I realize now that being in a different country was not the only dramatic change, after stepping off of the plane in Barcelona. In an instant, we began a whole new routine, in a new home, living a completely different way of life. It’s quite shocking to leave your normal routines of school or work behind in Canada, and dive into a new nomadic way of life in Europe. We visited 8 countries in 2 months, while living out of tents. Our bodies were constantly on the move, and our minds were constantly busy with new information, seeing new sights, and meeting new people. Of course, this unique type of journey would have a strange effect on our minds! When we experience more externally, our minds perceive time slower. When we were in our normal routines at home, time went by faster, because everything was familiar. But in Europe, there is an abundance of things, information, and ideas coming at us, and it’s difficult to process.
My perception of time and the constant flood of new experiences caused me to be in a strange head-space for the duration of the trip. Like I’ve explained, I seemed to perceive time slower. My head was so flooded with all of these new experiences that it began to get drained. Time also seemed to go by rather quickly at some points, depending on how you looked at it. I was constantly dealing with this contrast. Near the end of the trip it seemed like we had been in Europe for a year, but looking back, the weeks seemed to fly by in a blur.
We barely had time to begin processing one experience or piece of information, before another one took its place. My head was either too overloaded, or too tired to ever really be in the moment: to ever really allow new experiences and information to sink in. Because of this, the reality of where I was never really hit me. This is one of the reasons I believe coming home is one of the most important parts of any journey. Now that I’m back home, my mind can have time to process the trip normally. I can now be in a normal state of mind. Looking back at the trip, I realize just how awesome of an opportunity I have had. I begin to contemplate the reality that I’ve just been in Europe for 2 months, and have had the chance to see all of these incredible places I’ve been hearing about my whole life. I’ve camped for 8 weeks straight, and have seen some of the most famous things in the world. Now there are no more tent set ups, breakfast shifts, bus days, museums, or new places to see next week. All of this is now behind me. Now I can look back at the trip as a whole, process it, filter it down, and appreciate how great it was.