Julie RTW 9 Comments

It’s been a little over two months since we arrived back in the USA. So much has happened. Life has been hectic and insane which is the reason why you haven’t heard from us in a few weeks. In case you have been wondering, here is what we have been up to…

This post was written in October 2015, two months after the conclusion of our around the world trip.

Homeowners, Once Again

We bought a house, officially settling in the end of September, and we have been all-consumed with getting moved in, unpacked, and settled. It’s been a huge job, one that I have completely thrown myself into, and I love it.

While traveling, having a house, a yard, a place that is “ours” to take care of, was something that I really missed. Still, while traveling, I thought for sure that the best option for us upon our return to the USA was to rent for the first year. Who knows, in six months we may grow tired of the typical, daily routine and want to explore new lands again, right? Honestly, the last thing that Tim and I wanted to do was to pick up our “old lives” and “old routines,” at least that is what we thought before starting out on our great adventure.

Well, one of the many things we learned while traveling is that we really had an awesome life and an awesome routine and we are now eager to resume all of our old activities.

So, now we are homeowners once again, and we are so, so happy where we are. Now we have grass to cut, bathrooms to clean, and a house to take care of, and we are thrilled. I am so surprised at how happy I am to be settling down again…I have always been the one in the family pushing us to move and travel and go new places, and now I am content to just be here, in Howard County, Maryland, for now. Although I do wonder…how long until that itch to get up and be mobile once again takes hold?

Anyway, we love our new home. There is a daily procession of deer in our backyard, and sometimes they bed down in the woods just thirty feet from our house. It’s not quite as cool as being on safari in Botswana but it is pretty awesome seeing deer in our backyard everyday.


I have been unpacking all of our things, boxes that were packed up in May 2014 and boxes of mementos that we mailed to the US while we traveled. Take a guess which ones are more thrilling to open…the boxes from Thailand and Cambodia, of course! Yes, it is neat unpacking books and photos that have been in storage, but the memories and mementos we acquired while traveling will always be near and dear to our hearts.

Back To School

Tyler and Kara have adjusted to being back in public school. They are both in middle school, which means very early morning hours (they are walking to the bus stop at 6:55 am!) and much longer days than they had while homeschooling on the trip. They do say that the days are long and sometimes boring, but all kids think that.

Tyler has filled his schedule with school, robotics, math club, and soon will be resuming karate. He was awarded “Student of the Month” at his middle school, so there is no doubt that he is adjusting just fine.

Kara, as I write this, is away for three days at Outdoor Ed, a sixth grade right-of-passage that she has been so excited about. For several days she is with her classmates, sleeping in cabins, doing outdoor activities, and thrilled to get a break from the rest of her family for a few days.

Kara Rivenbark

Triathlon Training Has Resumed

It did not take long until Tim and I were back in the pool swimming laps,  and out running and riding our bikes once again. Our first few workouts were all about survival but we were so happy to be out there once again.

If you are wondering if Tim is happy to be home, the answer would be a big, ole yes! He wasted no time in registering for races for next year, finishing off 2016 with an Ironman in Barcelona, Spain. Both of us are excited…he has another race to look forward to, and I get to go to Spain for the first time. Since I am only “support crew” for Tim and not racing, I get to sample as much Spanish wine and food as I want to during our time in Barcelona.

Even the Kids are Racing

Tyler and Kara (along with their parents) ran in their first 5K race and loved it. I predict that there will be many more races in our future.

The Inevitable Return to Work

We aren’t retiring yet and the career break couldn’t last forever…so it was time to return to work.

Tim was back to work on September 1st with Analytical Graphics, Inc., his original employer before the start of the trip. It felt surreal to see him dressed up in a suit once again…who is this handsome man? Gone are the cargo pants, polyester shirts, and hiking shoes…now it’s business attire and dress shoes for Tim.

Tim seems to be happy to be back at work. Getting a year off to travel can be refreshing…taking a step back from the daily grind to do something else makes you more appreciative of what you have when you return. Tim is energized and back to work with a new perspective on life.

I have been communicating with several hospitals in the area about working part-time in the operating room. Before our year around the world, I spent fifteen years working as a physician assistant in orthopedics, a career I loved. Even though I am planning on devoting much of my time into expanding Earth Trekkers, I am not ready to give up my years of training and experience in the OR as a physician assistant, so I will be working part-time while getting Earth Trekkers established. I am looking forward to both of these opportunities.

Still Traveling

Tim and I managed to get in a mini-trip before moving day, visiting my father in Florida and my brother, Thomas, and his family, in Atlanta, Georgia. Thomas took Tim and I on a bar tour of Atlanta, where we hit ten bars in a little over 24 hours.

How Are We Different?

Looking at us, you would never know what we did. We look like a typical American family. But our perspective on the world is definitely changed. When we watch the news we are more interested in the international segments than the local news. Also, we watch less of the news. It seems like so much of the daily news is so petty compared to the issues we have seen so many people dealing with in other parts of the world.

Now that we have a house and everyone has their own space, Tyler and Kara have resumed the typical brother and sister bantering. It did not take long for the closeness they developed while traveling to disintegrate into normal sibling bickering. Still, I know that closeness is there and they are just acting like normal children.


I still greatly appreciate the mundane things here like grocery shopping and driving on well-paved roads. I love Amazon, placing an order and getting it in two days. When you go thirteen months without that, it seems like magic to have these boxes show up at your doorstep 48 hours after clicking a button on your computer.

Tyler and Kara seem so mature and responsible now. At 6:15 alarms are going off and they are showering before school, making lunches, and later in the day, talking to their teachers about their grades and getting their homework done without complaints. It has been wonderful watching them grow up and take on these responsibilities with ease.

What Next?

For now, we are content getting settled into our new home, going to school and work, training for Ironman races and other triathlons next summer, and just enjoying where we are at this point in our lives. There are more trips in our future…we are looking forward to escaping from the US over Spring Break for foreign lands once again. South America is a biggie on the list as we never made it there last year. We are excited about being home for the holidays and spending quality time with family, something we really missed last year.

Keep following us…we still have plenty to write about and new adventures are coming, so stay tuned!

You Might Also Like:

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 things feel different after RTW travel.

LIFE AFTER A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD: For more information about readjusting to life after a trip around the world, check out our 6 Month Recap and One Year Recap.

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.

TRAVEL ADVICE: Here is our list of tips to help you maximize your time while traveling. We also have tips on traveling with kids plus a massive list of 101 travel tips we learned while traveling around the world.


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Comments 9

  1. Avatar for JING

    Hi Earth Trekkers.

    I admire your courage as a couple from selling your house to putting your careers on hold to be able to travel. A lifetime experience indeed.

    I chance upon your blog while researching about a trip (still on a planning stage) to Hanoi. I ended up reading almost all of your travels. I was surprised to learn there’s a train that would connect me from Vietnam – China (Nanning, Guangzhou-HKG). I’m thinking of doing it by myself but kind of scaredy cat about crossing the border alone after reading your blog which btw in my opinion has the most detailed info like the buses you took to the border off Vietnam and upon entering China, the golf carts look-a-like you rode from-to the Immigration in China or was it the same in Vietnam? Would you recommend me to take this trip alone?

    I’m in Manila and how I wished you did a side trip here to enjoy our world famous beaches.
    I was also excited to read about your going back home to the US how it all went bec like you, my daughter (10yrs old also my travel buddy) and I will be going back “home” too next year around April. I’ve been in hiatus here in my home country for some time now. Would you need a travel partner for your upcoming travel office I would be interested to work with you. Seriously. I have years of experience in the travel industry both have lived and worked in Asia and the US.

    Jing Triviño

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Jing,

      I am glad you found us! It is actually two buses that connect Hanoi to Nanning: a bus in Vietnam to the border, then the border crossing, followed by a second bus to Nanning. Yes, there were golf carts on both sides of the border than transport travelers just a few hundred meters to and from the buses. You can definitely make this trip on your own. The border crossing was very organized and safety was never an issue. Just make sure you have your Visas ahead of time. Prior to making the border crossing, we were worried about it also, but having done it, it really is simple as long as you have your visas ahead of time. It makes for a long day but saves lots of money on a flight and I think there is something very interesting about crossing overland between countries.

      We would love to travel to Manila some day. We ran out of time on this past trip but one day we will make it there. Thank you for the offer of working in our travel office…I will keep you in mind if we get big enough to employ more people. 🙂

      Cheers! Julie

  2. Avatar for Gary Bushrod
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  3. Avatar for Kathleen Baldwin
    Kathleen Baldwin

    What a inspiration you are to so many people. Not many could do what you did, however even part of your adventure could be possible for many. I will look forward to hearing about more of your adventures.

  4. Avatar for Pat Stilwell
    Pat Stilwell

    Wow, that picture of Kara does not look like an 11 year old. You can see the lovely young woman she will be. I look back at the picture of the family on the Earth Trekker page and can hardly believe how the kids have grown. I miss your adventure tales, so it was a pleasant surprise to see the email in my in-box. I’m glad you are all happy in your stay-in-one-place mode. For a while, anyway. I will be in Spain on a regular “if it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium” tour in the beginning of November, channeling your spirit of adventure in my limited 63 year old way. Maybe someday I will tour with the Earth Trekker travel business. Cheers!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  5. Avatar for Jurgita
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