by Anna Idler
“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind… because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” – Frederick Buechner
Back in the day when I was studying abroad in Rome, I got homesick after our fall break. Rachel and I had come off of a wild two weeks with our friends, visiting Ireland, France and Spain before midterms. We all radiated anticipation, sprinting with our luggage to propeller planes between countries. Nineteen years old and constantly on the move.
We went out almost every night: playing beer pong with Guinness in Dublin, sipping wine in Paris before the clubs, running around the beach bars dressed as Crayola crayons in Barcelona on Halloween. When we finally got back to Rome I was exhausted and missing my family so much. I was worried similar angst and over-tiredness would happen during this trip.
My dad often references this line from John Steinbeck’s novel Travels with Charley when he talks to me about my trip. The book is about an eye-opening road-trip Steinbeck took in his mid-fifties across the U.S., only accompanied by his dog Charley. He writes:
“So much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world.”
When we’re well-rested on a trip, everything we see is groundbreaking and beautiful. But it’s normal to get fatigued. As the weeks go by and we go through obstacles, we might not see everything as fresh and exciting as we did in the beginning of our journey.
Maybe it’s because Rachel and I are older now, maybe because it is only the two of us, maybe because we know we need stamina for this long-term trip and can’t burn energy on too many late nights and strong drinks. Probably it’s a combination of all three. But I have had many more instances of “morning eyes” then “evening eyes” during these past couple months of travel.
I am staying rested, seeing incredible things but taking time to decompress as well. I miss my family and my friends, but we talk all the time, and I know they’ve been having an amazing summer with adventures of their own.
My family came to Mykonos recently to visit; I ran to my parents and sister when they arrived at the hotel the first day. It felt so good to hug all of them! We packed so much into our short time together: hiking the archaeological Island of Delos, taking a boat trip to swim and snorkel, exploring Elia Beach, and just hanging out and catching up. Leaving them was so difficult, but knowing we would see our friend Meg at our next stop made it a little easier.
Meg is our friend and roommate from college who loves to travel as well. She, Rachel and I rented an apartment in Santorini. We went to a red and black beach and hiked to Oia, a town famous for its sunsets. We jumped off cliffs into Amoudi Bay and exchanged summer stories, reminisced on college and laughed a lot.
Seeing familiar faces along the way through this trip has been rejuvenating for Rachel and I, every time. The support from our family and friends is overwhelming, and as we begin this next leg of our journey from Europe into Southeast Asia I feel braver knowing we have so many on our side cheering us on.
Europe, it’s been real. Bangkok, we’re (KINDOF) ready for you.
Follow Anna’s world travels:
26 year-old Anna Idler lives in Montgomery County, PA and is a freelance writer for Montco Happening. To learn more about her travels, check out her website Outlaw Summer.