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Carrying Travel Into My Everyday Life

Sophie Thoms

I'm anticipating my return home—both for better and for worse. 

My internship ends in less than three weeks; I will have to leave Arequipa, HOOP, my guesthouse, the community I’ve been working in, and my friends, who are more a family to me by now.

It’s hard to write it down, it makes it real.

I’m already thinking about how it is going to be, going back home. I’ve done it before and know the stages. The joy of seeing your family, your friends after a long time: it’s priceless. Every day another meet-up, telling all your stories, showing some pictures (nobody wants to see all of them, honestly) and hearing about everything that’s happened while you were away.

The little things you couldn’t do abroad, like going to your local supermarket and buying all the food you missed, driving a car again, visiting all your favourite cafés and shops in your hometown. Every action, drive and walk feels different after such a long time, everything brings you happiness, even the most mundane things like singing to a song in your car with your sister.

But also: missing your life abroad. Hearing a song on the radio that reminds you of dancing in the club and starting to cry because you miss your tribe so much. Looking at pictures and trying to bring the stories to paper and somehow sharing your experiences with your people at home but not being able to.

After a couple of weeks everything feels like you never left, your daily life has you again. That's okay, but I do home some things stay changed.

Slowly realizing the experiences you had, the freedom of your life there, how happy you were every day. How you’ve changed—not your personality but your thoughts, how you see the world, how your views and opinions differ from the ones you had before your trip.

After a couple of weeks everything feels like you never left, your daily life has you again. And you realize how nothing much has changed at home.  

And that’s okay, for a time.

But I do hope that some things stay changed.

I want to keep some attributes I gained here, different things I learned by working and also by meeting and observing people, my friends and strangers alike. Like the chilled attitude here, taking my time for things, not stressing over tiny problems and being open for unexpected changes and opportunities. But also, standing up for myself, not letting anyone give me less than I deserve. Working for a good cause, having the feeling to add a tiny, tiny, little bit to making the world a better place. Living every moment to the fullest, having Mondays as my favourite day because there is a whole new week full of experiences ahead. Not limiting myself, enjoying life just because life. Saying "yes" more often. Dancing more—be it in a club or at family gatherings—and not losing the South American beat.

It's not going to be easy. The trot of daily life makes it hard and I will have to fight to stay the same; but fight I will. 

Every trip, every country, every person I’ve encountered leaves a mark and that’s probably the best souvenir there is.

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Published in Volunteer Abroad Blogs
Sophie Thoms

Sophie Thoms is currently volunteering with a NGO called HOOP (Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru) in Arequipa, Peru. As a social work student, she is assisting the social worker of the organization in workshops, helping in individual cases and supporting the local community to break the circle of poverty.

Website: https://sophiesroad.wordpress.com/

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