by Kristin Morrison on September 21, 2011

in Bali,Being in the Unknown,Friendship,Gratitude,Life as a Grand Adventure


I’ve been back from Bali for 1o days now and I keep checking my emotions and asking myself:

Am I really okay being here in America?

And the answer is:

YES. I am.
Which surprises me.

Last year when I returned I felt like I’d been plucked out of paradise and placed in the center of Highway 101 during rush-hour traffic.

It was a challenging adjustment.

This reentry, I am delighted to say,  feels like I’ve been plucked (carefully) out of paradise and placed on a human-sized, love-filled cotton ball.

This time it’s been such a gentle, easy and loving reentry.

I test out the italicized thought “Am I really okay being in America?” multiple times a day; the way someone who broke their leg a year ago might test out their now-healed leg: Can I really walk on this? Without pain? Is it really okay to walk?

My testing-out thoughts come in the form of: Is it really okay that life is much quieter here? Is it okay that a lot of my friends are really busy here? That self care costs a lot more? That there aren’t rice fields around?

Here: my neighborhood doesn’t have more people out on the street than in the houses, there aren’t a million social things to choose from in one day -at least not since I’ve been back. I’m getting some but not tons of daily text and phone messages the way I did from all of my Bali friends (who, just like me, weren’t working). Massages are $100 here instead of $8. We have hills and trees here instead of rice fields.

Is all of that really okay?


It is okay that I’m here.

I walked on my beloved Gold Hill trail the day after I returned and I felt the odd -and wonderful- feeling of the California earth and air. The smells and sounds of nature were different than I’ve been used to in Bali. I could feel -and this sounds so odd- how very much of a California Girl I am. I could feel how at home I am as I hiked the dusty trail and smelled the rich California earth.

I could feel how right it is for me to be back in California. Where I was born and raised.

And today I could feel how right it is that I’m working again (today was my first day).

It’s all okay.

I have had brief twinges of longing for Bali. Slightly longer twinges of missing my Bali friends and all the fun activities going on there.

I could indulge in those sad thoughts.

Of longing. Of missing.

But I choose not to. Instead I focus on how grateful I am to have had the experience to travel for so long (7 months). And gratitude for all that I have here. My wonderful tribe of Bay Area friends. My brother and my nieces whom I adore (and who I had dinner with last week). The yummy social stuff here and my always-solid community of dear loved ones that nourish my soul.

Remembering all of these things helps get me present and to be grateful here. In this moment. In this American reality.

I started work today but not before experiencing some challenging feelings around returning to work after all this time.

What helped me get grounded and grateful was remembering how lucky I am to have a job to come back to. Lots of people travel to experience the freedom that I experienced but they don’t come back to stability like I am able to do. I’m fortunate to be able to have both.

Freedom and roots.

It’s a great combo.

Anyway, I started my first workday in many months today with a short meditation (very short, maybe a minute) and a long hike (very long, maybe over an hour) and then I got down to it.

Before I started working I remembered what Sarah had said last night when I told her I wanted to experience ease and flow in my first workday today.

“And how about experiencing fun too?” she suggested.

“What a great idea,” I replied.

So I decided to experience ease, flow and fun in my workday today and with that intention, I did: I got all three.

In spades.

It was a great day and yes, it feels good to be here.

In America.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred Perrin November 20, 2011 at 7:45 am

Great post! Reminds me a bit of the famous line from The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” No matter how wonder our travel experiences are, it’s always comforting to return home. Being home is like wearing old beat up, but really comfortable shoes. And this applies even when returning from an island paradise! Regarding America, there’s a lot of things wrong with our country, but all in all, it’s a pretty great place to live and we are fortunate to be here.

Antonia November 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Visiting a foreign land can really expose us to the potential of different lifestyles. I think of most of us wander in a daze with respect to the possibilities that life offers. There’s an infinite number of paths to life, but most people stick to the true and tried, or what everyone is doing, or what is expected of them. I’m not sure why, perhaps fear and insecurity? It seems as if your recent trip to Bali has made you more sensitive to what I am speaking about. Good luck in resolving the important life questions you raise in your post.

Zach November 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

First, let me say that I enjoy your blog. It often makes me think about what is really important in life. It sounds like you adjusted well to your long trip, but not everyone is so fortunate. Post vacation depression is actually quite common. Here’s some tips on WebMD on how to cope:

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