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A year ago today I was on the other side of the world, standing in one of the most beautiful cities on Earth: Prague.

It was my first time out of the U.S, and I had flown across the ocean on my own to start an adventure. That’s what I called it. That’s what I was looking for. An adventure. Looking back, thinking about everything I did a year ago, I am amazed. I was so brave. Maybe braver than I am now.

I have spent 7 of the last 12 months traveling and living abroad. A little over a year ago, I hadn’t been anywhere, and now: I’ve eaten street meat on Prague’s cobblestones, wandered around Warsaw, spent a week meeting my relatives in cities and tiny villages all over Ukraine, climbed waterfalls and ridden bare-elephant-back in Bangkok, hunkered down in Seoul, explored Bavaria with my German cousins and my mom, gotten trapped in Toronto in a snowstorm, and eaten raspberry gelato on the riverbanks of Mozart’s hometown, Salzburg, Austria.

Now, I’m tired. I’m home, and my bed is awfully comfortable, let me tell you. My bones are weary. I feel ancient, like I have lived too many lives. I don’t want to go anymore. I want to stay.

But me, I’m for adventures. That’s what I want — at least, I think it still is, for now. Why am I hesitant to keep moving? Isn’t that what we always have to do? Life doesn’t stop. There are so many places to see, so much to do, so many people to meet.

I’m thinking about how people say you shouldn’t work doing what you love, because you might grow to hate it — or something like that. I don’t know if I agree — maybe it’s more like, you shouldn’t let what you love become work. And I’m thinking and worrying that that’s what traveling has become for me. Tiresome. It’s not a vacation anymore, not when it’s a year later and you’re still going. It becomes a different beast, yet still a beautiful one. The challenges change, become more difficult, more stressful, compounding over and over.

There is something beautiful and easy about living in your homeland. The people speak your language (on many levels), you’re used to the food, the culture, the transportation systems, the medical systems, the money, banking. You know where to go, what to do, who to do it with. You have friends, people who you’ve grown up with, whether or not you met them in your childhood. You have history there. It belongs to you. It’s simple. It’s easy; there are no visa requirements, no proof of residency, no need to carry your passport with you wherever you go. No translation apps on standby. No stares because you are different.

It’s too easy. Ask anyone who’s returned from abroad after being away for a significant amount of time. It’s so easy! Everything’s in your own language. You can understand everything people say to you, everything people say to other people, stuff you don’t even want to understand — but you do anyway! You can’t help but listen! There’s so much sound! Sound, noise, a language that finally means something to your brain!

Too easy.

Too familiar.

Isn’t it? Wasn’t it? Or have I lost it, that wonderment at things I don’t understand? I’m no longer in love; un-infatuated with newness. It’s been hard. It’s been unpleasant. It’s been a long time. The honeymoon is over! Where are the divorce papers?! Quick, somebody! Someplace? Save me.

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I went to Europe because I was searching for something. Europe wasn’t necessary; somewhere was. Europe happened to be my somewhere. I was just searching. I had been searching for a long time. I thought I might find it, whatever it was, once I got to wherever I was headed. I searched for a month in Europe, and then longer. I couldn’t seem to find it, whatever it was. I found other things, things I expected to find, like new places, with beautiful buildings and interesting history and wonderful people. I found unexpected things, too, like understanding, confusion, sadness, joy. But I never found what I was originally looking for. So I went home.

Home again, home for the holidays, back where I started. It seemed, at first, like nothing had changed, like I had never left. But I was different. I am different. I think, afterall, that I found something. I never knew what it was exactly that I thought I was looking for. But that doesn’t matter, because I managed to find it anyway. I found it. I know now that what I was looking for exists. That it’s out there. That I can go find it again.

What did I find? I call it “acceptance”. Acceptance of the journey. I’ll never know exactly where I’m headed. I think that’s for the best. At least for me. And it’s ok. It’s fine. It’s life. It’s beautiful. It’s a winding journey.

I moved out of my parent’s house for the first time in June. It was weird at first, being around roommates who were not my family and who weren’t designated by birth to care about me or love me. I noticed that right away.

I remember feeling confused and lonely. I thought I was lonely. But I think I was just looking at the world in the wrong way. I thought the world owed me something. I thought the world was supposed to love me. I thought the world was supposed to offer to make me toast for breakfast. I realized a few weeks later that the world doesn’t owe me anything. I just live in it.

In the second week of November I moved back into my parent’s house. I had accumulated a few more belongings since I’d left, like too-tight shiny disco shoes and even more books and a box of pasta. Four days later I moved to Prague.

Moving out of your parents’ house is strange and hard. But after that, after you stop believing that the world and the people in it owe you something, it’s easy. Moving is easy. Moving to Prague, was, surprisingly, easy. (Aside from the leaving your friends and family part.) You just get on a plane.

The world doesn’t owe me anything. It’s not going to hand me anything. So, I guess I have to take it.

People have called me brave. I am not brave. I just do things because I want to do things and I know I should do things because doing things is better than not doing things. Moving is better than not moving. Telling the boy you like him is better than not telling the boy you like him. Buying Nutella is better than not buying Nutella. Etc, etc, etc. That’s not bravery. That’s just doing. That’s just taking stuff, in a way, from the world.