What’s Next

What’s next?

I don’t know. I might move to San Diego, spend some time in New York City, go hiking for a month, crash on my mom’s couch — or all of the above. I’ve decided to suspend my job search for now and figure it all out later.

The book I mentioned in my last post, Tribe, also gave a nod to Peace Corps Volunteers stating that, like soldiers, they often find returning to a modern country more difficult than adjusting to life in the developing world. (Apparently one in 4 even develop short-term PTSD).

“A person living in a modern city or a suburb can, for the first time in history, go through an entire day – or an entire life – mostly encountering complete strangers. They can be surrounded by others and yet feel deeply, dangerously alone.”

While at times I’ve felt isolated here, I am preparing for a different kind of loneliness that I’m sure I’ll feel at home, where apparently the average attention-span for hearing about my experience is 30 seconds. (Forgive me now and tell me to shut up later when I start to bore you.)

What will I talk to people about if they don’t want to hear about The Gambia? What do people wear in America these days? What number iPhone are we on now? Will I be able to keep up with the American work life? Do I want to keep up with the American work life? (Maybe I should jump off to another country for a new adventure? ;) )

For the first time in forever, I don’t really know what’s next. (Hopefully not PTSD.) What I do know, is coming home will be a transition, one I am admittedly a bit nervous for since I haven’t really lived in the States since 2011. But mostly I’m excited. In fact, I’ve been so wrapped up in excitedly counting the days until I return home, I had forgotten that meant I also have to say goodbye.

Between all the questioning about what’s next and trying to figure out what the answer to that question is, I haven’t been present here lately. Distracted by frantically wrapping up projects, applying for jobs, planning vacations and imagining my perfect first meal,my countdown here suddenly shrunk to 35 days left in village.

I am still beyond excited to see mountains, eat something different every meal for a month, drink red wine that’s not from a box, take hot showers, wear skirts above my knees and catch up with old friends. But that all will be there when I get there.

So for the next 35 days, I’ve decided to be here and here only.

–JDF