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March 8th, 2009 | categorizilation: all categories,Arrival Home,New Zealand,Post-2008

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I just want it all to go away.

This was a comment I made to my cousin Rach recently, regarding the last 2.5 years of my life.

I wish there would be key written delete on it for last 30 months.

This was a comment a fellow long distance cyclist who recently arrived home made to me in an email yesterday.

This made me think two thoughts…

1. At least I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

2. Why do we (some long distance travellers) think this way? Why is there such a strong desire to just ignore and distance ourselves from our experiences?

I think much of this desire to try to block out our experiences is just because we become tired of talking about it. When I tell someone the basic details of what I was up to for the last few years, the usual reaction is “Wow, that is amazing! You are amazing!”.

My inner reaction to the response of those I tell about the journey, is hard to describe. I get an inexplicable uncomfortable feeling.

Tainted with discomfort
Knowing the pain
Knowing the weakness
Sensing misunderstanding
Inner joy masked incurably with pain
Anyone could do this
Given the time and inclination

I’m not amazing. I am me. I did not travel around the world. I moved one day. And then moved some more the next. Just like you.

Just like you.
It is hard being back in ‘normal’ society. Everyday conversations are menial and uninspiring. Jokes are lost on me. I feel at a loss as to what to say. I don’t know how to make conversation. I miss the excitement of operating in a foriegn language. I feel trapped in this boring language of the West. I miss an environment where everyday conversations are made exciting by the joy of the exchange of a common humanity that bridges culture.

Every fibre of my being is resisting this period of change. Why is change so hard?

Single to two
Isolated to community
One to many
Movement to stillness
Mulit-vistas to mono-colour wallpaper
Multi-ideas to a common idea
Multi-thoughts to a common thought
Multi-culture to a common culture

My advice: Don’t travel.

Life is hard after travel.

Good, I think, but hard.

It is hard when those who you hope will understand cannot understand.

When will I feel comfortable again? I don’t know.
Do I want to feel comfortable? I don’t know.
Until then, in the words of my fellow cycle traveller:

I am this stranger ‘from the moon’….with too complex view.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (7)

Comment by kathy o — March 8, 2009 @ 2:28 pm | post a comment


You are such an excellent photographer; why don't you take yourself on a photographic journey somewhere – even if it's just for one day. Explore your own environment perhaps with a traveler's eye. Make a goal: shoot only one color of objects, or look for patterns, or find interesting faces… I retired from 32+ years of teaching 5 years ago, and I made a promise to myself: not only would I travel internationally, but I would also see my own country and especially see my own city. It's just a thought. I understand your "troubles" a bit. I lived in different places overseas for several years, and returning "home" was always a challenge. You have a strong faith; it will be resolved eventually. I still investigate your BLOG daily, and I miss the photos.

Comment by Daniel N. Lang — March 9, 2009 @ 3:24 pm | post a comment

Hey Rob, I read your post a couple of hours ago and now something popped up in my head: soldiers. I guess many of them who have been to other countries (maybe even in wars) for years might come back and have a similar situation.

Of course they have had totally different experiences, but I guess that the people at home might be reacting in a similar way to their stories … "amazing".

Comment by Rob — March 9, 2009 @ 3:41 pm | post a comment

Hi Rob,

I've heard and seen on your blog that you're going through a hard time. I don't know how to comfort you bro, hope you'd feel better soon.

Can't say that I understand you, but I sometime feel the same emptiness really, that I'd achieved nothing and done nothing, and I'm about to get married and just have to live on with my life, and I admit that I haven't been to church that much since the Chinese earthquake, I felt angry somehow that this world had always been unfair to one another somewhere somehow, it's creeping inside me for years, I'm not sure how this happened but I can't think of me should treating one group of Christians better than others who're not. I can't think this through and being too ashamed even thinking about this so I just stop talking and going to church altogether.

So Rob, I think the main thing is that this world has it's varieties and somehow if we keep moving and keep searching for answers, hopefully we'll feel contained and working through and making others happy and feel better – that's my goal, I'll try my best to improve those less fortunate, like the disaster striked orphans and maybe one day see this world from other angles.

No matter what, you've done this adventure and inspired to think yourself and this world deeper, even it'll take a while to recover but if I may say, I think it's all worth it, and im 100% sure you'd rather you had it than none at all, and like most of us sitting somewhere and wondering the 'what if's.

Keep writing your wonders Rob.

Comment by Steve R — March 9, 2009 @ 9:09 pm | post a comment

Hey Rob, well I've taken the time to go back and re-read your blogs from the past. I hope this blog stays online for months to come as there's a lot to read!

Have you considered going back to your job in Japan? For me, living and working a stable job in a foreign culture has been the ideal solution to intersect the need for adventure and the need to earn a living.

For example, daily commutes by scooter on the highway to Shanghai are filled with surprises and keeping me alert on the edge of my scooter seat. If I was doing this back home by car, I'd either fall asleep at the wheel, or watch the car drive itself.

I need to live with a higher level of stimulation on a daily basis or else I get bored real easily. Back home it's too mundane and boring.

Please keep us up updated

Comment by Lo-IQ — March 10, 2009 @ 11:06 am | post a comment

I was just wondering how your doing old bean? I thought about the whole travel blues I had after coming back down to normality in 1989. Best advice just keep yourself busy and it'll all fall back into place soon enough.



PS I'm having another go at Russia in 2010 not enough pain in my life obviously…. DOH!

Comment by Peter — April 8, 2009 @ 8:25 am | post a comment

I appreciate the expressions of your heart in this season. When you were on the road day after day you found the same excitement for humanity that Jesus found in us from the beginning of beginnings. I think back to the pictures and interactions you had with the bhuddist priests and children near the borders of southern China. The love and appreciation for people came through you with delight. That has not changed within you. Rob, Jesus loves you with an everlasting love. With His Spirit living within yours, your heart can't help but beat with His. So, for the last 30 months you had been moving everyday, and now your soul continues to journey through the pain that accompanied you. Your pain has been taken at the cross and a way has been made into the presence of God that you are still discovering. You are well on your way. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. You are precious in the Father's sight. He loves who you are today, and who you are becoming. I bless this season you are in.

Comment by achim — April 17, 2009 @ 5:27 pm | post a comment

Hey Rob, after a long time I looked at your blog again and I am reading your comments of wishing to delete the experienced past and to suffer about the boredom of a regular life.

I experienced a similar feeling when I came back from JAPAN in 1992.

I know that you will do the right thing too keep your life pulsating. Use the force and use the pain:–)

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