This post was written in July 2016, one year after returning home from our trip around the world.
It has been one year since we took that final bus journey from NYC to Maryland. One momentous, lightning fast year, full of readjustments, new beginnings, and plans for our future.
Not a day goes by that we do not reflect on the trip. Even now, I can pick a date and relive it in my head, almost as vividly as when we were actually traveling. Each day was so unique and so memorable. What a gift we have given ourselves…396 days of incredible memories, life altering experiences, and time to grow together as a family.
We are different now. Sure, when you talk to us, we may sound like anyone else you know. But there have been deep, fundamental changes to how we view the world and go about our daily lives.
Now that we are home, not a day goes by that I do not give thanks for the life that we live. We have much to be thankful for…our jobs, where we live, being surrounded by family and friends.
But it goes deeper than that. The things that move me now are so simple.
The simple beauty of a sunrise can move me to tears. Mundane tasks, such as washing the dishes or sweeping the floor, seem almost enjoyable now. The things I once hated (grocery shopping, cooking dinner, doing the laundry) are no longer the frustrating chores they once were.
I can easily find joy in the simple, little things that make up daily life. It is a wonderful appreciation for the ordinary. It is weird, I know, but I just feel so fortunate, to be alive, to have this chance to live. So, I take the good with the bad and I am thankful for all of it.
Sure, we feel fortunate for things like our house, our cars, our way of life. But I think we now feel more fortunate for the smaller things, the more abstract ideas of life. We feel more fortunate to be able “to do” than “to have.” Life experiences are much more important than driving a fancy, new car or living in an oversized house.
Before the trip, Tim and I were always searching for something more. There was a void in our lives, a feeling that something was missing. A feeling that we were failing in not doing more with this one chance at life.
Well, there’s nothing like a trip around the world to fill that void. Taking this huge risk on our lives, and succeeding, has quenched our thirst for that “something more.” For now, we are content and happy, and that truly is something to be thankful for.
How Has Our Around the World Trip Affected Tyler and Kara?
I see a lot of changes in both of them. The most apparent is their education. They have always been very bright, but since returning home, their education levels have increased. They get better grades (Tyler had straight A’s for the entire year) and their study skills are amazing. In the mornings, they get themselves up, take showers, pack their lunches, and get themselves on the bus. Tyler and Kara are incredibly responsible and mature.
Tyler is driven. He has huge plans for his future and already talks about going to college or studying abroad in Asia. He has seen the growth and development in that part of the world, sees the potential, and wants to be a part of it.
Before the trip, Tyler was shy. Now he is confident, worldly, and driven to get the most out of his life. I cannot wait to see where he is going.
Since the trip, Kara is much more empathetic. She helps kids in her classes that are struggling with course material and gets together after school to help those who need a little extra assistance. Kara is the creative one, always painting, sketching, and now, cooking. Most likely, Kara will take a different career path than Tyler, and again, I cannot wait to see what she does with her life.
What Do I Miss?
When we traveled, everything was always new. New places, new food, new people. I miss the newness and the challenge of figuring out another place, over and over again.
I miss the food.
I miss not being able to speak the language.
I miss walking in the streets because the sidewalks were so packed with motorbikes.
I miss having each day be different.
I miss walking through the streets of Kathmandu.
I miss listening to Tyler speak Mandarin in China.
I miss our first days in Rome when the trip was brand new, fresh, and exhilarating.
I miss being burnt out from travel, because we had done too much for so long.
I miss sharing all day, everyday with Tim, Tyler, and Kara.
I miss being on the journey, and then sharing our experiences on this website.
I miss the work of it.
I miss tuk-tuks.
I miss soup for breakfast.
I miss carrying everything we need on our backs.
I miss Asia.
I miss the feeling of freedom we had.
I miss hearing lions at night in Africa.
I might even miss those long, torturous bus journeys…maybe just a little bit.
Would We Do It Again?
13 months around the world…again? If you asked me one year ago, my answer would have been an emphatic “No!” I think we all felt this way. Well, maybe not Tyler.
Lately, the idea of another long-term trip sounds enticing. Just maybe not 13 months. Four to six months sounds perfect, but it will not be anytime soon. If we do it again, it will be years from now. High school is just around the corner and this is a time that we do not want to pull Tyler and Kara out of school.
Where to we go from here? We are in a good spot in our lives. There is work and school and (almost) enough travel to keep us happy.
From here, we are going to balance our very busy work and school lives with as much travel as possible. For us, we are always looking forward to that next plane flight, new city, and new place to explore.
There is still so much in the world that is new for us and just waiting to be explored.
Are you considering a trip around the world? Read all of our articles in our How to Travel Around the World Guide.
You Might Also Like:
- AROUND THE WORLD ITINERARY: One Year Around the World
- ONE YEAR IN PHOTOS: 365 Days of Travel in 100 Photos
- QUESTIONS ABOUT RTW TRAVEL: Your Questions, Answered
- TYPICAL DAY: A Typical Day for the Earth Trekkers
- TRAVEL TIPS: 101 Travel Tips After Traveling Around the World
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I love your travel site and it has truly helped me with planning my trips! You’re a great writer and your attention to details made my trips extraordinary. I applaud you for taking all of your wonderful family global adventures and I must say that for must of us, it is a dream. I was thinking about what perfect ages your children were for this kind of trip. And now they are at the age to settle in during the hs years. Well done!
I love to travel and have spent most of my life going on world-wide adventures. My children are in their twenties and thankfully, they still want to travel with me, which is awesome since my husband is not a traveler 🙁 I made a deal with myself to visit somewhere I haven’t been during Spring and Fall months, even if it’s alone (not my first choice).
To that end, your blog is a HUGE help! Specifically, your itineraries are where I begin to brain storm, so thank you for them.
I am planning a trip to NY for mothers day and I want to add on a 3-4 day excursion in the area. I’m originally from NY and schooled in NH. Do you live in Maryland? If so, I was hoping that you could give me some insight. I read an interesting article on traveling through the Chesapeake Bay region which mentions Tilghman Island Inn and Bromes Island. I would love any suggestions, itineraries etc. Is that area considered a destination? It would be just my daughter and I. We are both fairly active, love both nature and cool cites and of are obsessed with fresh seafood. Also, we would be flying in from LA.
I thank you in advance for any recommendations.
Hello Tina. Thanks for writing in and for your very kind comments. Yes, we live in Maryland but I have to admit that I have never been to Tilghman Island (although we have been to St. Michael’s). As for trips that we take in Maryland, I grew up spending a week in the summer at Ocean City (not worthwhile coming from California) and visiting Baltimore and Washington DC. But usually, we leave Maryland, preferring nearby Shenandoah National Park and taking the train to NYC. The Chesapeake Bay is very nice. We had a boat for 2 summers when the kids were very young and would go water skiing and such. Maybe because I’ve always lived near it I’ve never thought of it as a tourist spot. St. Michael’s (and nearby Tilghman Island) is a spot that Marylanders will go to stay in a B&B for a quiet weekend, a little shopping, and nice dinners. There’s not a ton to do but if you are looking for a chill getaway it’s a good option. Blue crabs are a must-try while in Maryland, either getting crab cakes or picking crabs. If you choose to visit the Chesapeake Bay, some sort of boat tour would be nice to get out on the water. I hope this helps! Cheers, Julie
Superb, in short, I want to say that, “It is proper life” Stay Blessed
Julie, I just found your blog today, when searching personal narratives about trekking to Everest Base Camp . I really identified with your blog on two counts: your travels with your family around the world and dealing with the readjustment of returning to “real life.”
We lived overseas 18 years in Japan, Venezuela and France. Our two children were with us during the first 10 years I in Kobe, Japan. During those years, our family went to every continent and had so many wonderful adventures. Now in our 60’s, my husband and I continue to explore, in recent years climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking in Patagonia and kayaking 5 days in the Everglades.
Returning to suburban USA life after the challenges and excitement of living overseas was always anticlimactic for me. Also, my return from my most recent personal adventure has been especially difficult. A month ago I returned home earlier than planned (due to an injury) after having backpacked 1900 miles in all of the nearly 2200 mile Appalachian Trail (900 miles this year). Returning from the previous 2 summers of backpacking had me feeling blue, but being on crutches this time has made it even harder emotionally.
But will I give up my/our adventures because of the downsides? No way! One thing that helps me get through this downtime is planning future years’ adventures (ie: finishing my final 250 miles of the AT in Maine, Everest Base Camp, and treks in Europe), which I’m sure helps you and others who long for the open road.
I truly look forward to exploring the rest of your blog and following your future posts. Thank you!
Chocoholic, my trailname on the AT
PS. I happen to think the AT would be a perfect adventure for you as either a couple or a family, especially with your tri fitness. I had hoped to do the whole trail in one go as a thru-hiker, but I found that doing it in 4 sections over 4 years better suited my body and my schedule. Feel free to check my blog out at thetrek.co/author/ruth-morley
Hello Ruth. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I am sorry that you are injured. I think it is so awesome that you are going to hike the entire AT. Only 300 miles to go! I would love to do something like that too…I have always wanted to do a long distance trek or just “walk across something” whether it was New Zealand, Scotland, etc. The Camino de Santiago is high on my to-do list too. Although right now, with high school kids, I don’t want to be away for them for long…this time is so precious to me. But in a few years they will be off in college…
It sounds like you have had some wonderful adventures recently. I hope you heal up quickly so you can have many more wonderful adventures! Cheers, Julie
Hi Julie, I just came across your blog and was fascinated at how you settled back into daily life after a year of travel.
We have just returned from a similar trip (although we live in New Zealand so didn’t count that!) Our teenagers were 16 and 13 and we took them backpacking around the world for a year.
Where we differ is that I have NOT settled back into life. I almost cried (doesn’t take much at the moment) when I read your “what I miss’ list. I really miss tuk-tuks too.
I need to find your secret.
Every day I sit at the dinner table with my now enormous teenagers, wishing that I could put a pair of training reigns on both of them and take them off around the world again.
Now there are boyfriends and girlfriends on the scene so there is not much room for persuasion – no matter how hard I try!
I have always homeschooled my kids so the school thing isn’t a problem, for us it’s money. So, I too am working hard on my blog hoping that one day it will make me a millionaire and enable me to fly off into the sunset (dragging my adult kids behind me perhaps?!)
Thanks for a fab blog!
Hello Liz. I had a tough adjustment too. Fortunately for me, it only lasted several months. I walked around in a weird funk that was a mix of mild depression, feeling a bit lost, but also amazement at what we had done. Now, I look forward to shorter trips as a family. Once our kids became teenagers, they want to travel less and spend more time with their friends (at least in our case, and now Tyler and Kara are 16 and 14). Even so, I still really miss those days when we were together all of the time, living out of backpacks, out in the world. Give it some time, plan another shorter trip, and work on your blog. I wish the best of luck on the blog and on your future travels. Who knows, maybe it won’t be long until you are on another long-term trip Cheers, Julie