‘What have you been up to?’

Posted on 03.08.2013


I’ve been trying to figure out how to word it, and then a friend told me she liked a poet. So I went and watched a few Youtube videos of her, and she struck a nerve with this one, and it’s prompted a whole hell of a lot:

I hate answering the question: ‘What have you been up to?’, mostly because it either won’t make sense, or might seem a bit unbelievable to the person who is asking.

DSCN8376sThe last 5 months? That’s an interesting story. No one ever quite believes it when I tell them I am technically homeless and country-less, because I’m sitting right in front of them and aren’t I an American? Well yes, but I never said I was staying. The last 5 months? I haven’t stayed still except to rest when it was too hot. There has been no rest. There has been no peace. There have been no final answers. But I can show you some photos of the places I’ve been to.

The last 5 years? I get that a lot, mostly from the people I run into in the states who don’t know what blogs are, or how to read past their status updates on facebook. The last 5 years? Well after I planned your last high school reunion, I ran away to Europe and learned a lot, specifically, about what I DON’T want. I taught a lot of Germans English, traveled a lot more than you probably will, and learned an awful lot about myself, other people, how terrible expectations can be, and exactly what culture shock and reverse culture shock means. I can show you more photos.

What are my plans? Not the same as yours are or were. No kids. Never own a house. Never stop. Never live too close to the family, as I didn’t even get to grow up close to them. Most likely a destination wedding without paper invitations that you won’t hear about until after it’s happened. I’m going to bypass my degree completely and continue to get paid to travel the world, teaching the international business language. I will NEVER own a Ravens or Orioles jersey, will NEVER throw a super bowl party, will probably not plan more than your next high school reunion and the low-key wedding you won’t be coming to.

I really appreciate the friend in Baltimore whom I hadn’t seen for five years. She said to me, ‘it’s nice to see you, but I already know what you’ve been doing. How are you enjoying traveling?’. Thanks for reading and not making me repeat myself for the thousandth time. I also really appreciate the family I haven’t seen in 6 years treating my return to the states as no big deal, just nice to see you and let’s have some dinner. Thanks for not asking all of the questions.

To have to say how much I’ve done and where I’ve been makes me feel like I am monopolizing an entire meeting, telling you things you might not even believe or find all that important, when all I really want to do is say ‘it’s great to see you again, been to any good concerts lately?’, because I didn’t get many of them in the past four years, and that’s a quantifiable thing we can discuss without you comparing my life to Eat, Pray, Love. It’s nothing like that. No praying here. And sadly, I haven’t been to India yet.

It’s nice to see you, I’ve been all over the place, not done yet, and the things I’ve learned would take the rest of our lives to discuss. I’m sorry. But it’s nice to see you. No, I don’t know where I’m going yet. I just know that I’m never stopping.

Posted in: life, travel