A YEAR into my “BREAKAWAY” & I wonder if I’ll ever be able to go back to a “NORMAL” life?

Today is February 29th, but should really be March 1st if it wasn’t for leap year soooo yeah I did it… I have been on the road for 365 days… an entire fucking year! This was also supposed to be two separate post, but because I am lacking a good WiFi connection am just making it one huge one (sorry about that)! What seemed like an impossible dream a year ago is now an accomplished one. I am sitting here at my friend’s apartment in Cairo, Egypt as I write this… and can’t believe it. I am looking back and thinking, “damn what courage and balls I must have had to actually do this”. I mean really before this I had never been on a trip alone… I had never backpacked… I had never stayed in a hostel… and I had never been outside of the U.S.A. or Mexico. I had sold just about everything I owned including my car… I quit my job and said bye to everything I knew. I knew doing this was going to be a huge risk… but it was a risk I was willing to take and a risk that has turned out to be the best thing in my life.

Sunset through glasses in Egypt!

As I type this I can’t help but look back at what an amazing year I have had.

It’s crazy to think that one can actually do all that in a year and this is just the adventures & thoughts I wrote about. As I sit here though thinking about the year I have had only one thing keeps popping up in my head.

“After this trip you will never be able to go back to a normal life.”

Those words have now been spinning through my mind for the past month and I have not been able to get them out of there. They were spoken to me a month ago while I was visiting Elephantine Island. I shared photos of the Island and mentioned that it was my new love, but never quite mentioned what happened on that beautiful island. It was there that I had yet another amazing experience.

As I was wondering around a local waved me down to come over and speak with him. Not thinking much of it I walked down and we chatted a bit and then enjoyed playing around with the group of kids that were there. They told me their names and wrote them down in my guidebook then asked me to take photos of them with my camera. Moments later I was invited onto a houseboat that was floating on the Nile by a guy from Holland. We chatted away about my travels he offered me a beer and then he chatted about his travels. It was later as we were watching the sun set that he mentioned those 15 words that I can now not get out of my head. He too had done a Round-the-World trip and when finished re-joined the rat race in the corporate world but years later couldn’t take any more and left it all behind again to travel for ever. I knew he was being honest when he told me those words, because hell even I before then had wondered… would I ever be able to go back to a normal life?

Children of Elephantine Island, Egypt!

In reality though what is normal??? Normal at home for me was being on the daily grind of 9-5 and having the same schedule week in week out living a life of content and certainty.  Normal to me now is living out of my backpack and backpacking around the world, finding how to get from point A to Z or finding a place to sleep in a different city and exploring many of the worlds most amazing cities, sights and ruins.

Even though it may seem like a lot of people do a Round-the-World trip because I meet many people on the road that are doing it and have met many other bloggers who are doing it as well. The reality is that we make up a small portion of the worlds population and are not quite understood by people who have never taken one or understand why we love travel so much. It’s a million emotions that I try to share on this blog that I love about what I am doing. I love the good, the bad and that everyday is a roller coaster of emotions filled with uncertainties as I explore many corners of the world.

I know today I am celebrating my one-year anniversary, and that my Round-the-World trip is not over yet. I know I still have about 9 more months to a year before I head home and know that’s a long time from now. Hell I even know that when I get home I am going to work away to start saving on my next huge adventure (trust me this isn’t my last RTW adventure). The thing I am scared of is when I do go home… will I feel like it’s my home? Will I be able to go back to the life I had? Will I be able to relate to my friends? Will I be able to go back to a normal life?

Walking down the rail road in Egypt.

Those are questions I know I cannot answer now, but are on my mind. I try not to think of them, but well I do and thought I would share. Even though I have those fears I am going to continue on the road I am on and live life on my terms. This is the road I love because it has taught me more about myself and the amazing world we live in than any other road I have taken.

On a less thoughtful note I also keep thinking about how proud I am of myself for actually making it this far. Crazy how it started out as little dreams and thoughts that are now a reality and that I am a year into them. I know I have mentioned it before and will mention it again… travel is not for everyone and it is not going to make everyone happy. I am doing this because it makes me happy… and I just want to help people be happy… because in the end that is all that really matters in life. Find your dream and go for it…  take a chance… take a risk… make a change & breakaway.

Thanks again everyone for following along on my crazy adventure around the world.

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  1. At 16 months and counting, I completely understand how you feel. However, I don’t think going back home to a full-time job has to be a bad thing or a big shock. There were of course things I didn’t like about that life, but overall I was happy. Now it will just be a matter of changing the things I didn’t like and not falling into bad habits.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Mercado Fluvial in Valdivia

    • Stephanie it’s such a scary feeling… it’s like I want to think about it, but shouldn’t. You are right though it does NOT have to be a bad thing… it will be up to me to change the things I didn’t like and not falling back into old habits.

  2. Congrats on the accomplishment…I’m not sure if I could transition back to a 9-5 or not after a year away. I think I’d have to do it slowly…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..The Most Overlooked Attraction in Washington D.C.

  3. Wow! Congratulations, Jaime, on your one year RTW anniversary! It is amazing what you have done and will continue to do. Don’t worry about coming home yet. You still have a long time to go. And when it is time you will be so excited about your next trip and saving money for it that time will fly so fast, and before you know it you will be traveling again. 🙂 great blog as always!!

    • Thanks Rubi so much and thank you for following along. You don’t know how excited I get when someone from home comments on my blog… I just love it. You are right though I shouldn’t worry about going home yet. I have such a long way to go and when I do I will be excited about my next trip, cus this one won’t be the last!

  4. So amazing Jaime! Congrats! I think travel changes us, so whenever you do go back to Houston, it’ll take some adjustment. I felt a little weird being back in the States for 4 weeks, but because I now live in Germany, I think I sort of escaped that “adjusting to normal life” thing. There will be people who want to talk to you about your trip for hours, people who will ask “how was your trip?” and don’t really want to talk about it for more than a few minutes because they can’t relate, and people who think now you’ve gotten it out of your system and you should be ready to settle down and live that “normal” life. You will have less in common with people than before, but if they’re truly your friends, you will find common ground again. I think the fact that you’re planning on going back to work long enough to fund the next RTW means you won’t ever let yourself truly settle into a 9-5 life again because you’ll always know your end goal is to get back on the road. It’ll prevent you from acquiring a lot of things you don’t need or spending money you’re trying to save for travel. Anyway, enough babble from me. I’m in awe of all that you’ve accomplished and seen over the past year. I’m so glad I can call you a friend, and I hope our paths cross again. I’m looking forward to reading along with the rest of your trip!
    Ali recently posted..Odd Signs and Statues in Southeast Asia

    • Ali yes travel changes all of us… so when I do go back it will never be the same and take some adjustment. I know it’s going to feel weird, but I will never let this be my last RTW trip so will have a goal for me to save away for and won’t let myself fall into old habits. I think my real friends will understand me and the ones that don’t well I just know it wasn’t ment to be… I know for sure I will not fall into my old habits. I love ya and miss ya and so glad we met on the road… I can’t wait for our paths to cross again. Lucky for you you are in Germany… my favorite European country…

  5. Wow, I cannot believe it’s been a year already. I remember when you were planning to leave like it was yesterday. You’ve done sooo much in just one year!
    And don’t worry about when you get home. I spent the last few months of my trip thinking the exact same things and yea, it is tough to settle back down but your friends are still your friends so of course you’ll still relate to each other. They’ll just all have to get over your sentences always starting with, ‘This one time when I was travelling….’
    Monica recently posted..Sunset Sunday: Ha’atafu Beach, Tonga

    • I know Monica I can’t believe it’s been a year already too… I can’t believe the amount of things I have done as well. It’s just to fucking crazy. Thank you for telling me how it is when we get home. I am glad they will still be there and that we will be able to relate… oh & I am sure they are going to hate the things I talk about after a while…lol… THIS ONE TIME… jaja love it!

  6. Time moves so quickly!

    Just remember… like “happy” is what YOU make it, “normal” is what YOU make it. Can’t what to see what versions of “normal” you try out over the coming years.
    Kent @ No Vacation Required recently posted..We Can’t Manage to Get Ourselves to the Top of the Space Needle, BUT…

    • Kent yes time moves way too quickly… you are right though… happy is what I make of it and so is normal… never thought of that… Ahh I love the two of you… always make me see things a different way!

  7. Congratulations on ONE WHOLE YEAR on the road! You should be so proud of yourself for having the guts to go on this journey and stick with it xxx
    These questions of going back to a normal life are hard to answer, especially since you won’t understand how you feel until you’re back to a “normal” 9-to-5 life. But you’re changed forever because of your travels, and you’ll carry that into your life and see “normal” in a different way. From my own experience, I know that I won’t want to come back, that’s why I’m preparing now to travel forever. Living abroad has only stirred more wanderlust within me.
    Then again, everyone deserves a break, and I hope you end this round of travel with calm in your heart, not being run down, and step back into this life when you feel ready. And, if you decide, to leave again when you’re ready too.
    Patricia GW recently posted..Take Me There – A Travel Dream

    • Patricia… damn “YOU ARE CHANGED FOREVER” so damn true… I will never see things the same ever again in my life. I am glad you are making things work out for you to travel forever and live abroad… it just changes us so much it’s strange to explain to people who have never done it. I know this won’t be my last big trip… so much more of the world to see and well I know I will make it happen.

  8. I love this list and you will love it to when you return to a normal life – although it will never be the same.

  9. You will eventually settle back in to normal life but it might be a struggle at first. That said the memories of your travel will stay with you forever so you will always have them to reminisce with.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Spencer yeah it will be a struggle at 1st and I will go back to it, but I will not let myself settle. Now that I know what is out there… I am going to do what I need to do to make it happen again. Oh & the memories will be crazy…

  10. Maybe you could create an alternative for yourself. Create a business or product that would allow you to work while traveling? There are so many possibilities and you obviously have the guts to try big things! Good luck and keep enjoying your travels!
    Kate recently posted..Imaginary Packing: St. Patrick’s Day Parade

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Kate I have actually thought about that… I know I don’t want to monetize this blog, but will find a way. Thanks for following along.

  11. 1 year on the road – what a huge milestone!! Can’t believe that it’s been a year since we met you in Puerto Viejo and how many amazing adventures you’ve had since then! Looking forward to catching up with you again next month & to toast to RTW travel 🙂 XOXO
    Globetrottergirls recently posted..Hijacked by a Buddhist monk in Sukothai

    • Thanks Girls! I know I remember… crazy… how time flies and I can’t believe we are meeting again this time in India! I can’t wait to catch up… that is for sure~

  12. Congrats Jaime! It’s not until you put the whole list together about all the wonders the last year has brought you that it all comes into focus. Think of the amazing stories you’ll be able to tell and all the ways in which you’ll be able to relate to people thanks to your travels!

    As for a “normal life,” I may not be traveling full time (though it kinda feels like I am these days, even though it’s for work), but I do freelance, going from job to job, which grants me an incredible degree of freedom that I value a whole lot. I was talking about my work situation with a CouchSurfing host recently who had a well paying job that he hated and he said to me, “You know you’ll never be able to get a ‘real’ job, right?” That’s my fear now too, for now that I’ve gotten used to freedom, how could I possibly confine myself to a rigid schedule with 2 weeks of vacation?

    The beauty though is that who defines a “normal” life? My life is perfectly normal to me, though it may not be by society’s standards. But screw them! I have a system that works for me so I just go with it! There are plenty of things you can do that don’t include a “normal” job and you’ll find people who accept you. Just look at all the great travel friends you’ve made?
    Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..Visiting Disputed Territories: Israel’s Golan Heights

    • I know it’s crazy… when I made the list I just kept thinking “wow this is crazy” I mean really… all this is nuts to do in one year and these are the only ones I wrote about.

      Yeah your job is amazing… & umm yeah I agree with the guy… How could you get a real job now? I mean I know I couldn’t… I guess we have to make the most with what we have & go from there.

      As for NORMAL life you are right… it is what is NORMAL to you not others & I am so happy I have many friends now that will accpet me and my crazy dreams for what they are and help me achieve them.

  13. Congratulations Jaime! I’ve followed your blog for many months and you really are an inspiration! You write from the heart and that’s why I love reading you blog, best wishes for the rest of your trip. Looking forward to your next adventures! xoxoxo

    • Kelley thank you for following along. I am happy to inspire people by just being me and hope I inspire yall to just be happy. Thank you for commenting. Hope I hear more from you. Oh & I hope you enjoy my next few months of crazy adventures.

  14. time flew so fast… felt like it was just yesterday when we wrote about our plans of travelling and now it has been a year already for the both of us (and to others as well who shared their journey online)… and yeah i also have the same question for myself… what would going back home feels like? will i settle to sitting in my office again knowing that i could have a grand time in some nice beach or in some foreign land… i also don’ know the answer…

    cheers to more years of adventures and learning 😉 cheers to more years of endless fun and discoveries that will keep the kid in all of us alive…

    safe travels Jaime
    flipnomad recently posted..FlipNomad’s Photo Thursday – Dancing Prisoners of Cebu

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I know Flip. It does feel like just yesterday we talked about our plans. Look at us now on the road & loving it. I do though wonder all the time if I could ever go back to a normal life. I have no clue… but I will find out one day that is for sure.

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