I have been home a year and it still feels like it was all a dream.

Time. What is time? We track time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, and it just goes on. It’s a concept I sometimes don’t understand, because it scares me. I know the past is certain and will always be a specific amount of time filled with moments you can no longer change. The future; the future though is always unknown. I am petrified of the unknown, but it’s what allows us to dream and let our imagination thrive with all the possibilities we can attain in whatever time is left in our lives. It’s those dreams though that must be seized in the present. For me it all goes back to a saying as old as time, Carpe diem… “Seize the day”.

I did just that three years ago today on March 1, 2011 when I left home on a one-way ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica to travel the world for two years. Those two years flew by and were filled with countless moments in time I will forever cherish. Before I knew it though it was March 1, 2013 and I was back home and the life I knew for two years was no longer. All of a sudden the trip I had dreamed of for the majority of my life was over and part of my past. I was back in familiar places with familiar faces and time continued to tick away.

Chiang Mai

I have now been home exactly a year and it still feels like it was all a dream. Many nights before I go to sleep I lay there replaying the entire two years in my head or just moments that for some reason I want to relive. Isn’t it crazy that we have the capability to do that? Okay sorry I won’t go into that. I lay there and can’t believe it at all. I have to remind myself that it was a dream, but it was a dream I went out and fulfilled. It happened, I made it happen and now I know what I am capable of and what is out there.

The past year has been one of the hardest years of my life emotionally. Lord have I cried… and cried a lot. Most of the time tears have just come out of the blue and I can’t help it. Other times it’s because I am letting my mind go wild with a million thoughts and contemplating the hardest question in the world… What the hell I am doing with my life? Or I start thinking that… Maybe the best of all the years of my life have gone by. When in reality I know exactly what I am doing with my life, but at the same time have no damn clue. It’s like I am lost yet found and know I will not allow those two years be the best years of the rest of my life.

I know what I want from life. I know I want a simple life where I am living it on my terms and am happy. I have been doing that for the past three years and I know how to continue achieving that, but then I ask myself is that enough? I do not want a career, I do not want stuff, I do not want the life society has dictated us to live here in the United States. Not that their is anything wrong with that, but I doubt myself when others question me. I feel like no one at home really understands me and that makes it that much harder when I am thinking of my future.

What kills me the most though is that I know I want to continue traveling the world and will make it happen, but at the same time I want to run right back to Cairo to be with him. Yes it’s been a year too that I said goodbye to him. It’s been a year since we have last touched each other. It’s been a year since I have kissed his lips. It’s been a year since I have felt perfect in every aspect possible. Sometimes I hate him for accepting all my flaws and knowing I will never find a guy like him again.  It’s been a year since…  ahh fuck and now I am crying. I told myself to not write about him, because I knew I would start crying, but can’t help it. He was a huge part of those two years (13.5 months of it to be exact) and a huge part of this past year. Yes we continue to talk today (just about every day) and still want to be together, but can’t seem to figure it out. At the same time we’ve tried to let go and let it be what it was, but we really haven’t allowed that to happen either.

Gosh now it sounds like I am complaining a lot… I honestly am not. It is that you really deal with so many things when you get back home from travel. I wrote “The reality of coming home after you have traveled the world.” 6 months ago and still feel like that today. As I lay here in my room writing this I had no clue what I was going to write about tonight and this is what came out. I can honestly say I am happy, because even though I am home I have made the most of my time here. I have spent so much time with the people who matter to me most, my family and friends and love it. Another thing is that if things go as planned come July I will be back on the road. I plan on traveling more of Latin America spending 2-3 months in Mexico and then 6-9 months all over South America after that I have no clue what I will do. Of course this is just a plan, because at any point I could just fly right back to Cairo if things ever settle down there and be with him.

I guess what I’d like to say is that even though I have been home a year it still feels like it was all a dream and it’s crazy how time just never stops. I am now 28 and I love that I have learned some things are worth more than money. I love that I have the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees. I do not regret anything I have done in my life, but feel like I now count it in years from March 1, 2011, because the is when I truly started living life. I know I will be okay and that everything will fall into place how it’s meant to be. Of course I know I have to be the one to make the actions to make those things happen and I will do that. I know we have one life to live and that I will make the most of it. I will Carpe diem… “Seize the day” and hope y’all do too.

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  1. Christina says:

    “In reality I know exactly what I am doing with my life, but at the same time have no damn clue.”

    Oh Jaime Jaime Jaime. If there were any words that could describe how I feel on a daily basis, the above quote would be it. This whole post would be it! I think the horrible thing about this life of travel is that we set ourselves so far apart from society that we are constantly having to deal with feeling different or out of place. I am 100% okay with my decision to travel long term. I am not okay with a week or two holiday here or there. I want to set out and leave. Most people don’t understand that. Their idea of long term is a month, maybe 2, at best 3. But society’s ideals are that we make a career and a family, that we use our annual leave to go on holiday, but we are expected to come back. Quitting your job to travel? As much as it is encouraged and celebrated, it is still sort of taboo. Only the minority will ever really do it, or understand it.

    No matter how happy I am with my decision to travel, I still wonder… and then what? What is going to happen afterwards? That is society stuck in my head I suppose. But all I can focus on is… do what you want to do now. Figure that part out later. But you’re right. As much as I am okay with that, I still feel very lost.

    The best years of our lives are still yet to come I believe. They definitely aren’t behind you (or me!)

    Thank you for posting this and making me feel like I’m not the only one xx

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Ahh Christina, I am sorry you feel that way too. Doesn’t it suck to feel that? I mean it’s like we know but don’t know it’s such a mind fuck (excuse my language). I feel the same way as you do… I am 100% okay with the life I have chosen a life of travel, but your’re right it does make us feel different then everyone else. Like you said it’s still very much taboo, like people get it but don’t. I guess for now we just have to deal with the million emotions that come with it as the best years of our lives are yet to come. I’m glad i was able to share my feelings and that you were able to relate. Always nice to know you are not alone.

  2. I hope you get back to Cairo asap or be able to meet somewhere in the middle. In the meantime, I empathise with your situation. After being back for 6 months, I am ready to be back on the road. Good luck with whatever this year brings

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Bec, thank you so much. I hope I make it back to Cairo soon too. Just want things to get better. I hope you get back on the road soon too.

  3. This is wonderful, Jaime! Whatever you end up doing in the next year, I’ve no doubt you’ll take full advantage of the experience!
    Sam recently posted..February 2014 Report

  4. I am in month 17 of doing the exact same thing after buying a one-way ticket to Bangkok. Sitting here in China, after hitchhiking around over the last few days, seeing amazing things, and thinking to myself, “OMG it’s TUESDAY and I’m doing THIS!” I remember the cubicle days and I just don’t want to go back to that. I feel the same now – I don’t want things, tons of money, or anything society tells me I need. I’m so happy with just the things I have on my back. I’m grateful travel has given me that.

    I’m worried about when it ends, though. Whether by meeting Mr. Right and deciding I have to settle down, finally getting tired of it (does that happen, though?), or running out of money before figuring out how to make more on the road. I suppose it probably will happen eventually. I’m about to turn 28 myself, and I’ve left Mr. Wonderful behind as well. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m there with you.
    Kristin Addis recently posted..No Wonder Hoi An is So Loved

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Kristin, ahhh yes I miss those days so much and I will be back in those days again. I guess the only good thing is I really love my job right now. So that helps. As for worrying about your trip ending I’d say don’t, but you can’t help it. I guess we will never know what will happen or have it figured out but we just got to keep going and enjoying our lives. We may never know the answer so I guess lets just be and let things be and well glad we aren’t alone.

  5. I love you Jaime. I know it’s hard but you do know what you’re doing even if you don’t 🙂 As everyone keeps telling me lately, it’s not about having everything figured out (apparently no one actually does), it’s just about knowing what you want and going after it. Something you are very good at. I know it’s been hard for you being home, but you’ll be back traveling soon! We’ll meet up somewhere in South America. 😉 Love you.
    Val recently posted..A one knight stand.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Aww I love you too Val & your comment is so right on. It’s true no one really has everything figured out. We are all going through our own battles and we’ll get through them. I will be back on the road soon and well would be awesome to see you in S.A.

  6. When I got to the part where you write …’and now I am crying.’ I started crying, too! I hope you’ll get to see HIM again, and who knows what the future holds for you two? 🙂 I am so happy that you figured out a way to live life on your terms and not ‘the life society has dictated us to live here in the United States’.
    Dani recently posted..Bolivia’s Cerro Rico – Risking my life inside the ‘mountain that eats men’

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Aww Dani, I’m sorry I made you cry. I just hope I do see him again, because I have no clue if I will or won’t. For now just continue living life on my terms. Miss you tons.

  7. Great post! I can totally relate to that. It was the same when I came back home after “only” 7 months working and travelling trough Australia and New Zealand. Now 1 1/2 years later, I cannot ignore my itchy feet anymore and I did the change. Two weeks ago I quit my job to travel the world again for not knowing how long (see post below). I wish you all the best and maybe we meet in Mexico sometime soon as I plan to head there first in September
    Stef recently posted..About finding courage and following my heart (and why you should do so too)

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Stef, I am so happy you are back on the road. That is so damn awesome!!! I hope our paths do cross, that would be so awesome.

  8. It must be so tricky going back to reality! I have a question though…I haven’t been reading your blog very long, so you might have already covered this, but it sounds very much like you want to be on the road again. Why not go travelling again? What’s stopping you from leaving again in the near future?
    Catherine recently posted..Reading List #1

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Catherine, oh yes reality sometimes sucks…lol. Oh & yes I am planning on leaving again in July and this time with no set return date. Just going to go and see where it all leads to. Right now only thing stopping me from leaving again is money so I am saving to have a bit.

  9. This post bought tears to my eyes. I really hope that you will see HIM again one day. And when you get to South America let me know as I am currently cruising around there too.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Surviving The World’s Most Dangerous Road

  10. Oh Jaime! I’m not sure I have anything to say to you that I haven’t already said a million times. Life just IS tough, though most of us would rather have it all figured out and easier. I’m so proud of you for constantly pursuing your dreams no matter what. I hate that your friends at home don’t understand, but I think that is to be expected. People understand what is “normal” and what you’re doing goes completely against that. The overwhelming majority of people choose the path that is well worn and predictable, and you’re making your own path. To most people, that’s scary, and they don’t understand how you could purposely choose a life that is so scary/risky/unpredictable. What they also don’t understand is that to you, their life is scary and risky in its predictability. But that’s ok. The world needs all kinds, right? I’m so looking forward to hearing your stories of traveling through South America. And I truly hope that some day you and your Egyptian man can find a way to make things work.
    Ali recently posted..Our Chaotic Introduction to Krabi, Thailand

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I know Ali, thank you for always being so supportive. Don’t know what else I can say to your kind words. I love you tons & so hope our paths cross again. Would love to do a lot of nothing again with you jaja. Oh & yes can’t wait to be back on the road.

  11. Jaime,

    I found your blog from a Google search of “how much does it cost to travel the world”. I actually just moved to Houston a month ago, and would love to meet you and talk about some of your experiences during your travels. I can’t believe that you managed to spend two years traveling the globe for less than $28,000! That is absolutely incredible… your trek is truly inspiring, and I plan to do something similar before I’m too old to really enjoy the trip. In any case, if you’d be interested in meeting up some time, you can send me an email to the address I entered. I’m living inside the loop, but would be willing to meet wherever is convenient for you.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hey Matt, well I am glad you emailed me and we have talked there!!! Hope we meet up tomorrow as planned.

  12. Hi Matt,
    I just returned from an 18-month RTW and spent only $24,000. It can be done! I didn’t do any formal budgeting. I just did everything as cheaply as possible. Good luck and happy trails!

  13. Matt:
    BTW, you’re never too old! I did it alone, had a blast! I’m 54!

  14. Time puts everything in its place. You gain experience from the past and now it’s time to live the present with a new worldview and build a better future. Wish you good luck and new achievements!
    Anna recently posted..Traditional Tour

  15. I can completely relate. My first time I went to Brazil I met someone special, leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. He promised he’d come visit me in the states, but that was still a vague plan. However, he did come visit, twice! And now I am living in Brazil with him! I know that the situation doesn’t always work out to be together immediately, but if there’s a will there’s a way. I’m sure you’ll find a way!

  16. Hanna Nyberg says:

    Oh my, most of this is like reading my own mind! Although I haven’t been home for long. After 21 months on the road, 17 of those with my <3, we flew home to different countries last week. I don't know what to make out of my mind. I can't cope with being 'home', couse it doesn't feel like home anymore. Just a very familiar place where nothing has changed, except me. And no one here GETS IT. I don't know how much of my feeling of emptiness thats from loosing my <3, or from not being on the road, living/meeting/seeing people..
    It truly feels more comfortable reading your post, knowing there is ways to achieve happiness as long as you're open-minded and trusting your instincts, no matter what's 'supposed to be right'.
    Thank you, I needed this!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hanna, sorry to hear you are going through this too. I am glad though that you know you are not alone. It’s always nice to know others are going through similar feelings. It’s so hard to explain how we feel to others who just will never know how it feels to deal with coming back home from a trip that changed your life. I’ll be honest it does get better with time, but the feelings just never go away. You’ve seen & done thing that not many people around you have and you have changed in so many ways and above all you see the world in a different way now. YOu just have to take it day by day and make the most of what is happening in your life at that moment. In the end always be true to yourself.

  17. Hi Jamie
    What have you been doing since you wrote this article? don’t settle for less that your dream. Have you ever considered starting an online business to live your life on your terms? It can happen for you! I am not selling anything, but if you want some tips,contact me. I am starting a consulting business and I am trying to find a niche market within the travel feild or concerning those who love places, story, travel.

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