Last night we arrived home after a long journey that started off a little rocky. I had paid for and arranged transportation to the airport. We were scheduled to be picked up at 3:30 AM to make it to the airport for our 6:00 AM flight. I had spoken to the company the day before to confirm our reservation. Well, they never showed up. Thankfully our property manager had come to check us out and was waiting with us outside. She attempted to call the company. When that didn’t work out, she called a taxi for us and we made it to the airport in time. I’m currently waiting for a refund from the company that never showed.
Returning home is always bittersweet. When I first walk into my house I’m overwhelmed with the comforting feeling of the familiar. In my opinion our house looks nicer than I remember when I’ve been away for awhile. I also look forward to making food in my kitchen after eating out so many times. Most of all, I love falling asleep in my own bed in a dark, cold, and quiet bedroom. After this trip I was also incredibly thankful for water pressure in the shower! I think I have finally rinsed all the sand out of my hair and the salt off my skin.
When I woke up this morning I looked out the windows and was greeted with gray skies and snow flakes instead of sunshine, palm trees, and the sea. Staring out the window it was hard to believe that just over 24 hours ago I was thousands of miles away.
Travel changes you. Certain tasks that we do every day are different and new experiences. Ordering food, buying groceries, taking money out of the ATMs these are all mundane tasks. But when it’s in a different country, in a different culture, in a different language it’s alluring, enlightening, and confusing.
Travel forces you out of your comfort zone. It pushes you to branch out, take risks, make mistakes, and trust strangers. Being in a different country, in a different culture, in a different language sparks my curiosity. I crave learning as much as I can. Being in a new place my senses are sharpened – new sights, new tastes, new smells, new sounds. I try so hard to absorb it all but it seems thoroughly impossible.
Coming home can be hard. It’s surprising how quickly recent experiences can feel like a distant memory. Was it really just two days ago that my toes were in the sand, the sun warming my face, Spanish flowing all around me? How do I incorporate everything I learned and absorbed into my life now? How do I hold on to the curiosity I feel when I travel? Do I want to be home? Should I take a risk and keep exploring instead of returning home? How do I adjust from having new experiences every day to going back to the routines of daily life? This is something I experience after every trip we take. I like to call it a travel hangover. Change can be hard.
While we were in Puerto Morelos we ran into an older couple several times. They were from New Jersey but had been to Puerto Morelos eight times prior to this vacation. They have also traveled all over Europe, Mexico, Belize and have even booked their summer 2015 vacation to Croatia. Larissa, the woman we met, stated that you never know when the end will be and it’s important to travel now and discover as much as you can before your time is up. Travel is not something you will ever regret doing.
We met another man at the local farmer’s market the day before we left. He was from Montreal. He took a trip to Puerto Morelos several years ago and kept coming back. Eventually he left everything behind and built a home in the jungle outside of Puerto Morelos. In his mind, it’s the best decision he’s ever made.
Puerto Morelos has a piece of my heart. There is a simplicity to this village that I have not found in other places we have been. After being there just a few days, the locals recognized us and always greeted us kindly. All the shops and restaurants are independently owned. Puerto Morelos felt safe, charming, and comfortable. Michal and I loved it so much that we are looking into possibly returning next month.
In the meantime, I am working on adjusting back to reality. I am thankful for the opportunity to travel and discover so many new things. I am trying so hard to hold onto these memories that already feel so distant. And I’m already planning our next trip.