It’s hard to believe this trip of ours—this isn’t it over yet? trip—is actually over in three days. That’s less than a week. It’s insane we’re counting days and not weeks.
Working while traveling (ironically, even when said work is writing about said traveling) is hard. You’d think you could just go out and experience the day, then return home and write about it. I thought that before we left. But you realize you forget the other, everyday stuff you still have to do—like cook for your kids and help them with their school, plus do the other work that actually brings in income. That, plus trip planning and then doing the stuff you’ve planned, and you crash in to bed without room for another poignant thought. Rinse and repeat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been crazy grateful to do this. Enormously so. But it simply means not writing nearly as much as I’d planned.
We leave in two days back for the States—back to home, wherever that is. Our trip is officially over when we touch Oregon soil a little after midnight in the wee Thursday morning hours. And yet, I don’t think it will never really end.
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends. It is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.” -Pat Conroy
This trip has changed us. We can tell because we’ve been looking at houses to buy back in the States, and we feel differently about the sort of place where we should live in than before we started this thing.
Well, maybe not different, but definitely more confident in our convictions. More unwavering. More certain that we’ve been called to a certain kind of life, and to compromise it would mean frustration.
A number of you have wondered why the trip is ending “so soon.” As in, why we’re leaving without yet doing South or Central America. And yeah, it kills us that we’re not going to touch down in that part of the world right now.
The short answer is simply that it’s time for us to stop. We have other reasons outside of travel that speak more into our relational, professional, and emotional needs that have let us know we need to go ahead and stop our voyage in order to park somewhere and dig a few roots.
However—and this is what’s given us confidence to go ahead and head home now—we have every reason to believe we’ll head out and explore that part of the world sooner than later. It could be two years from now, it could be two months. Not sure. But this trip has confirmed for us that travel will always be a major player in our family life, and to rest assured that those places that are calling our name will still be there when we’re ready.
(We have friends who, after their round-the-world trip, have decided to take shorter family trips every other year or so—a few months, tops, just to one part of the world at a time. We like that. We can see ourselves doing that.)
We love travel, but that doesn’t mean the best season for it continues right now.
We’ve known all this for several months now, but now that it’s almost here, we’re a little sad it’s at the end. Naming our end date has held our sanity, but now days shy of the goal, and we’re very aware how much this trip has changed us.
We’re more than travelers. There are many sides of us, and it’s a good thing to give space so those other parts can breathe, create, fuel life into you. They all play together, of course, but sometimes there are seasons when certain parts of you need to take the front burner while other parts simmer in the near distance.
That’s where we’re at right now. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
Who knows, I could be writing another post in a few month’s time, announcing that we’re headed back out again; that it turns out we’re more location-independent than we thought. I don’t think so, though. We need both roots and wings, and we can feel the need to give our roots lots of good soil and sunshine.
If you’ve ever felt like you have multiple sides of you that feel contradictory, I don’t think you’re alone. I’ve talked to quite a few people all over the world over this year who’ve said they both love to travel and love being a homebody, and I count myself among them.
It’s perfectly okay to let the different sides of you get more attention, more nourishment for a season. It’s more than okay, in fact.
If there’s a part of you on the back burner that’s itching, why not consider giving it a little scratch? If you’ve held off practicing some art in the name of practicality, perhaps consider carving some space in your life to explore it soon, just for fun?
It might feel a bit impractical, or even contradictory to the side of you that gets the most airtime, but maybe that’s something that’s been missing in your life. Or maybe you need to hang up your smock or gardening gloves or cake piping tools or passport, and roll up your sleeves and dig in the dirt of everyday life for awhile. There are seasons for that, too. That’s where we are.
Give the many sides of you room to create, and don’t apologize when something needs to take the backseat for a season. We’ve been traveling for many months now—and now it’s time for us to stay put somewhere. It’s just time.
Our backpacks will soon go on a shelf in our closets. But they’re not getting tossed in a box in the attic. They’re gonna play again soon.