And if you will forgive another cliche, what a long, strange trip it's been. I had been feeling ready to go home for a while, but last night as I was packing I came across a printout of all the shore excursions we has signed up for at the beginning of the trip. For some reason that just took me back to the beginning, when this trip was still a dream instead of a memory, and it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks: it's over. It's really over. All of the annoyances and discomforts and crazy traffic and pollution and endless bus rides just evaporated from my mind and for a moment all that was left was the awesomeness of it, the exotic sights and smells and flavors and the novelty of being able to tell people, "Yeah, we're going to be on this ship for two and a half months." And now it was over. Just like that. In the blink of an eye. It felt, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, like a metaphor for life itself. I'm still pretty young, but I am becoming more and more aware of how short life really is. I feel an increased urgency to make the most of what's left, because there's no going back.
So while I'm sad about the trip coming to an end, I'm also glad to be getting back home. The trip was awesome, but I'm not ready to retire to a cruise ship, and although I got some writing done and even a little bit of hacking, it's a lot easier to be productive with fewer distractions and a fast internet connection. And I'm feeling the need to be productive. I've seen too many people busting their humps trying to improve their lives not to get out there and do my bit before I die. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do, but on the trip I put together a list of half a dozen possible projects, some of which involve travel to Asia :-)
So for pretty much the first time in my life I have no idea what's coming next. But I'm looking forward to finding out.