Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - back in the world

Being home is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I've suffered culture shock before when I've traveled to foreign countries and returned, but this is different.

I struggle with the words here because it seems crazy, but I miss the combat zone.

There is an intensity about it that I liked. It makes your life precious because it could be over in a heartbeat. The same is true of life here outside of the zone, but you're distracted by life. There, you focus on war.

There isn't a lot of talk except to discuss weapons or when you have to go out on patrol next and if you're carrying the SAW. You are mainly concerned with comfort, chow and your job.  Life is very basic. If you're alive it's good.

With technology and the outside world so accessible you would think that would help, but it doesn't, it detracts. You want nothing else in your life except the task at hand, surviving the war.

Survival is not as easy as it sounds because you could survive physically without a scratch, but you may not have survived at all mentally.

Yet the combat zone is addictive. I ran into numerous retired troops that could not stay away no matter what sort of trouble was going on at home. They needed to be in the zone. They needed the intensity and they craved the brotherhood.