Tina and I flew back into Chicago yesterday morning. Between jetlag and a mind-expanding, life-changing trip, we don’t know which way is up right now.
We didn’t get much rest on the planes. We were able to get an exit row from Seoul to Chicago. The exit row wasn’t as great as I imagined it would be. The area in front of us was a waiting line for the bathroom, which meant it was constantly populated with people talking and parents letting their kids walk about.
Koreans take long craps
One thing about people on our flights to and from Korea is they spend an exorbitant amount of time in the bathrooms. Wait times were often in the 5 to 10 minute range when you were next in line.
Chicago welcomed us with 30 degree temps and the hustle and bustle, advertising, trains and noise that we’re too familiar with. We both have tans and pealing skin thanks to the almost 90 degree temps and equator level UV rays.
Since it was rushhour, we took a train closer to our house, and my brother-in-law Jason picked us up there in our car which he and Michael borrowed while we were gone. From there, I drove. We picked up Talulah.
Driving like a banshee
After not driving for two weeks, and then jumping in the driver’s seat with jetlag and Balinese driving influence, I was a madman behind the wheel. I took two illegal turns like I owned the place.
Talulah welcomed us like a bat outta hell. She was a mad woman. And if actions were language, she was yelling, “Holy shit you were gone forever! I love you! I hate you! Let me wiggle my butt. I need to smell here. And here. Where the hell were you? I missed you like crazy. I hate this place. I love you! Why were you gone so long? What are these smells? I have to smell over here. And now you again. And now bark!”
We dropped Jason off at Gramaphone, Jason and Michael’s record store, and then headed home.
Zoe welcomed us with meows and screams of displeasure for being gone so long and cuddles indicative of an animal who missed her humans. I took Talulah out to play Chuck-it and then bathed the kennel smell out of her fur before taking a three-hour nap that only the sleep deprived can understand.
Last night, I grilled hamburgers packed with cheddar cheese and mushrooms with a side of grilled sweet potatoes. And to keep myself awake, I took Talulah to our local watering hole for a couple beers. I came home, fell asleep on the couch. Woke up, made myself some sleepy tea, and didn’t touch it. I was back asleep before I could say, “Bali.”
The flatulence of decompression
Today we’re trying to decompress. We’re trying to soak up all our memories and store them into places in our minds that we won’t forget too quickly.
We started our trip in a place that we didn’t feel exactly safe. And we left with a feeling of insecurity and fear (you can read about it here). But the meat of the sandwich, everything between the beginning and end of the trip, was nothing short of awesome.
When I think about the trip, it didn’t begin at landing in Bali. It began at the first time I traveled and fell in love with the fears and insecurities of experiencing a different life and culture that contrasted the familiarity of everything I was used to.
When I think about the end of this trip, I wonder what the end really is. It’s not landing back in Chicago. I will likely be unable to count how many times I start a sentence with, “When we were in Bali …” Just like I can’t count how many times I have started sentences with, “When I was in Quebec,” “When I was in France,” or “When I was in Thailand or the Philippines or Cambodia.”
Travel is food. It is nourishing. It’s what lots of people call, “A religious experience.” It does things to the mind that are practically inexplicable. Traveling, as with religious experiences, assure the mind with validations. It boosts levels of empowerment and confidence. It makes the intangibilities of emotions and good feelings feel almost like rock-hard souvenirs that glisten, glow and shimmer in the mind’s sunshiny memories.