeks & not knowing what we’re doing next.
Flying back to the United States Sunday the 21st after spending the last 8 months abroad, I’m in the same boat of heading back to the states without a crystal clear vision for what lies ahead for me.
I’m certainly extremely extremely excited to see all my friends back in Seattle and catch up on what’s happened over the course of the last 8 months (aside from what I’ve learned on FB of course). Seeing my family over the thanksgiving weekend (and my sister who is now 6 months pregnant) is going to be awesome. I can’t wait for a big, comfy couch and a day of movies. I’m excited to drive my Civic again (but not so excited to clean all my crap out of it). My first steak in months grilled over open flames will be amazing, as will the unbelievable bratwursts my stepdad makes.
But I can’t say I’m looking forward to everything about returning to the states. For starters, I’m not looking forward to returning to the materialistic lifestyle of the US. After being in Africa for the last two months & witnessing people living perfectly happy lives with virtually no material possessions, it’s going to be quite a jolt. Coming from Kenya and Ghana, where strangers have been beyond sincere, accommodating, friendly, and helpful — the lack of friendliness of strangers is going to be a bit disheartening as well.
On the topic of what’s next career/life wise — I’m not 100% sure, but have one opportunity that I’m close to narrowing in on. That said, I’ve learned that until all the “t’s” are crossed and “i’s” are dotted, nothing is final. Making a final decision on what to do next in life is always hard, especially when you consider the fact that the world is at my fingertips. I could go back into the tech industry and do marketing for a killer startup, become a permanent expat, devote myself full time to Oh Hey World and try to make money off of it to keep traveling, join the freelance consulting arena full time, join a smaller company in the states full time and gain further small business experience, or I could work somewhere in the developing world for a microfinance NGO. And sitting in Ghana right now in a community where virtually no one has traveled anywhere other than Accra within Ghana, and certainly haven’t ventured out of the country, I realize it’s truly a privilege to have these opportunities.
To continuing traveling or not to travel, that is the question. Regardless of what I decide, I guarantee my passion for traveling will not go away; it’s just a matter of doing it now or postponing it a bit in favor of a little financial security. What do do, what to do…I’ll keep you posted.