So we were back in the United States after being abroad for over 7 months. It was no doubt a strange feeling and one I assume is not felt very often for most people. The first place we saw was a fast food joint and it happened to have free wifi, so we were able to get in touch with people. It just so happened that our friend Travis was in San Diego and willing to get us from the border. He drove us up to Seal Beach where we crashed for the night.
Back in the States a few changes stood out. First of all, after being stared at and talked about for the whole trip we were no longer the center of attention at all. Hell, we weren’t getting any attention- we were just two more American guys. All of a sudden public bathrooms had toilet seats, toilet paper, running water, and even soap sometimes. I caught myself contemplating a sink shower with the soap and hot water and stealing toilet paper to use later, but I realized all bathrooms would be that way. All of a sudden cars would stop and wave us across the street- even when we were totally j-walking. They would also signal when changing lanes (there were lanes!) and follow the other rules of the road.
Other things stood out because they didn’t change. We still heard Spanish just about everywhere we went, but it was nice that English had become the standard. And, we were still living out of our backpacks. Most places we’d been that wasn’t that big of a deal because people didn’t have a lot of stuff anyway. But being surrounded by the consumerism that is Southern California made me feel it much more.
We spent a bit of time in So-Cal seeing a few friends and hanging out on the beach. To be honest, there were a couple of times, standing on a beautiful beach surrounded by beefed up, tattooed bros and big boobied, scantily clad, blonde bimbos that I felt further from home than I did surrounded by the native people of Paraguay. It was a good reminder that home is more the people you surround yourself with than exactly where you are.
But, home is also geographical, and we still had a ways to go until we were geographically home. We spent some time with another Travis in LA. He was nice enough to let us crash until we found a way to get up to the bay area. In true, cheap-traveling fashion we got a ride to SF with an Aussie who had rented a car and was driving north anyway. Craigslist ride share- gotta love it.
So we were dropped in SF about 2 blocks and about 10 minutes from where we caught the Golden Gate Transit 80 Bus going north. Not 3 hours later we got off at Rohnert Park Expressway and Commerce Boulevard, walked a short stretch down the road, across the golf course, up my parents driveway, and into their front door. Home sweet home.
I just wanted to take this chance to once again thank all the amazing people we met/visited on this trip. Most of you will never get this thank you, but you absolutely made the trip what it was. Seven months and no bad days- just smiles and laughing the whole time. Not a bad way to live. Thanks again.