I'm at Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok, Thailand. My friend is already on his plane while I kill a few more hours waiting for mine. I'll be traveling for the next 28 hours to get back to the states--including a 9 hour layover in Narita where I'll take a walk outside to get a small feel for Japan.
This enormous chapter just ended. After studying for four months in Seoul, South Korea, I spent two weeks in Thailand, one week in Bali. I met hundreds of people, was inspired to digital nomadism, got my phone and wallet stolen, and saw the sun rise in Burma. I wrestled a baby elephant in knee deep mud in Chiang Mai. I taxied in tuk-tuks through traffic patterns that made my commute at home look absolutely pedestrian. I drove a scooter around Bali and hit 110kph. I met lots of beautiful women, friendly and cheerful men, learned token Thai, Korean, and Balinese. I kissed a lady boy. Ate a smoked tarantula. Had a small Thai woman crack my back so hard I almost fainted. Ate the most mouth-watering street food, and somehow never got sick. I yoga'd and did ecstatic dance in Ubud. Snorkeled in Amed. Surfed in Canggu.
I resolve to come back.
The trip, as transcendental as it was, didn't much change me, I think. I had precisely the same feelings of self-doubt and insecurity no matter where I was. There were good days and there were bad days. A part of me held out hope that those features of personality disappear with a dramatic change of environment. But that's not how things work. And counterintuitively, the "answer" is always right there in each moment. Gratitude, serenity. Peace. There's no need to search outside yourself. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.
I'm spending a week with my little sister in San Diego, where my mom is already visiting, and I come back home a few days before my last semester of college. A rather abrupt transition, but it will be nice to be back home.