I'll admit it - I'm an addict.
For too long now I've been slave to an addiction which has cost me vast sums of money and separated me from my family, friends, and the life I once loved.
I'm talking about travelling.
Am I joking?
Yes and no.
I had my mid-life crisis yesterday - it arrived early. Fortunately, it didn't last long.
It might be a bit of an overstatement even to call it a crisis. It may just have been a moment of doubt brought on by a long bus journey, an unsettled stomach and a touch of fever.
I'm going to call it my mid-life crisis, though, in the hope that I'll never have a more serious one, because it wasn't an experience I enjoyed at all.
Like all mid-life crises, it centred around the question: What am I doing with my life?
More specifically: What am I doing in this nondescript little town in Thailand?
And, above all: Why don't I just go home?
People travel for many different reasons. Some travel for pleasure. Some travel for adventure and discovery. Some travel for a change of scene, or for simple curiosity. Some travel to better understand the world and their place in it.
At various times, I've travelled for all of those reasons - but no longer.
In fact, what I'm doing now can hardly even be described as travelling, but turning slowly in a holding pattern across Southeast Asia.
In the eighteen months since I returned to Asia, The Human, Earth Project gave a very clear purpose to my travels. Now, my journey is over - what purpose still remains?
It's been too long since I've seen my parents or siblings. I've missed the weddings and funerals of friends and family members.
So why don't I just go home?
Yesterday I uncovered not one but three answers to that question.
To be painfully honest with myself, I've been travelling so long that I no longer feel I have a home to go to. One of these days, I'll have to stop and make a new one, but that day hasn't yet come.
A second reason is economic - Southeast Asia is an inexpensive place to live and, with the very success of the Project having put me twelve months behind my original production schedule, my resources are stretching thin.
There's a more immediate reason why I'm still here in Asia, though.
It might seem a little stubborn, crazy, or over-ambitious. I've long since passed the point where any normal human being would give up and go home - but there's something in me that just won't quit.
I came to Asia to find M and bring her home, and I wasn't raised to leave a job half-done.
I haven't come so close only to turn back now. As they say, every crisis holds opportunity, and there are still cards left to play.
I'll give this one last shot and then I'll go home, I promise.
In other news, my work was featured this week on the Brazilian website Hypeness, as part of their series Pessoas que você precisa conhecer ("People you need to know").
If you haven't done so already, please take ten seconds to cast a final vote for The Human, Earth Project in the 2015 weblog awards. Winning this award will be a fantastic way to help me raise awareness of the realities of human trafficking.
Click the link, check the circle next to The Human, Earth Project, submit at the bottom of the page, and confirm by email. That's it!
Here's the link - thank you!