Some Thoughts About Coming Home
Countdown to return: less than 12 hours
Warning: stream of consciousness about to commence…
I’ve recently been reading some travel blogs about people who have been traveling the world for years. Some of them never felt a desire to return home, to set roots, to have stability. Adventure, freedom, and flexibility sound way more appealing right!? Right. But the grass is always greener on the other side it seems (especially when you live in California where no one dares water their lawn!). After a full year of travel (we are actually returning on day 366, so we made it a full year abroad woohoo!), we are feeling ready to come home. The thought of eating in our favorite restaurants, cooking new recipes with all of the spices and ingredients we want, surfing, decorating our home, preparing for our Holiday Bazaar, finding a flexible part-time gig for a few months, playing volleyball and tennis again, and hanging out with friends and family just sound so sweet right now.
Don’t get us wrong, we couldn’t be happier with how our World Tour has turned out. We accomplished so many things that we set out to do – learn Spanish, learn about gardening and farming, learn new recipes, meet interesting people, dig into our finances, have deep discussions, buy a bunch of artisan crafts to sell back home, challenge our ideas of what is “normal”, and come up with new career ideas. We didn’t travel to as many countries as we had wanted to, but our quality of experience was greater than we expected. It wasn’t about checking places or sites off the list, it was about really living and experiencing the places we visited. We didn’t travel as long as we thought we would either. Why? Well, truthfully the money was running out (we really wanted to stick to our budget of $10,000 each) and it came down to either stretching our dollar by traveling on a tight shoe string or traveling for less time and doing it comfortably. We’re in our 30’s- comfort has the upper hand now. Another reason we are returning home is just that we feel ready. We originally thought we might travel for 2 years and it sounded a little daunting. Then we talked about coming home for Christmas of this year and it felt better. Then we talked about coming home in November for Thanksgiving and that felt even better. When we examined our finances we thought about coming back in August and got really excited.
We both have been experiencing a roller coaster of emotions these past few weeks as we wind down and make plans for our return. One morning we will talk about painting the walls of our bungalow in Ocean Beach, making our own furniture, and planting a new garden. Then that evening my heart is pounding and my stomach is twisting thinking about the fact that I have no career waiting for me, no 9am-5pm security. How the heck will we pay our rent every month!? Our savings will disappear way faster when we get back to the states than it did while we were abroad! Then that night I will dream about going to Vince’s Spaghetti with my family and barbequ’ing in Jon’s sister’s backyard and playing with their kids. I sleep well and with a big smile. Then the next morning I wake up in a sweat, heart pounding again at the thought of settling back down. Sigghhhh….. OK, maybe it’s just me riding the roller coaster.
Jon has been a solid rock throughout this trip. As long as he isn’t hungry, he has remained rational, calm and clear headed. And although he is so stable, he dreams big too. So big that at first I often accuse him of being absolutely ridiculous, and then I remember who he is, how this man can truly do anything. “I want a job that pays well, is so flexible that I can visit family for a week or a month whenever I want or go surfing in the middle of the day, where I am respected and appreciated, and where I am my own boss, and where I get to do something that I love.” For those of you who know Jon well, you know he has a way of finding and getting what he wants. Patience, conviction, and charisma. I think those are three of his best qualities. Knowing that I have such a stable rock and a big dreamer with the conviction needed to realize those dreams, gets me off that roller coaster of emotions, feeling thrilled and totally secure with what the future holds. And again I find myself excited to come home and ride a new roller coaster with him.
And some photos of Mexico City, our last stop on World Tour:
Hasta pronto! See you soon!