I came back four and a half months ago. These four months have felt longer than any of the year that preceded them. The reason is simple: I’m back to routine. I have a flat, I have a job, I have to go and do the weekly shopping every week. I’m happy and I’m lucky, I have everything one would ever want. At least, I think I have what we’re told we want.

Experience, memory, takes me back to other places. Sometimes I’m sitting in my desk at my home office in Lüneburg, Germany, a place which has been quite an adventure by itself, and I would transport myself to certain places. Mostly, I’d like to be teleported to nature. Even in a small and cute town like Lüneburg, one feels the weight of urban living: a constant lack of time; pressure to attend all you social gatherings; a physiological need to do sport after a day of sitting and screen watching; a need to have all house matters under control; the importance to content your closest acquaintances (and other social common places) at every second; and, of course, an obligation to work as much as possible. It’s quite restricting for our human nature.

I understand better than before the struggle. In the past I didn’t know what kind of freedom comes from breaking with this system. It’s difficult to feel a broader sense of personal welfare than the one you get from travelling around the world. I say travelling, you say sailing, reading, writing, volunteering for an NGO, hiking the tallest of mountains, etc. What I mean is that discovering the liberation behind doing what you really want is a unique and inexplicable feeling. Without taking a leap forward, risking a bit of stability, most people won’t know they’re missing that.

Probably you know it’s there, hidden in the subconscious, something is missing. Something could be better. But you’ll never take the leap and discover it. If you do it, you’ll have the greatest of times but then you’ll have to come back and face reality. This is where I am now. It’s Saturday and I have to work, weekends for journalists have always been an utopia. Could be worse, I always reassure myself. The sun is shining, the spring colours are in full bloom in Fehmarn, Germany’s beautiful northern island, a place I feel at home already. I like being here, but I can’t resist transporting myself to Uyuni, Bolivia.

It was my last stop of my around the world adventure, a marvellous and enticing country, unique as most in South America. I remember walking around the deserts next to El Salar, Bolivia’s main tourist attraction, such a vast land of wonder that –even though it’s the most visited point in the country– still makes you feel intimate with nature. I wish I could just appear there for a few minutes, reassure myself, smile at the wondrous sights. I’d love to touch the floor with my hand and feel the crispy salt flats that extend over 12.000 square km, lick my finger and taste the biggest body of salt on earth. Such a powerful feeling.

Maybe then, after a small respite, I would face routine easier. I’m not alone in this situation. I would say everyone around me is facing similar trouble. And we’re all privileged. I might write this just as part of the grieving process, as another entry of my journal of travelling experiences. I realise I didn’t write for quite a while now. Since I got a 40 hours per week gig back it’s been intense, impossible to balance with all my interests in life. I have even given up on my German course to learn the language and be able to communicate appropriately with Freya’s family: realising this failure leaves you beaten up, even though you try.

I don’t write as often, I don’t learn as often, I don’t go outdoor to take pictures anymore. At least I have time to cook, do sport and a few other things I like. The problem is when you end the day exhausted, mentally fried. I mix languages, put a long face, my friends notice it instantly. It’s a pity, but I keep rowing.

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I haven’t been struggling alone. Freya has been in the same position for more months than I have. I see her bad days and she sees mine. We often find ourselves in the kitchen, savouring some of our tasty evening meals, and fantasizing about our next adventure: van trip, a year living abroad, our little coffee shop in a coastal village in Costa Rica… The possibilities are vast, but in the end we know it’s going to be a long road.

I recently met in Hamburg with an old schoolmate from Barcelona. It was reassuring to share so many doubts with him. Although we didn’t see each other for maybe six or seven years, we felt like we knew so much about each other. That’s because we identified the same adventure spirit in each other. He was cycling around the globe while I was trotting around Asia, Europe and South America. We exchanged memories, ideas, stories, and also we both agreed that it’s difficult to see a clear path forward: Where to settle down? What career to follow? How to transform our plans from dreams to realities…

I can imagine everyone who has taken the big step forward to suddenly find similar struggles on their way back to their old realities. Another friend who lived in a paradise island in the Caribbean is now struggling in a tiny apartment in the French Alps. With reason. I understand him, and they understand me. This is, at least, reassuring.