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.
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.
I 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.
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.