Lately I’ve felt a bit off and I can’t figure out if it’s a move toward personal growth or the subtle beginnings of an emotional breakdown. The reason for this is because, while I hate to admit it, I really dislike my experience of the east coast of Australia.
I know, I know . . . most people are thrilled to travel with an open-ended time frame in Oz or anywhere else. And most of the time, I do enjoy seeing new things and going to new places. But for some reason I just can’t get into the east coast. Nothing really makes me say, “wow.” Is this apathy of mine just limited to the east coast or has the freshness of long-term travel completely worn off? I don’t know.
What I do know is that I didn’t have any expectations for the east coast. I didn’t research it to death like I usually do for my trips. I just let life lead me where it wanted to and waited to see what happened. But somehow the east coast doesn’t call to me like the Red Center did. So far the east coast locations range from being completely touristy to almost invisible. I enjoyed the Whitsunday Islands, but I haven’t really found an east coast town that I’d want to visit again.
I am also realizing that I miss being able to share experiences with people I know well and who know me well in return. There’s no point in making an inside joke when you’re the only one “inside.” Sometimes there are things that new friends can never understand because they haven’t lived through life with you, and all you need is an old friend at your side.
And even though I enjoy meeting new people, being the unofficial rep for the Hawaii Visitors Bureau is tough. It’s exhausting trying to explain there are different islands in Hawaii and each one is unique. I mean, I’ve even had to explain that Hawaii is part of America and that we speak English there. But, luckily, I haven’t had to tell anyone that we don’t live in grass huts anymore. Usually my default reaction is to agree with everyone by saying, “Yes, Hawaii is great. You should visit one day.” It’s just easier that way.
Oddly enough, another thing I miss while traveling is speaking Pidgin. No one would understand me if I did. I wonder if I’m losing my Pidgin by not using it? Can that be possible? Will I return home and have a completely different accent and sound funny when I try to use Pidgin again? I mean, it’s not like I use Pidgin every day when I’m home, but I hear it around me and it’s so easy to slip back and forth between it and proper English. In Oz, there’s nothing remotely similar to it.
So what’s the meaning behind all of this emotional dissatisfaction? Maybe I’m finally supposed to learn how special Hawaii is and come to appreciate it? Maybe I’m supposed to be grateful for an island upbringing, even with all its pros and cons? Maybe I’m supposed to realize that physical distance doesn’t always equal emotional freedom? Maybe I just need to travel to a different part of the country, or another country entirely, to find a spot that connects with me? Maybe the path to true enlightenment is to stop thinking and live in the moment?