My heart is still so happy that some days I feel like it is literally beaming. I knew what I was looking for before I left, but didn’t want to set any expectations for the trip, so I kept it quietly to myself. It was quite simple what I was hoping to find… and find it I did.

I’ve never been a big city girl, yet much of my trip was spent immersed in some of the biggest cities in the world. From Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires to Cairo to Shanghai to Delhi, it seemed I could not escape the MegaCity culture and everything that entailed. These cities were amazing experiences, so different from anything I’d experienced before and had so many beautiful sites to see and beautiful people to meet. But yet I found myself still yearning for what I’d been hoping for.

It wasn’t until Thailand that I found the bliss I’d been looking for. The local cafe where I got to know the owner. The newfound friendships with inspiring women. Getting to know the local street dogs, from the ring leader to the little scrapper who earned his place amongst them. Having locals get to know me who would stop to talk to me as I passed by them on the way to the laundry shop. Rising with the sun and sleeping when the sun went down. A detoxification of both body and mind. I found my own little heaven in the back skirts of Thailand.

But finding this begets the question ‘what happens after’? After a few stops on the long way home at the end of October, I wasn’t sure what the immediate future held in store for me. Would I be sad it was over? Would I immediately jump into something else? Thankfully, there was no sadness, as many a wanderluster have experienced before me. There was just the determination of the next part of my journey. As it turns out, home is just a quick layover. I will spend the holidays with my family and friends and then continue on. Now, California is calling my name, with the peace in my heart I discovered in Thailand still alive and well. There will be a new cafe, new dogs, and new friends in my future, and I could not be more excited for what’s next.