Readjusting to American life – A reflection on long term travel and the future

As many of you know, we’ve been back and settled for quite a while now, and I’ve taken a long hiatus from blogging as I’ve been trying to think about where to take this blog next – on top of all of the other thoughts that have been constantly flying through my mind. I’m currently studying for the LSAT (ugh) and we’re starting to plan our wedding.

Upon returning to the states this past summer, we embarked on a cross-country road trip as a sort of compromise. We had seen most of what we’d set out to see, and we were both admittedly losing steam. Travel, although amazing, is hard work, and we both needed a break from living out of backpacks.

We aren’t done traveling though!

If anything, traveling abroad for 6 months has added to, not subtracted from, our bucket list. It’s been humbling and sombering, energizing and exhausting all at the same time. However, we’ve returned to our homeland with a fresh perspective, a renewed focus, and an empowered enthusiasm for our goals and values. We’re lucky to have in each other a deep connection over our sense of obligation to help others in our community.

I was serious about leaving/staying out of the country if Donald Trump won the presidency. I’ve never been particularly patriotic, but discussing American politics with different people in different corners of the world filled me with nothing but shame toward being associated with my homeland. We are the laughing stock of the world; especially since Donald Trump became a presidential nominee. I held out hope that others in this country would share my sentiment, but it seems that there is more work to be done, and more progress to be made.

At first, when Trump’s victory was made publicly official, I was livid. I started telling Chris that we need to leave, NOW, and that the future didn’t hold anything good for us here. How could it not be clear to him that our values were no longer served by, and no longer aligned with, those of this land? Especially after being exposed to other countries where people are treated so much better. I’ll never forget his response. “We can’t just leave – we’re the good ones. We have to be here to help other people.”

There are two types of men in the world…

 

This grounded me. At this moment I realized that my values are not defined by where I live or by what laws/leaders I happen to be governed by. The outrage I (and many of us) have experienced in the outcome of this election needs to be channeled into my motivation to work for the causes I believe in. I’m not alone. Many other Americans share my passion for working to achieve true equality of opportunity for all, because ultimately, we’re all human beings.

That being said, we’re here to stay. We’ve settled in Chapel Hill, NC. On top of wedding planning and studying, we’re hosting (renting out our spare bedroom) on AirBnB.

We’re excited to have relocated across the country, and are excited to explore the east coast! We’ve already visited Washington, D.C. (we’ll definitely be back), and we’re planning a visit to Chicago in May. Other bucket list items we hope to cross off in the near future are New York City, a cruise to the Bahamas departing from the Florida coast, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and a road trip across the northern border into Canada.

What travel do you have slated for 2017? Maybe check out this financial incentive to visit the Virgin Islands this year!

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