Travel is…

IMG_0341I’m a very fortunate person. I’ve traveled and lived in Japan for two years. I’ve done the tourist thing in New Zealand while visiting friends. I’ve visited over half the states in the U.S. Now my great travels are over since I’ve returned. And now life is bland and normal again.

Or is it?

This depressive feeling about place is an aspect of culture shock that I didn’t expect. It’s not so easy to slide back in. Things look the same but so much is different. I’m awkward in my native culture. Well, I think I was always awkward. I’m just a little more aware of it now.

Little things that I took for granted before now need to be thought about extensively. I keep messing up the change at the register, I keep stumbling over people while they talk, I bow to them.

I’ve experienced this grand travel. But what does it mean? Does it mean I’ll always be a foreigner wherever I go? Does it mean that I have to do even greater travel to find that same feeling again, like a drug? I don’t know.

What is travel anyways?

Travel is impermanence
Travel is evolution
Travel is momentum
Travel is excitement
Travel is movement
Travel is activity
Travel is engagement

All are travel.

DSCN0902So even though I’ve returned to my origin, it isn’t a step back. It is a step into a familiar place that has experienced change. There are plenty of places and people to see out there and right here. The back yard is a place of constant amazement. One day is different from the next.

Travel is travel no matter the distance. Try to take in the wonder that is near you. For me, traveling far has given me a new appreciation for what was once near. My hometown is exotic again. Awkward, but cool as I learn my way around again.

Things feel bland and normal but it’s a lie. It’s my body and mind adjusting to something that was once familiar but now changed.

So get out there and travel. Go across the road. Take that road you always wondered about. Look in a corner of your house you haven’t in a long while. Cultivate the wonder that travel can give you. It’s wonderful and it doesn’t have to be as far away as we tell ourselves.

What new thing did you discover today?


About Matthew J. Durocher

Matthew Durocher is a graduate of Michigan Tech University. He acquired his BA in English along with a minor in Music Composition and a certificate in Writing in Spring 2012. His style is one of passion and musicality. One foot is firmly rooted in tradition while the other slides dangerously close to the clouds.
This entry was posted in Culture Shock, Poetry, Reflection, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Travel is…

  1. There and back again. Matthew, I must have missed chunks of your adventures and travels and thoughts these last few months and yet coming back here and reading your last few posts was a journey in itself. Thank you. Oh, the places you will go! (yet). Sharon

    • Great to hear from you! There have certainly been some adventures and I am still processing them. There was a big chunk when I stopped posting because things were way too busy. But now I have to work through all of these new things. But so true. There and back again. It’s a new world again. Thanks for dropping by. Hope to hear from you again soon!

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    This was a great read. “Things look the same but so much is different.” That line resonates a lot with me. I read your post when I was at work, the job I returned to after a year. It’s the same job in the same office, but it feels different being back: there are some new colleagues, I’ve forgotten the office routine, where to go for lunch and so on. It’s the mundane things that jump out at us when we go back to a place we’ve been away from.

    I don’t doubt that changes have happened where we once left and now are back at. Travel is indeed a glorious thing that feeds the soul. When we travel, we learn and grow. So when we come back, maybe we’re also the ones that have changed and have learnt to see things differently 🙂

  3. alakotila says:

    I hadn’t thought of it until just now! At first while living abroad everything made me quite stressed, even silly things, and I was always wondering if I was doing the “right” thing. I was once so nervous about the complete barrage of ritual and expectations at a funeral I had to go to while in Japan that I forgot to bow to the grieving family! I thought that they must find me very rude and I was very distraught about that for more time than I should’ve been. I suppose that is happening again and I haven’t been aware of it as much, because it’s not supposed to happen here. This is home.

    • Hey! Thanks for sharing. It sure is amazing how random experiences pop out of such a large experience that is travel. Constant adaptation and wondering if you’re doing anything right. I don’t know if I ever do anything right. :/ Thanks for commenting and dropping by!

  4. aurakarma says:

    Wow! As someone so eager to go out there and travel such as myself this is amazing to read. Your knowledge, opinions and experiences that you could only get from going out there and doing it, only inspires me more greatly to travel. A terrific piece, well done, I loved it.

    • Thank you. Your words are too kind. I’m glad my experiences inspire you. Travel is something special for sure. Even if our current situation isn’t conducive to world travel, there is a wonderful world to explore close to home. I think I’ve been channeling a little Thoreau recently. 😉 Anyways, thanks a bunch for stopping by and commenting!

      • aurakarma says:

        You are more than welcome!! The is very true! I always find each time I come home how special home really is, sometimes it just takes leaving it all to realise that. You are more than welcome Matthew, thanks for replying!

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