On the eve of return…

Tomorrow we are heading back to my parents’ house in Pennsylvania. I know the blog is dreadfully behind and if you’re only seeing my blog posts, you’d think we were still in California. We’re not. With the exception of tonight’s post, I plan to “go back” to California and continue to add each post in chronological order of what we did on the trip. I don’t know how long it will take me, but the thing is, this is just as much for us as it is for anyone who’s reading it. This is our record of a life-changing experience, and I want to create it to be something we publish and keep forever. So it will take the time it takes. My only hurry is to record it all before memories start to fade and “real life” starts to invade the feelings of being there and the lessons learned.

But tonight I am taking a step out of chronological order to reflect before it’s all “over”. Yes, we will still be in the US for another 2 ½ weeks and there are still many things we are looking forward to doing. But we will be back on familiar turf, staying in one place for more than a few days and generally changing the lifestyle we’ve gotten very used to over the past 3 months.

It will take us weeks and months to process, digest, reflect on and begin to understand all that we have seen and done. It would be premature for me to try to summarize this trip in a few sentences. Instead, tonight I want to share how I feel about it ending.

Someone asked me today if we are anxious to go home – not to my childhood home but to our apartment in Sweden, where all of our stuff is and where we can return to “normal life”. I’m honestly not. (That’s not to say that I’m dreading it though.) Am I tired of sleeping in a pop-up camper that doesn’t have it’s own bathroom? No, not really. Am I tired of cooking 1 or 2 pot meals outside on a propane stove (using a flashlight after daylight savings ended and it was dark so much earlier)? Maybe a little. Are we starting to get tired? Yes. But most of that has just been these last few days, when we started sleeping inside and our kids haven’t slept very well. Are we sad that it’s over? Yes. Definitely. Making the last “left turn” to drive north from Florida was like a kind of a grieving process that I wasn’t expecting. I was more sad about spending our last night in the camper than I was about the last house that we moved out of. I guess I was expecting to feel “done” with it all by now, but I don’t.

But all good things must end. Someone once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” And I do. Part of me still can’t believe we did this. It has been amazing. We will continue to look back, and share memories, and process all that we have experienced. But it is also time to look forward. To prepare for what lies ahead. To decide what’s next. Being away for this long can really clean your slate, so to speak, and enable a fresh start. What have we learned, and how have we changed and who do we want to be now going forward? Those are all questions that we need to answer in the coming days and weeks. It’s a really exciting and yet slightly intimidating place to be.

So that’s what I’m thinking about on this the final evening of our 91 day adventure. Well, that and that I really hope our kids will sleep well tonight. Thanks for sharing in this journey with us!

3 thoughts on “On the eve of return…

  1. I really enjoyed reading your posts during these travels…this trip sounded absolutely amazing- the ultimate family experience! Enjoy the rest of your time in the states. 🙂

  2. I think the single coolest part about the trip will come 20 or so years from now when Emelie and Peter starts to reflect on their lives (on a more mature level) and realize what kind of impact experiences like this (and other trips, probably) had on them. I really loved how you guys thought and care about that.

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