January 3, 2013

Sunset over Mount Fuji, Tokyo, Japan: On our Christmas Day flight home to Portland, Oregon…

Blink, and a year goes by.

Here, just three days from the anniversary of our January 5th departure (“Dawn” over Mount Hood), I find myself dwelling on the similarities between this year and last. During this symbolic month of new beginnings, Ted and I anticipate a new 12 month string of discovery…this time, though, the mysteries make me squirm.

We’re back in Oregon. Bags unpacked for the time being.

We winged our way home on Christmas Day and rushed gladly into the arms of our family and our friends.

Greeted at the airport by Ted’s parents, my parents, and all five of my six-foot-plus-tall brothers.

We put away the travel budget notebook and the currency converters. We traded out the well-worn travel gear for comfy old PJs and snazzy new outfits. (Well, one classy outfit each. Thank you, New Zealand shopping malls.)

We’ve spent the past week+ celebrating and catching up (on friendships and coffee more than on sleep, actually). We bookended our January 1st, 2012 Going-Away party with a December 31st, 2012 New Years Eve party.

And now, Dawn has reached Dusk.

A new sort of adventure begins.

This quote found its way to the list of words that kept me ticking throughout the planning and the pulling-off of our year-long stunt:

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My other favorite, listed at the end of our travel plan hopes and schemes, convicts me today to trust just as much now as I did when we first stepped foot on the first plane from Portland:

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
-Proverbs 16:9

Here on the blog, I’m eager to continue sharing other-side-of-the-planet adventures, and I’ll sprinkle in tidbits and update on what 2013 holds as it becomes known to us.

Looking back at what’s come before: I have more tales and photos from Thailand and New Zealand, and I plan to clue you in on the missing-gap-mysteries from Brazil and Spain and the Canary Islands and Morocco and Cape Verde and even a bit from Italy, too.

Looking forward: We’re planning visits to beautiful spots in Oregon, and we have a few overseas tricks up our sleeves, too. Would you believe there are tickets with our names on them departing Portland, heading toward London?

Who knows how life’s puzzle pieces will ultimately fit together?

We trust.

We look forward.

We scheme and wonder just how plans might turn out…

I try not to wriggle around in discomfort when I answer peoples, “What now?” questions with “I don’t know yet…”

Though, on the other hand, I’ve been happy to receive some terrific questions about the trip since we’ve returned to Oregon. Questions like, “What was, literally, the most colorful place you visited?” Or, “Where were you surprised to feel most at home?” And, “What was the first thing you noticed about America when you returned that you never really missed?”

I can rattle off a few answers to the good old “Where was your favorite place?” and “So, how was the trip?” inquiries, but I’m grateful, too, for questions that challenge me to think deeply and ponder and processes. If you’ve followed this blog for long, you know that posts often grow out of a decent amount of lag-time between events and write-ups. I like to think on things for a while before spouting off too much…

Which brings me to a request for you, our readers.

After a twelve-month trip around the world, you’d better believe I’m bursting with more thoughts and memories and impressions and opinions than could ever be written in one place. Maybe you’d like to help narrow down the list of thoughts and answers you’d actually enjoy reading?

I’d love it if you wanted to throw out a question or two or ten. Enter below, click “submit,” and I’ll receive them privately and then use the entries to help create a new post… Go ahead, ask those burning questions!

Thank you so much, each one of you, for reading along, for commenting, for being cheerleaders and joy-sharers. Our travels and our lives are better for the richness you have shared with us. Wishing you a hope-filled New Year, wherever you are in the world!
xx B&T

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  • Reply Kieu ~ GQ trippin January 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Ahhh I know exactly how you guys feel!! Gerard and I came home just before Christmas after a year on the road too. Man does time fly, right?!!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Completely! And it’s always nice to hear from fellow traveling friends who are going through similar emotions and transitions.

      I’m excited to hear more about your guys’ wedding plans. How about a #rtwrehearsaldinnerparty? We’ll all join in to toast you and Captain & Clark : )

  • Reply Aunt Linda January 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Welcome home! Look forward to catching up when the dust settles but before the bags are packed for the next adventure…

    Thankful for your safe and incredible journey! Happy new year-
    Love Aunt Linda

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you so much, Aunt Linda. I’m so grateful, too, to have completed the year without suffering any major disasters on the road. It’s been a very blessed year, absolutely. Looking forward to giving you a big hug when we get to see each other! xx Bethany

  • Reply Grandma & Grandpa Menzel January 4, 2013 at 4:40 am

    We’re Glad you are Back and we can relax a bit on prayers.
    give us your next hurdle… We know…JOBS, Right ? Let us know where you are looking; what you are finding!
    Love, now and always

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Relax? Never! ; ) We’re getting settled slowly. I’ve been a bit sick this past week, so I’m taking it slow. Ted’s been working on a few different projects, and we’re sorting plans for the next while… Fun to see pictures from James and Jessica’s wedding – you both looked great out on the dance floor!
      Bethany (& Ted)

  • Reply Roxanne January 5, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Welcome home, lovely people. It is good to know we are in the same country again, and we are all lucky to live somewhere so full of beauty and diverse landscapes and communities with which to fall in love. It has been such a treat following your journey and I’m looking forward to seeing where you take life next. Until then, welcome home and a very happy new year to both of you! I’m now off to enter a question in the box above…

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      Cheers to that, my dear. I’d like to think of myself as a grateful person in general, but with each trip to new lands, I’ve been increasingly challenged to learn how better to appreciate the places of my roots. It’s so easy to let the good and beautiful things of life become “normal” and to stop giving thanks for the blessings.

      I’m so glad we met, and I’m thankful that technology allows us to keep in touch, too! All the best to you on your east coast adventures this winter xx Bethany

  • Reply Jane Sadek January 5, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Hi guys, I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award so my readers could find their way over to you.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Jane, you’re very kind. Thank you so much for the nomination and for letting us know.
      Wishing you a beautiful January,

  • Reply jane luthy January 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Wow you two. Welcome home!!! What a journey I’ve been on.

    xxoo Jane

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Jane! Thank you for the welcome home : ) Can’t wait to see you and tell you even more of the juicy details : )
      xx B&T

  • Reply Rhonda January 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Welcome home! I hope you’re adjusting well. When we returned from our RTW our culture shock at being back in the US was so extreme we took off again to drive around the USA just to re-assimilate without actually being at home in Portland! Looking forward to more stories from your trip and your new adventures. Would love to meet up for a beer to hear more about it in person and meet you guys so let us know if you’re interested. Happy 2013!

  • Reply Seven Wonders of Oregon - twoOregonianstwoOregonians April 24, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    […] – The sunrise over Mt. Hood from my family’s home. “Dusk” – The sunset over Mt. Fuji on our Christmas flight home to […]

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