Epilogue: Get us back on the road!

First full day back in Hong Kong. I’m definitely going through reintegration shock. I can’t believe I have so much stuff. Opening one box after another…. What?! MORE clothes?? Ridiculous. I can’t get myself to dress properly, I don’t know how to comb my hair. Why do I have all this stuff? I’ve let go of it all already… Ironically, now I can’t seem to let go living out of the backpack. Already 24 hours into civilized living but I still want to wear the same old tee & jeans.

First reaction when the train pulled into HK’s Hung Hom station – none. My mind drew a blank. Everything looked too familiar, as if nothing had happened, as if we had never left. We just somehow somewhere dropped into the scene like a dream, we didn’t quite know how we got here. We came from a different dimension and it’s like recovering from amnesia – I find myself questioning if I had really been away for that long.

The dim sum lunch that we had been craving for weeks, finally laid out before us. All my favourite dishes right there like a reward for everything we had been through. But I wasn’t hungry. It didn’t taste good. I didn’t want to be home.

On the drive back to the house I grew up in, I saw buildings creating a new skyline over the old Kai Tak airport. Everytime I returned to HK I’d think how beautiful the city looked. This time was different. I drew comparisons to the amazing things I had seen and I couldn’t help think, God HK looks ugly. The world had moved on architecturally but my hometown was stuck in the past.

The most ironical feeling hit when I laid on our bed. I had slept on well over a hundred different surfaces over the last year but our own bed felt the most foreign to me. I didn’t sleep well. I miss being the stranger, being the outsider, being nobody. I miss the comfort of unfamiliarity, the wonders of seeing everything for the first time, being fascinated by things that others just take for granted.

Stephen told me to make the most of now. Don’t go back to the 9 to 5 because “only normal people do that”. I’ll try… but maybe I will settle with normal.

I don’t regret a thing and would do it all over again. Trade in 6 figure salaries for 6 figure distances of road-pounding. Those long hard hours on the roughest buses turned out to be some of the most ‘mindpeace’ hours of my life – there’s nothing more meditating than staring out a window of rolling scenery in a foreign land with zero agenda…. and not a fuckin clue what will happen next.

China is on my mind now. I have to experience my own country. It will be different, not real travel because everything will come easy. Food, communication, finding our way. No more “foreigner’s privilege”. But I hope it’ll be worth it. Seeing my own land is half an excuse. The other half?

I guess travel is always gonna be an itch.

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6 Comments

  1. 横箫斜吹雨 says:

    羡慕,向往……

    把你们的博客放在了收藏夹,每天有空的时候,就翻出来,看看你们的旅程,文字、心情,很舒心,很nice^_^ ~~~

    • 山 him says:

      谢谢啊!收到你的信息也让我们很高兴,希望可跟更多中国读者一起分享这世界和人类的美!

  2. TC says:

    Am green with envy! For starters, I don’t have a six-figure salary to quench my thirst for travel. But I’d agree with your counter cultural shock and that melancholy felt when the plane landed at the Hong Kong International Airport – I used to get that lots whenever I came home for hols from Tokyo and Cardiff. Good luck with your future travels!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can’t help wondering…how are you guys doing these days? After almost a year of travelling, is it possible to going back to living a normal life? (really interested to know….)

    • 山 him says:

      Resettling back to “normal” life is a shock in itself! But everything is well, we have so many memories to look back on and more adventures in the future to look forward to :) An experience like this changes you in many ways and when you’re lost or confused, it’ll remind you of your values and point you back in the right direction.

  4. eugene says:

    I’m so inspired by your blog. I’ve always wanted to explore Central Asia. One of these days, I just might do what you guys did. =)

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