Published on August 15th, 2011


Surreal Reflections Upon Reentry

Turns out that dumping all my “stuff” unearths some interesting bits of nostalgia.  Given that I’m dismantling all my worldly possession here, today I faced the decidedly tedious task of pawing through my 2 drawer filing cabinet, stuffed with all manner of ancient history of my life.

One such bit that emerged is a yellowed note card from “Meegan Services, J.F. Kennedy International Airport” with a notation about a reservation for a room at the “President” hotel (at a rate of a mere $30!)  Given the date of the reservation, the card could only be from the day my two young daughters and I returned to the States from our many adventures in Europe.  I never used the hotel reservation, and instead booked the three of us on a Greyhound bus to Chicago the same day we arrived at JFK (so my folks could lay eyes on their precious granddaughters that I’d dragged around Europe for 8 months.)

On the back of the reservation I’d apparently scribbled myself a note.   From the tone of it, I must have written it whilst cramped in a bus seat whizzing through the night towards the Midwest.

It reads:


Now I’ve done a lot of travelin’ since those days, and each time I’ve returned home I again feel that same giddiness with reliably hot showers, the bliss of being understood when I speak, and yes – the utter genius of a contraption that spits out paper towels!

I’m sure many of we wanderlusts can relate to the surreal feelings of reentry.

How ’bout you – have you ever gazed in awe at a towel dispenser in your home country after wandering amid far away places for a spell?

About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

5 Responses to Surreal Reflections Upon Reentry

  1. Lindsay says:

    I was only gone for seven months and felt disoriented when I came back. We must’ve been on the same wavelength, I posted this mid-August after a return from Cambodia:
    Can’t wait to hear how Vietnam turns out for you! Give a holler if you would like to connect; I’m relatively near in Phnom Penh!

  2. I always find it a big deal to go food shopping when I come back home. It’s so shocking to have so many choices. It’s also overwhelming. But I’ll admit–I like it, too.

    I usually find driving to be the most surreal thing of all. Just feels very strange after not driving for so long.

  3. Kirk says:

    I guess that is something left for me to experience as I have not been out of the country for more than a few days at a time. I can wait until I am able to actually be confused by Starbucks or fascinated by a towel dispenser.

  4. Amy VJ says:

    Not nearly as shocking, but after living in the country for merely three years, I was stunned to find myself paralyzed by the “big city” of little Portland! Was afraid to drive on the highway, was overwhelmed by a Fred Meyer grocery store, traffic sounded horrifically loud, and was completely confused by Starbuck’s coffee…… well, I still am…

    • says:

      Well yes – I mean… who WOULDN’T be confused by Starbuck’s? 😉

      But seriously, Amy – it seems whenever we get really used to one way of life, one routine – it can seem daunting to change ANYTHING! And though my reentry experience that I jotted on that note wasn’t so much fear of NYC or the U.S., etc. (more like simply feeling still FOREIGN, even though I was back in my own home country!), I too felt a bit daunted after living on Vashon Island for 10 years, and moving back to the big bad city of Seattle (which I ADORE!)

      See ya soon AMY – we’re gonna ROCK the “Urban Race” next weekend! 😉

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