After spending the better part of 8 months on the road, traveling through South East Asia, Australia, Italy and a bunch of Southern and Eastern Africa, Susana and I made a brief return to Toronto. We were of mixed feelings on the return and had read some thoughts from others that had done the same before us. Mostly our experienced echoed theirs.
First, the good. It was fantastic coming home to family and friends. We were lavished with attention and love from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. It was also great to share stories and moments with family and friends.
Seeing Canada again through a fresh perspective helped me to remember just how well Canada holds up in international comparisons. It’s clean, safe and friendly. While its no Australia when it comes to keeping public spaces clean, it’s not as far behind as I remembered it to be. In short, Canada is better in many ways than I had in my mind.
Lastly, it was good to recharge and re-energy ourselves for the second leg of the trip. We don’t take this trip for granted at any time but being home helped to remind us just how special travelling for us really is.
Now, the bad. Coming home gave a pause to our travels and took a bit of momentum out of it. This is the flip side of recharging. While it was nice to relax, it did slow our progress down, travel-wise.
While seeing friends was enjoyable, it reminded us about how divergent our life choices are in comparison to the norm. We don’t have children or jobs or anything that would look like a regular schedule. This is wonderful but abnormal. Being around our friends reminded us about the distance that may have grown due to our decision to travel long term.
Finally, my inability to communicate the life affirming moments of our trip to others was both expected and frustrating. This trip is so much more to us than the passage of time will reveal or storytelling may imply. It’s been life altering in many ways. No matter my efforts, it was frustrating not being able to properly express this aspect of the trip.
When we split our trip into two legs, we knew going home would be both bad and good; refreshing and momentum killing. We did it mostly because the flights worked out to be cost effective this way. I doubt I would have done it otherwise. While I enjoyed the recharging and family time, I could have just as easily continued straight on, building up more stories to share upon our ultimate return.