I Challenge You To Take An Adventure. To Travel. To See The World.

Hello Readers! For the first time in since Miami in March, I’m typing this post from the great United States of America. More specifically, Illinois and even more specifically, Lebanon.

As my unofficial editor pointed out, I should probably do a wrap up post. I ignored this advice for 3 weeks or so because my editor – who knows who he his but will remain unnamed – blamed me for the fact that his Coca Cola made him burp. His reasoning? The bottle had my name on it. (I roll my eyes at you, sir!)

More than a month after I returned, I’m finally getting around to writing this post. Maybe I’m over-analyzing myself when I say this, but I think that the reason I’ve held off so long is that the posting of this particular blog makes the end real.

I miss Peru. I really miss Peru. There’s no other way to say it. I never missed the States the way I miss Peru now. This is probably because in Peru, I knew exactly when I’d be back Stateside. Now, I know only that I’ll eventually get back to Peru. And that hurts a little.

Some days, it seems impossible that I even went abroad at all. So much about home hasn’t changed that it feels like I just took a nap in winter and woke up in the summer. Seriously. That’s the only difference. There was snow on the ground when I left and it was gone when I came home. And you’re probably all thinking “well duh, Taylor. That’s what happens when it gets warmer.” But think about it from my perspective, ok? My life changed and nothing else did. Some days I feel like I’m going crazy here. How did so much happen in that little time? I also sometimes feel like the worst person in the world, being so bored here. As if adventures are only possible in foreign countries. Adventure is out there, my friends, no matter where there is. Since my return, I’ve been pretty bad at finding it, something that I hope I can change as I move on with my journeys.

I’ve taken to rereading my blog posts, listlessly scrolling through my pictures, pining for a country and a world that seem as far away as the moon.

When I first got home, it was almost too easy to not talk about Peru. I had work and stuff going on with the family that I really didn’t need to talk about it. I missed it, sure, and thought of it often, but I never felt the need to vocalize those thoughts. I was excited, I had somehow skipped the most heart-bending part of reverse culture shock. However, since coming down to McKendree a week or so ago and being reunited with my friends, Peru has been on the brain. Experiences that I’ve had, interesting comparisons, things that I want to talk about to add to the conversation going on around me. To be fair, my friends have been incredibly accepting of this. They listen, ask me questions, and (I think) try to understand my semester. I don’t want to sound like it’s anyone’s fault other than mine that I feel like a shaken soda can on the brink of explosion. To my friends reading this: rest assured it is my personal anxieties that are causing me to balk. It is not you. I am incredibly grateful for all of you. Have I mentioned that my friends are the most incredible people in this world?

When I’m distracted, it’s not so bad. But I’ve spent much of the last few weeks without many distractions to speak of. Thus the pining continues. Luckily, though, I’ve accepted a position as an IFSA-Butler Global Ambassador. More or less, this gives me an excuse to talk about Peru and *hopefully* encourage other students to study abroad. I’ll be asking a research question (to be determined) that is study abroad related (duh) and working on answering it through the use of surveys and other research tools throughout the year. I hope that this will help curb some of the feelings of “I just did this incredible thing but now that it’s over, it’s done and there’s nothing left.”

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got. I am deeply unsatisfied with this blog post because it lacks a lot of content that I wanted to give to you. I wanted this post to be about how I’ve changed as a human, my new perspectives on life and the value of so many things that we take for granted. I had to leave those things out because there is simply no way to put into words the immense gratitude that I have for Peru. The country is more than Machu Picchu. It is more than llamas and alpacas. I’m tired of shrugging off my experiences. It is incredible to live in another country. It is breath-taking to stand on the top of a mountain. It is humbling to volunteer with children in a remote village. There are no words to describe half of what I saw, what I did, how I felt about it all. I did those things and more, other people didn’t or “could never”, and I’m pretty darn proud of myself. At the same time, I want nothing more than to see other people do what I did. Please. Go. Home will always be here; landmarks around the world, treasured sights and sites, they’re the ones changing, closing, or disappearing all together. By no means have I seen “it all” but you can be darn sure that I’m going to try. Who’s with me?

With love, friendship, and an issued challenge, I thank you for reading this last post From Lebanon to Lima. Ciao ❤

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