Going back, Moving Forward – Our Return Home
Weeeeee’re baaaack! And it feels great. We flew into LAX and enjoyed a few days with my family in Rancho Cucamonga. We did everything I had been dying to do while abroad- eat at my favorite restaurant in the entire world (still)- Vince’s Spaghetti, scarf down an animal style cheeseburger from InNOut, play tennis, play our family’s favorite card game Michigan Rummy, and hang out and do nothing with my family (and my sister’s new kittens!). It was marvelous. Some things that we never realized we missed so much while traveling: toilet seat covers, showers with pressure, soft towels, not having to throw toilet paper in the trash can (I still keep doing that!), seat belts, drinkable tap water, hair conditioner, pickles, fast internet, and barbecuing. After spending some time with my family, we headed south to San Diego to spend lots of quality time with Jon’s family. To really surprise Jon’s nephew and niece, we jumped out of a huge box! We also did everything Jon wanted to do- swim a lot, eat pasta, barbecue, wrestle with the kiddos, and swim some more. It is bliss to be back in beautiful San Diego with it’s gorgeous sunsets, warm air, and cool waves.
So how does it feel to be back, you ask? Normal and strange at the same time! We just experienced an entire year where our every day reality was completely different from that at home. The people around us spoke a different language. The sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings were different. Being uncomfortable, a little on edge, and disconnected from the world was our normal. But being back home, we are comfortable, everything is easy, and we are completely connected. Need to get groceries? No more long walks in the heat or trying to find a taxi. All we gotta do is hop into the car (or onto a bike) and go! Want to make some toast? Don’t bother heating up the frying pan, just pop it in the toaster! Wondering how your sister did on her tri-athalon? No need to wait until you have wifi! Just text or call her up right now! Adjusting to being back home hasn’t been as challenging as we thought it would be. It’s so easy in fact that it almost feels as if we just got back from a 2 week vacation or it was all a big crazy dream. And while it is nice to transition so easily, it also makes us a little sad. World Tour feels so far away now, a thing of the past, a distant memory. When I sit on the warm beach a few blocks from our apartment, I find myself desperately grasping at the sand as it pours out of my hands. But maybe grasping at the past isn’t the best way to honor and hold on to World Tour.
One bit of advice I received from friend and fellow traveler, Tamara from NomandswithaVan, regarding reverse culture shock and returning home was, “try to incorporate some change into your life- whether that’s a new apartment, a new career or hobby, or a new routine.” Well let’s see, we are returning to the same apartment we had before but we do plan to paint it a different color! We will also be exploring new careers, have a new roommate, have lots of free time, and will soon be preparing for our Holiday Bazaar. We’ve also been reflecting on internal changes that we experienced during our trip such as new confidence in our decision-making, greater problem-solving skills, a new passion for writing and finances, some gardening/farming knowledge, a new perspective on work/life balance, and a closer relationship to each other. Embracing the changes we have experienced as well as those that lie ahead help us move forward (and not backward), towards a life that we create on our own terms, together. And in this way, World Tour will always be with us.
We wanted to give a BIG SHOUT OUT and THANK YOU to everyone who stayed connected with us during this journey through reading our blog, reading our posts on Facebook, emailing, and just thinking of us. We are especially grateful for those of you who supported us financially and/or with items that helped us during our trip. Thank you. I still plan to write a bit more about our return home and some of our new adventures. Stay tuned. Hope to see you soon.
PS- BTW, Jon asked me to marry him while we were in Mexico. Of course I said yes! Yay!!! 😀