It is the same struggle each trip: about a month before I depart for a new place, I start to disconnect.
I get emotional easily. I cry a lot. I need more time alone. I am irritable, exhausted, and all peopled-out. This is layered with a desire to soak up every minute I can with dear friends and family who I am sure to miss, and to enjoy the current season's activities. It is overwhelming. I am aware that others encounter this too... a cocoon effect before travel. Always, upon arrival it dissipates, and I can re-emerge as a healthy, sane person, but it is a traumatic process.
Part of this stems from my nature- I am very loyal: to my hometown, to my history, to my family, to my friends, to the land of my birth... but due to my calling and career I am forced to operate outside of that formula. Each of us must sacrifice something for our calling. I was reminded of this the other day when talking to my cousin who has lived most of her life in Sub-Saharan Africa. We crave and treasure time with our family... but we have had to sacrifice that for something bigger. Often, we look at another person and envy what they have- unaware of what they have given up. I think of this often. I hear daily how others wish they could live in Paris like me, or have my career... unaware that I have had to sacrifice my dearest treasures for the sake of doing what I was created to do. My self-awareness allows no compromises... I am forced to press on towards my goals... but I have given up much in the process.
All of these things are rolling around in my mind as I prepare for another season in Paris. This time my return is indefinite... I don't really know when or if I will be returning to the United States with the exception of summertime visits. Much to ponder.