Saturday, September 22, 2018

Day 0 - At Home in Los Angeles

Duk-Guk (Bone broth and rice dumplings)
When I came home, my cat Jeh Pan looked at me confused. Did he come back from the dead?  He thought. He let me pick him up and recognized my smell, but it took him a day to accept the fact that I was indeed back.

He has a new friend named Jeffrey now. There's a new chicken, but my favorite one died. Other than a few more cobwebs being in my room, home looked almost exactly the way I left it. It made me feel like I almost never left on such a big trip.

The next morning, my mother made me Korean chicken soup with rice dumplings. It was awesome, but I still had some jet lag and woke up at 4AM. I woke up feeling groggy, even though I slept enough hours.

It felt like I entered into a time warp - where time flowed much slower. There were no new people to meet, no new places to see, no exotic animals, no exotic foods, or new environments. Generally, people appeared to follow the course of the life they set themselves on, before I left.

How do you tell someone in one conversation how much your life has changed on such a big trip? How do you tell them about how much of what you've seen, experienced, tasted, and learned changed how you now saw the world? How about the fact that my communication skills in other languages also improved? That's why I felt like I entered into a world - where time was so much slower.

I had a boxing coach who always said that everything has a beginning and an end; so I guess coming home is a new beginning marked at Day 0. I traveled for 443 days, starting on July 1, 2017. My journey ended on September 18, 2018. I started and returned from and to Los Angeles. During that time, I was in 9 countries: Peru, Colombia, Argentina, South Africa, Mauritius, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Sweden. I've probably met over 1,000 new people. I've traveled an estimated 73,600 km or 46,000 miles. And during all that time, I lived out of a small suitcase and a backpack.

And that's it folks. My 2017-2018 sabbatical is official over. It's time to start a new chapter in my life.

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