A Little Confession…Sadness as my RTW Travels End

I have just six more days left before this trip around the world is all over. It’s hard to believe that 11 months have flown by so quickly…and yet at the same time, it really does feel like a whole lot has happened. All of the backpackers I meet ask me how it feels to be ending this trip.Pondering on Loch Ness

I feel conflicted. I really cannot wait to see my family, my niece and nephews and all of my friends. But I have a very clear lifestyle and method of travel and a way of life; I can perfectly pack my backpack in precisely six minutes…with a headlamp on and a piece of toast in one hand…don’t think that skill will be wholly helpful once I get home! They say that it takes 21 days to develop a habit…well it has been far longer than that and I wonder what it will be like to re-acclimate to home.

Sun Setting on the Mighty MekongI think that traveling through English speaking countries at the end of the trip will ease the transition. When I first got to England I remember having this culture shock moment just making the move from Amsterdam. For the first time since I left Australia I was back in an English-speaking country. I was walking through Hyde Park in England and I overheard a casual conversation between two elderly women chattering on a nearby bench.

It hit me hard that I could understand them. This was strange! Holy cow, I am once again in a place where I can grab snippets of conversation and comprehend. It was not until this moment that I realized that my brain had stopped attempting to translate and understand everything around me, my ear had grown accustomed to the foreign tongue and the general hum of incomprehensible conversation.

So that is one hurdle already overcome…now, that is not to say that the Scottish brogues haven’t made me scratch my head a couple of times, but I’m used to the English now and it’s nice to be easily understood. Really nice.

Ho hum. I think next week I may cry a little as I get on the plane…I am a bit of a crier and this is like the end of an era (does that sound too cheesy?). Although I plan to head out to South America in January I don’t plan to travel for more than six months-ish at a time anymore. I miss seeing the kids I love grow up, so I plan to make the US my frequent base for future travels. Not to say in the least though that I regret having done nearly a year – once you make it past the eight month mark of a RTW trip I think you really begin to understand yourself even more and everything moves to a new level – for me at least! That’s when it all started to really sink in, let’s say.Mekong River at Sunset

The blog is still in Scotland, obviously, and I am in my last week of the three I am finishing with in Ireland. My flight home is next Thursday. Between now and then I have every intention of milking out the last of this trip with some great Irish music and a bit of Guinness  :-)

I’m just getting over a severe cold – that’s a bit of a lousy way to end it all, but the Irish are so very friendly that I just can’t imagine a more lovely way to meditate on this transition than all of the hiking I’m doing around Connemara and the Dingle Peninsula.

I’ve traveled solo since Amsterdam (since a few of you have inquired, my cousin is back home and not just mysteriously absent from the blog :-) and I am enjoying all of the hiking and time to straighten out my thoughts. I will end this the way I started, just me, a pair of chacos, my backpacks, and a great big smile.

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18 Responses to A Little Confession…Sadness as my RTW Travels End

  1. ShannonOD January 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    I understand where you're coming from on the “white noise” aspect of the
    foreign languages…for me though, after 8 months of foreign, it was pretty
    intriguing to just be that easily understood – a bit of reverse culture
    shock of sorts I think :-)

  2. Andy Mesa January 24, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    I know exactly how you feel about the English thing, except for me it was very annoying. I had gotten so used to being alone with my thoughts that when I returned to London it felt like the whole world was suddenly talking to me again all at once. I've never been able to listen to music or have a TV on in the background for the same reason, so I really enjoyed the white noise of foreign languages all around me and I still miss it.

    • ShannonOD January 25, 2010 at 2:14 am #

      I understand where you're coming from on the “white noise” aspect of the
      foreign languages…for me though, after 8 months of foreign, it was pretty
      intriguing to just be that easily understood – a bit of reverse culture
      shock of sorts I think :-)

  3. Andy Mesa January 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel about the English thing, except for me it was very annoying. I had gotten so used to being alone with my thoughts that when I returned to London it felt like the whole world was suddenly talking to me again all at once. I've never been able to listen to music or have a TV on in the background for the same reason, so I really enjoyed the white noise of foreign languages all around me and I still miss it.

  4. AdventureRob October 20, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    I don't know how I'd cope in your position, but it certainly scares me!

    • Shanno October 20, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

      Just started looking through your own travels and look forward to following you :-) Are you an indefinite traveler or going back at some point?

    • Shannon October 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

      Just started looking through your own travels and look forward to following you :-) Are you an indefinite traveler or going back at some point?

  5. Elizabeth September 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    I just discovered your blog not but a week ago, and now your trip is coming to an end! :-(

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs thus far. They’ve provided me with great entertainment and ideas as my bf and I are planning on traveling around the world soon ourselves.

    • Shannon September 29, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

      Don’t hesitate to contact me when you are planning your adventures!

  6. Niki September 23, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    I’m selfish and can’t wait till you come home! It will be hard re-adjusting, I can help with some of my tofu enchiladas though!

    • Shannon September 23, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

      Now that is a deal!

  7. Laura September 23, 2009 at 4:43 am #

    i don’t think you’re cheesy! i’m a crier too…and actually kinda got a little misty-eyed just reading your post. :)

    can’t wait to see all your irish entries and sorry i might have an an influence on you being a slacker those last few weeks!

    XOXO

  8. Kim September 21, 2009 at 2:12 am #

    It is the end of the era, but I’m being selfish and glad that there are still some more posts to come. I’ve enjoyed travelling with you.

    • Shannon September 21, 2009 at 2:32 am #

      Thank you Kim! :-) There is certainly more to come since I have been slacking! Love having you a part of this little community I have here :-)

  9. Andy Hayes September 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel – when I moved from Amsterdam to Scotland, it was very weird being back in an English speaking country!! Surreal.

    • Shannon September 21, 2009 at 2:31 am #

      Surreal would be the perfect word for it :-) And that’s what I anticipate the states will be too…though maybe not after being in the UK for so long now… You acclimate fine when you go back for visits, right?

  10. Anil September 18, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    I didn’t know the end was so near…at least for this trip. Have fun in Ireland, I hear the Guiness is better there :)

    • Shannon September 21, 2009 at 2:30 am #

      It’s because I am such a bad blogger and am way behind on posts :-) Lol. The Guinness is great – supremely tasty on the many occasions I have had the opportunity to drink it. In two days I am going to tour the Guinness factory in Dublin – that should be neat!

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