This time last year, we were busy packing up the house and counting down the days until we would begin our adventure. As of today, we’ve officially been on the road, living as vagabonds, nomads, for 357 days. Wow—that sounds so long. And now we have another count down—for the number of the days we have left until we return home.
So the question of the day is: How do we feel?
Lying around on the beach as we have been doing, enjoying the easiness of Sihanoukville, we have had a bit of time to ponder our situation. We honestly had little expectations of the trip when we started (we didn't really expect it to be life changing), other than to hope that we’d see and experience a lot of cool stuff, stay within our target budget and that we wouldn’t get ourselves or our kids killed, as some had feared before we left!
So overall, we feel lucky. We feel lucky that we’ve been able to do this and have such a great family adventure. We’ve seen and done so much and had a lot of fun. We visited 10 countries! But above all, we feel lucky that we generally all had relatively good health throughout the year. Maddy probably came through the best, followed by Jim, Yasmine and I (my hospital stint put me at the back of the list). And best of all, we ‘re all still alive and unscathed. The kids have actually grown too and are healthy--imagine that!
But we are also starting to feel a bit tired.
Traveling as we have been can be tough on most adults, let alone families and the kids. Doing it on a budget is even more challenging not to mention for this length of time too. (Most ‘nomadic families’ that we know stop for a while and make a ‘home base’ from which they make shorter side trips.) We’ve boarded and disembarked 17 flights (with 2 more to go), rode on numerous trains, a few boats and more buses than we can count (or care to). And let’s not forget the motorcycles, tuk tuks, taxis and commuter trains amongst it all. Unavoidably, there were often long days that involved a combination of a few of these. Not including our recent stay with family in Vancouver, the longest we stayed in one lodging was 11 nights. However, our average stay would be 4 nights, but sometimes we only stayed a night. We got around!
|On a train in India|
But through it all, our girls were really incredible. They were amazing!
And we think we stayed within our budget too (will do the final number crunching when we get home).
So we are mostly ready to be going home.
The girls are particularly excited about this. Although they’ve really had some great experiences this past year, probably the best part for them was simply having mom and dad both there to share it with. Other than that, they missed the stability and predictability of life at home, which is quite natural for kids their age. They are looking forward to having their own beds and ‘space’ again, not to mention to having their bikes, scooters, backyard and trampoline to use. And they are ready for new challenges too, like starting school and perhaps taking lessons in dancing and swimming.
|Yasmine's hope (as illustrated by Maddy) of what 'home' will be like!|
And their excitement further confirms that going home now is the right thing to do. While there are plenty of things we'll miss about our lifestyle this past year, there is also a lot to look forward to at home too.
We still have a 12hr+ bus ride back to Bangkok, where we will spend 3 nights and 2 days. Then we board the first leg of our return flight to Melbourne, stopping for another night on the way in Kuala Lumpur. So if all goes smoothly, by this time next week, we’ll be in our own beds back at our own house. Not long now.