Post-Traveling Blues After Backpacking Around South America

Transitioning back to my life in the US after my trip around Peru, Bolivia, and Chile was difficult.

Arriving back in Los Angeles at 11 PM after 24 hours of flying on four different international flights was a bad idea (even though it did save me a lot of money on airfare). I had to sleep on the floor of LAX at 1 AM (which was, surprisingly, pretty comfortable) and wake up at 6 AM for my final flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

For two weeks I struggled with a mean case of jet lag.  I was supposed to go to my friend’s house party a couple weekends back but ended up falling asleep on my couch on Saturday night at 10 PM while watching “Orange is the New Black”.

Classes at Berkeley have also been especially emotionally challenging this semester.

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I have been doodling a lot in class lately.

For example, in my “Women in Business” class we spent two hours this morning watching “Half the Sky”, a documentary that in part focuses on child sex slavery in Cambodia and child rape in Sierra Leone. I can’t stop thinking about the interview with the nine year old girl who got her eye stabbed out by her pimp in Cambodia… and was still forced to keep “accepting” customers as her stabbed eye was bleeding. I just can’t understand how a person could sell a little girl into sex slavery or want to have sex with a little girl.

Also, in my “Personal Leadership” class, we were instructed to draw out a life map of our lives. I just finished my map a couple of hours ago and started thinking, “This is it? This is all my life is?!” As I looked over my drawing I saw that I had included all of my major life events and still felt vaguely disappointed.

I am also pretty sure I failed my economics midterm this morning. I am hoping the grading curve will save me.

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Sometimes at university I get to go on cool trips like building marshmallow tours at Google a few weeks back

Then there is also the fact that I am graduating in a few months (oh my goodness I am graduating from college– how did this happen?!) and do not have anything lined up for after graduation which is a whole other shit show in itself. This is also complicated by the fact that I can’t stop thinking about backpacking the John Muir Trail in June and planning a possible trip to Thailand.

As I write this I know I have a lot to love about my life in Berkeley.

For example, in a couple hours I am going to a talk with a woman who is on the list of Time’s “100 Most Influential People”. The speaker is also giving us a free boxed dinner. Chile made me pretty broke so I am especially excited for the free dinner.

Also, I get to sit in an air conditioned building and play on my computer for a couple hours to share all of this with you. I know that if I was born in Cuzco I would probably be working in a food stand or trying to get tourists to pay me to take pictures of my llama. The added perspective of traveling makes me realize how lucky I am to be living in the US.

Still, I would love to be back on the beaches of Chile or exploring the salt flats in Bolivia. I love my fast-paced life in Berkeley but I feel like I learn more traveling than I do in university. Traveling is also cheaper than tuition but that’s a whole other blog post.

I hope this post reaches someone who is also feeling the post-traveling blues. You are not alone. Happens to me too.

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