We are now in our 11th month of travel. You can tell we are nearing the end – our clothes are faded and worn; we are starting to wear on each others’ nerves more quickly; we are finding it harder to seek out things to do/visit that we are excited about (and that we haven’t already experienced elsewhere). The boys would be happy most days just to stay put and play games. We talk more about going home and getting to see family, having a home, and not having to live out of a suitcase. Connor can’t wait to go biking at a moment’s notice – not having to find bikes to rent and go with a guide. Caleb is counting the days until he gets his piano back. But we are also already missing travel. We know that this is something we will look back on over and over again. We will revisit some of our favourite places in our minds, and we will laugh over some of the challenges and cultural faux pas we made. In many ways, we hate for it to end.
We keep warning the boys that returning home will probably be a bit of a challenge. They expect everyone will want to know “all about” their trip. And they are excited to tell stories and share their experiences. But we all know the reality – people will politely ask; some people will want to know a little; but most of what we experienced this year will be shared just between us – something special we will always have to hold on to, but also something that will make us just a little different. I read about a family that did the same thing as us and their two children started at new schools (for some reason) when they returned. They didn’t tell a soul what they had done! They thought it would make them “too different”.
For me, it will be so strange to not have to plan out every moment of our days ahead. As much as I love planning and organizing, I did find it a lot of work. While Clay and the boys relaxed in the evenings, watching a movie or reading a book, I was spending every “free” moment looking for our next place to stay, finding transportation to the next attraction, or figuring out flights. It consumed hours and hours of time. I planned as much of the trip as I could before we left, but between working full time and packing up our house, I had to leave some of it to do while on the road. And we wanted flexibility as well, in case we got sick, wanted to stay longer somewhere, or were ready to move on earlier than we’d planned.
Now, I will have to start thinking about our next big adventure or goal! I love having something to work toward. Perhaps the next goal will be more of a personal nature and I’ll let the boys set their own goals. But I think having something new to work toward will help when feelings of sadness sweep over us and we settle into the reality that our year of ed-venture has come to an end.