19 August 2009

My Life, Without Me

On the wall at Foundation, hipster/vegetarian/cliche restaurant on Main.

The strangest sensation - the most bizarre trip I have ever taken - was this past 10 days visiting my home in Vancouver.

A lot of people visit their hometowns - they move away and then come 'home' for Christmas or a birthday, say hello to everyone they love and eat at their favourite breakfast dive and then they are back to their lives in their current city, back to their duvet and their cats and social calendar.

This was not that.

See, as a long term traveler with no actual apartment or job, I don't have a home. Basically I was visiting my current lack of home. It felt weird.

My backpack is kind of my living space, as cliched as it sounds, and then probably you could say my Mum's house because my cats and big huge hobo handbag and some high heels are there (everything else is in a cube.)

Getting rid of my backpacker hair with Ben, one of my BFFs and also an amazing hairdresser/dancer/designer. He wins at Gay.

Because I do not have a new home, and this is the closest thing to it, it was here that I stayed most of the nights, interspersed with a few nights at each of the BFF's houses. There was tragedy to deal with and so so much grief to be felt, but the final week was more dedicated to just hanging out despite it all...(which is a lot more expensive in Vancouver than Indonesia.)

Also at Foundation - BFF 1/2 Heppy and her girlfriend Jesse. That, my friends, is the look of love.

I ate all of the things I meant to eat (except that Vera's veggie burger - next time, dear) I saw all of my friends, strolled Commercial Drive, Main St and Granville. I wore make-up, heels, dresses and sweaters. I attended birthday parties and hangouts and suppers and family BBQs. I felt - normal.

Family BBQ - 4 recipes with freshly caught salmon and mango/caper salsa , 3 salads and wine - a Zin. Swoon.

To a point. A lot of the time I was groggy, hungover (a death in the family means a wake. We had a few....) and confused - and wouldn't you know it that the jetlag ended two days before I left? A lot of tears were shed, a lot of frantic preparations finished in the nick of time, a lot of mess got cleaned.

And it all went so sickeningly fast - I kept trying to slow it down and make it wait for me to be sick of it again. Get tired of the grey skies and constant social obligation - but that didn't happen. It was too quick. I didn't even let my mum walk me to security at the airport, for fear that I wouldn't follow through, wouldn't get back on the plane and come back to this weird version of life that I live.

Now here I am, in Hong Kong just for the day. Tomorrow I head to Bali to meet S and Brandon. I am homesick. It is a palpable knob in the back of my throat, just below (above?) my soft palate.

Because not many travelers get to visit and then leave again. No one pops home in the middle of their year away - and now I know why. It is torturous.

I love backpacking. I love traveling. I love Asia. But I also love lipgloss and wine with Xstina and beers with Jason (even if he always drinks a strongbow...)
I love squat toilets. But I also love soaker tubs.
I love following local customs and being respectful. But I also love the nude beach....
And while I love guesthouses and long bus rides, man I also love a nice apartment.

BFF 2/2 - Non sexual life partner, Xstina on her birthday. (In the link, she is the first one!)

Other than the occasional new restaurant or gallery, so little had changed about East Van and my group of friends that I literally felt like I had been gone for only a week. Combined with the horror and sadness we all felt (feel)- it was almost too much to bear.

I had the rare opportunity to see my life happening without me there to live it.

I don't recommend it.

Oh, my strange city. I miss you.....


Sproglet said...

I just found your recommendation for Pi Sith, a tuk tuk driver in Cambodia at Travelfish.org....how random :o)

I've just had 3 months leave confirmed from work for next year and I'm SE Asia-bound!

Argh it's too exciting and I'm now finding myself trawling your blog for further inspiration. I should probably be working really.......



Violet Dear said...

Sproglet - there is a lot to trawl! That is super random about Pi Sith - he is awesome.

Sproglet said...

I totally wrote that without even reading your post first...it's really touching.

Has it made you look forward to going back home any more than you were before? Have a fab time in Bali, I've heard Lombok is amazing too :o)

Sproglet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JKK said...

I had a mini breakdown the year I realized I wouldn't be able to leave a horrible situation & just return home & pick up where I'd left off... it was jarring to see how life just keeps going on @ home whether we're there or not.

ScrewedUp20Something said...

I know how you feel sort of. i don't feel like I really have a home at the moment. I'm going "home" in 10 days, but travelling elsewhere for work every summer and living like a college student (cause I am one lol) when I'm "home" makes me feel like a constant transient.

PS I also <3 the Strongbow and hope to drink the real stuff in London some day.

Jason Thibault said...

We were extremely glad to have you home and your refreshing honesty and beauty has been sorely missed around these parts.
I'm sorry it had to be under those particular circumstances but it was an awesome week and it felt like a bit of a vacation to me (if not to you).
Thanks for getting us all together so many times over a 6-day period.

kanmuri said...

Maybe you just needed one more week to start feeling sick of home. I went back to Canada in 2007, and after three weeks, I just couldn't wait to come back to Japan!

Heppy said...

<3 you. i doubt anyone here knows that you are the bestest bff a person could ask for. thanks for coming home.