Julie RTW 8 Comments

“This is heavier than what I carried on the trip!” exclaimed Tyler from his bedroom.

Down the stairs he comes, wearing his black backpack he took around the world, this time filled with the binders, notebooks, pens and pencils, and all of the other paraphernalia that goes along with starting middle school. It is good to see him still getting use out of his backpack, although I have to admit, it is sad to see it filled with three ring notebooks rather than our travel clothing. This is just another reminder of how quickly our lives are changing.

Note: This post was written in August 2015, three weeks after the conclusion of our around the world trip.

Resuming “Normal” Life

You have not heard from us for awhile, only because life has been insane for the past two weeks. We have had to buy two cars, find a new home, and get Tyler and Kara registered for public school, all within a three week time span.

Along with the stresses of re-assimilating back into “normal” life, I was having a hard time finding the motivation to update this blog. To me, the blog feels like a different life, my travel life. Now that I am back in Maryland, I am having a hard time incorporating my old “travel self” into who I am here. I have a list of topics to write about but find it very hard to sit and focus on these. Honestly, I am finding it hard to focus on anything right now, and I almost feel a little lost now that I am home. There is so much I have to do but am having a hard time getting up the motivation to do it. Hopefully that will change in the days ahead once we get ourselves into more of a routine.

Being interviewed

Kara being interviewed for Baltimore Lightroom

We have been back in Maryland for three weeks already, and during that time, our months of travel are already beginning to feel like a dream. Tim and I have been so consumed with everything that has needed to be done to get our lives in order that we have not had much time to reflect on the past year. Then, a song will play on the radio, one that we listened to while driving in a rental car while traveling, and just like that, I’ll be transported back to Australia or Taiwan, and the memories come flooding back.

As crazy as things have been the past few weeks, I would not change anything we have done…our thirteen months of travel makes all of this insanity absolutely worth it.

One thing that truly amazes me is how quickly we readjusted back to life in Howard County, Maryland.  Driving familiar roads, visiting my old grocery store (and appreciating it so much!), playing badminton in the back yard, driving Tyler and Kara over to their friend’s house, it all feels so normal. It’s alarming how quickly we have fallen back into our old routines. Yes, I see things with a different perspective, but now that I am back, I can’t help but wonder if this trip changed me less than I originally thought it would.

Before setting foot on that first airplane, I knew we would come home thirteen months later as different people. How exactly we were going to change I did not know at the time, and this of course was one of the biggest reasons for traveling for so long…to see how much our perspective of the world would change. No longer do I take for granted our good fortune to live in such a great area, to have the jobs and the job security that we do, and to be able to afford simple things that many people in other countries struggle to own, but what shocked me is that now that we are home, in many ways I feel exactly like my old self.

I am not saying that this past year has not changed us. Just the other day, I took Kara out shopping for some back to school clothes, buying her a pair of jeans and three shirts. When she said, ”Wow, I feel like I have so many clothes now!” I realized that we do have a different outlook on life and what we need to make us happy.

Now that we are settling in, our cars are downsized (Tim and I each bought used cars), our house is downsized (yes, finally we have a contract on a house), and our closets are downsized. We continue to walk around in the same clothes we wore around the world, at least the things that still look decent. We each now have two or three other shirts we throw into the mix but that is about it. Once we move into our house and unpack our storage unit, then we will really feel like we have a lot of clothes and a lot of stuff.

In some ways, I am really looking forward to seeing what sits in those boxes that have been patiently waiting for us for almost 16 months now. It may feel like Christmas opening some of them up, but I also hate the idea of letting all of that “stuff” back into our life. Life was so simple before we started looking for a house.

But, it was a house we needed.  Yes, we considered renting, but with the high costs of the area we live in to have such a small space, it just did not seem worth it.

Plus, another thing that surprised Tim and I was that we wanted a house and we wanted to feel settled. As Tyler and Kara get older, we want them to have a house to come home to, some stability over the next few years as they transition between middle school and high school and then even on to college.

College will be here before we know it, which is exactly why we chose to take this trip now. Yes, the idea of another long-term trip sounds tempting, but with college looming out in our future and then the busy, changing lives that come with having a teenager, I do not know if another long-term trip will happen in the near future. In the meantime, we are going to fill our summers and time off of school with as much travel as possible, as that is the thing the four of us cherish the most, quality time spent traveling together and making memories.


Without a doubt, the four of us are so much closer now than before we started the around-the-world trip. We really enjoy just being together, hanging out and watching a movie, playing a game, or even just having dinner together. Sure, those are all very normal family activities, but the bond that we share now is so strong. Something feels different between the four of us, something that is hard to describe, something intangible but very real. Even though our year traveling around the world may be starting to feel like a dream, I am still thankful everyday for what we did and the memories we made together.

In just a few short days Tyler and Kara go back to school. Fortunately, we were able to find a house that has them going to their original middle school, the same school they would have gone to had we never sold our house and traveled around the world. Therefore, Tyler and Kara will have some friends and old classmates to help ease their transition back into school.

Tyler will be going into 7th grade and Kara is going into 6th grade. Wow…middle school, and it will be brand new for both of them. That means lockers, changing classes in the middle of the day, a bigger school, and a lot more homework. Tyler and Kara are nervous and excited…it is yet another huge change in their lives this month and they are handling everything like rock stars. Another brand new adventure awaits them.

Over the next month, life will hopefully settle into a rhythm for us. Tim will go back to work, the kids will go back to school, and I will have the task of turning Earth Trekkers into something more than it already is. Even with the recent stresses there is an excitement for where we are heading, another “new normal” for us. One thing is for certain…life is never boring.

Continue the Journey

AROUND THE WORLD TRAVEL: Do you dream of traveling around the world? Check out our Guide to Traveling Around the World, where you can get information on how to plan your big adventure, what to expect while traveling, and what it is like to finally come home.

COMING HOME FROM A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD: In our article Returning to the USA, we write about what it is like to reenter the USA after being away for more than a year. We also have posts about what it is like readjusting to being “home” and how we are doing two months after the conclusion of the RTW trip.

AROUND THE WORLD ITINERARY: We spend 396 days traveling around the world. Here is our around the world itinerary and a recap of our trip around the world.

TRAVEL BLOGGING: This website started with a trip around the world and has become one of the most popular travel sites on the internet. Learn more about what it is like to run this website in our article My Life as a Travel Blogger…An Unexpected Journey.

TRAVEL QUOTES: Here are 60 travel quotes to feed your wanderlust.

All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

Comments 8

  1. Avatar for Nataliya

    Julie — do you have any articles re kids schooling during your year of travel? What curriculum did you use? Did you homeschool before the year of travel? How did you prepare to homeschool? Also, how did the kids keep up with the school work, while on the road? Thank you very much in advance, Nataliya

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      All great questions. Tyler and Kara were in the public school system in Maryland the year before and after the around the world trip. At the advice of the school system, we used Calvert Homeschool to provide the curriculum. This provided a lesson plan, all the books, quizzes and tests for the year. In the mornings or while traveling place to place (usually on buses and trains) the kids did their school work and we helped them if they needed it. It was a fantastic experience and Tyler and Kara wanted to be homeschooled once back at home, but Tim and I had to go back to work so we didn’t have the time to keep up with it. I recommend asking your kids’ school what their homeschool recommendation is. Our county was very specific about what we could use, in order to reenter them into school without repeating that year of homeschooling again. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Nataliya
  2. Avatar for Jen
  3. Avatar for Pat Stilwell
    Pat Stilwell


    Hi trekkers,

    I’m not 100% sure that the URL printed above is complete. But, on a site called Upworthy.com, there was a story about a family that is traveling around the world with (I think it was) FOUR children. I thought you might be interested in taking a look at the brief article on them. You can try going to Upworthy.com if the web address doesn’t work. That is, if you are interested. Naturally, the story made me think of the Earthtrekkers.

    I can say that your concern about a lack of motivation seems to come with so many major life experiences. I retired in 2012 and am sad to say that I am still trying to get into a routine. I suspect that once your (amazing) children are engaged in school, your routine will begin to jell. I am still a work in progress after retirement to the point where I am considering at least a part time job.

    I’m glad you’re still blogging.


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, we feel a little lost right now, and it has been hard to focus on “Earth Trekkers” while looking for a place to live. Things seem to be falling into place and then we can get back on track. Sometimes I feel like I have so much to do I do not know where to start!

  4. Avatar for Howard Smith
    Howard Smith

    Great post. We leave for Australia and New Zealand next month and will be seeing some of the same sights as you reported on. Thanks for that info. Looking forward to hearing of your next endevours.

  5. Avatar for leila viteskic
    leila viteskic

    Enjoy reading your posts and appreciate great photos . It is great that you had amazing trip around the world . Looking forward for idea which came as result of trip -tourist advice -you have so many of them -and you see how and what doing well and learn from experience
    Looking forward for new update -good luck with house
    Leila V.

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