This post has been sitting in my head for the better part of three weeks, but if I'm being honest it could very well be more like ten years.
I had just come back from traveling to Guatemala on a family trip. We landed back on U.S soil, we settled back into our American life. As weeks went by and life went back to normal, my perspective had changed, I had changed.
I found that I was harnessing an anger. Anger against my friends, anger against my comfortable life, anger with the cruelty of the world. At the time, I lacked a way of expressing this, so I often mocked, argued and debated those who had no clue of these inequalities.
How could I sit here listening to people gripe about materials, gossip, or other first world problems when children roamed the street barefoot and hungry!
How could people be so unaware!
For the next few years, I juggled with finding a resolution to these thoughts. These ideas would serve me years later, but at the time they manifested as an urge to see more of the world. In 2005, I took a leap and moved to Guatemala. Opportunities being what they were, a few months later I would move to Germany and lived abroad for two years. No certain plan other than to live in Europe.
Serving active duty in the Air Force, a work assignment wrangled me back to the U.S. I found myself in the American south, a place I had no intention (or choice) in visiting. I adjusted with hesitance, but here I was again. A year and a half spent in Louisiana and my path found me out of the Air Force and back home in Rhode Island. I was with family, friends, and loved ones. Life was back to "normal".
This new found normal wore off quickly. I found it it difficult to stop thinking about the world, about the people I had encountered, about the life I had lived outside of the U.S. I knew in time I would find my way back out, but when?
I'm coming up on a decade back in the U.S and I've been patiently observing the society around me. Really tuning into what the average American wants from this experience. Some things are universal. Time with loved ones and a prosperous future. Some of it's unique. Keeping up with the Jones'. Working 8-10+ hour days because life is work. People preoccupied with consuming more to fill an insatiable desire to have the best.
Where we settle for what will get us ahead, rather than exploring who we need to be.
I see an America where there's great promise, yet a divide. An America that is a little lost and very arrogant. An America whose ideals don't quite fit with my own. Perhaps it's me, or maybe that trip so long ago, altered something deep within.
For years , I've been juggling with the idea of leaving again. Flying to the unknown. Starting anew in a distant land and a foreign tongue. If my travels have taught me anything it's that life is far more elaborate than our immediate realities. People live in extraordinary ways, and for me there is no set way of living this life, so I want to continue to test its fluidity.
Whatever it is, America I might need some distance. Maybe in time we can be cool again, but for now an exit strategy is in the works.
Father, traveler, self trained creative, and spectator of life. The quest is to live a life intentionally, to construct a life of my choosing. I left the comfort of home at the age of nineteen and have been enjoying the Viaje as it unfolds ever since