Living in Chicago

Posted by on Oct 21, 2008 in Chicago, Post-Trip | 5 Comments

It’s time to update when strangers are leaving posts asking if you’re still alive. I am still alive but a lot has changed since I got home over a year ago. I was waiting to write a long, insightful post but it never happened. You might laugh when I say that I’m a very private and cautious person, but I am and when I got home and was deciding if I should freelance or look for a full time graphic design job I felt it best to keep my feelings private from the internet.

I have some great clients and decided to stick with freelance, working for myself in my home, rather than looking for an eight to seven job (it’s rarely 9?5 in the design world!). That could change at some point but I’m enjoying the freedom working for myself brings. Most of you know that I lived at home to save money to travel after university and then spent 2004?2007 traveling or preparing to travel. Because of that I never got my own apartment or made any long-term commitments (like a lease or a phone contract) because I always intended to leave on another trip. I just moved into a new place with two bedrooms and a porch all to myself in Chicago so I’m definitely settled in for a little while. For the first time I’ve had the space to unpack my souvenirs and put them out on display.

For the first year I was home I didn’t miss travel as much as you would think. I missed the excitement of seeing new things and I missed drawing in my sketchbook but I didn’t miss bucket showers on the roof of a hotel in Moyale Kenya or a 30-hour bus ride through rural China. Now I do. Traveling has changed my life in an amazing way but it also sometimes makes it harder to relate to ‘normal’ people back home. For the first six months after I got back literally every response that came to mind when making small talk was a story from one of my trips. I’ve finally gotten the impulse to talk about my experiences under control, and meeting other travelers in Chicago has helped give me an outlet to talk when I need to.

I’ve kept in touch with a number of people I traveled with but I’ve also spent time with some of my readers who passed through town. David, who I couchsurfed with in China, came into town a few months ago and returned my travel towel which I had left at his place in October 2006. I met another traveler who’s story was eerily similar to mine on Boots N’ All and we’ve traded war stories over beers this year. I’ve also decided to pay back the couchsurfing community by opening my couch to other travelers. I’m a little cautious of who I let stay and plan to take it slow. My first CSers will be two Canadians who apparently don’t mind sleeping on wood floors in third story walk ups. I’ve received a number of requests, but no one has traveled to more than a handful of countries. I’ve always envisioned meeting other travelers like myself on Couchsurfing but I’ve come to realize that not that many Couchsurfers have traveled to 50 countries and those that have aren’t stopping in Chicago.

I do intend to keep updating this site (I’ve redesigned it and just need to find the time to program) and have a lot of content, advice in particular, that I want to post. Many travelers continue to email me for help with their upcoming trips and I’d like to provide a better resource for them with all of the common questions I see. I realize that my suddenly mundane existence might disappoint some of you, but it’s not possible to travel non stop without settling down either on the road or back home to recharge. I’m certainly not done traveling, you know me, but it’s time to restock my bank accounts and reconnect with my friends and family.

5 Comments

  1. dis
    October 21, 2008

    Feel free to bust out any travel stories you might be inclined to share when you and I are together – I find them fascinating!

  2. Megan
    October 21, 2008

    Okay, you asked for it!

  3. nicole
    October 22, 2008

    receiving your updates are as nice as having a nice big chocolate cake (that’s for you understand how much pleasure you give out)thanks for continuing your sharing, life is good!

  4. Deb
    October 22, 2008

    somehow stumbled across your blog and i really enjoy your writing style. hope your travels bring us to our yoga retreat center, Florian Villa on St. John someday!!

  5. Lauren
    October 22, 2008

    Hi Megan,

    Thanks for your update. I have your blog subscribed to Reader on google and am always happily surprised to see a post.

    I recently returned from a 9.5 month vagabonding journey in Africa and burnt out. For the first time I don’t have any travel plans nor do I feel inclined to make any. A part of me wonders if this is normal so it’s good to hear your travel bug has been in need of a recharge. As well as filling up the bank account and enjoying just being in one place.

    As with CS, it’s true that not as many people as you might expect have traveled extensively. I guess it makes people like us who are willing to travel long term and in an unconventional way, well, unique. I know there are plenty of us out there but they aren’t as easy to find as you might hope. At least on CS.

    Keep the posts coming!