It’s occurred to me. I finished what I set out to do.
I was having dinner, conversing with a friend newly returned from Cambodia, and then I was washing the dishes and I realized I’d finished it. What I set out to do a year ago.
Allow me to be the first to admit that I went traveling with a lot of false hopes. Although there’s no such thing, sure, they were a little high. I wanted an apartment, a steady job that lasted 3-4 months, paid $3000+living expenses so I could travel another 3 months, plus a girlfriend. These are all nice, dumb things to want when traveling overseas for the first time. Nobody gets a decent apartment in a major suburban center (which is where I wanted it) for that long. Employers don’t wanna train you and then see you drive off into the sunset of Uluru, or the GBR, or lord knows where else. And I could hardly talk to girls enough to con them into a funny travel photo. All in all, unreasonable expectations at best. I came back from my trip having had the experience of a lifetime, humbled.
Fast forward three months. Those three months aren’t important. I started living in a hostel called Pacific Tradewinds in September, looking for work or an apartment, but admittedly half-assed-ly. But I didn’t half-ass cleaning the dishes, I didn’t half-ass the stairs when I was asked to clean them for a free night, and I was hired there in a matter of six weeks. I had fun. I lived mostly on free stuff, spending very little. I hung out with different people and different girls. I got into Consumating. My life changed, becoming less solipsistic, while more hedonistic, more community-driven, but more selfishly goal-oriented. I enjoyed my life.
I had to move on, eventually. Come February it was time to move out of the hostel. It took me and my girlfriend and my roommates until April to find it. Those were weird months. It wasn’t until late May that I found another job, another hostel. It pays, it’s a commute, and I still get to meet and interact with travelers. I feel cool. I live in the city I love, in my favorite neighborhood, and go to loads of events pretty easy. I get to go to Burning Man. I get to maybe buy a Vespa, a new camera, and cover my student loans. I’m a real citizen and so it feels.
It’s an odd, fulfilling, scary, nostalgic, lovely feeling. I’m done—for the moment. I’ve still got lots of stuff on the list. But for now, I think, I get to say I’m done.