Musings, Tidbits About Us, Travel Plans

On Slipping into June: “When Wanderers Cease to Roam”

June 8, 2013

It’s a warm Saturday afternoon here in Portland, Oregon.

Earlier today, Rose Festival traffic slowed my drive south to my sister-in-law’s baby shower, and now that I’m home, I’m slowly sinking farther into couch cushions and this post-RTW reality…

“I’m worried that I broke my iPad,” my mom tells me at last night’s family get together. “I keep visiting your blog, but the newest post I see is the one about Baby Peach.”

Sigh. I know.

The pace of travel and writing and writing and travel suited me so well. Camera in hand, or at least on shoulder strap, keyboard daily beneath my dancing fingers. Post after post of people and places, of meals and memories and life-altering lessons.

Time, endless time…

Here I am now, searching for new equilibrium while this growing belly sways my backbone and calls for re-prioritizing nearly every single aspect of existence.

A rug. New shoes. A hardcover book. Wood floors in a home with a mailbox…yes, that’s right, a permanent mailing address for these two RTW wanderers.

New Home in Montavilla

Oh, how life looks now so different.

Aside from fleeting moments when a memory sweeps me back to the sandy beaches of Zanzibar or ramshackle islands of Croatia, that free and easy pace (to use the cliché) feels an absolute world away.

Processing post-travel life through written words feels like a luxury when my new-homesteading ventures vie for every scrap of time and mental fortitude: finding housing, moving, unpacking, setting up kitchen; re-establishing grocery and mealtime rhythms, remembering breakfast for the sake of this kicking, squirming alien in my abdomen; freelancing and managing longer and longer client to-do lists; encouraging my partner in life and love to keep his spirits and hopes high while fitting together a new framework of professional employment and masters level education…

And then…afternoons like this one come along. An eerie alternative-universe flashback to those days of planning, reading, writing, relaxing…pondering.

Ted’s surrounded by pens and notepaper, wrapped in a computer cord with an Apple on his lap, not researching the next leg of an overland journey or comparing ticket prices, but tracking as Harvard Business School tutorials play across the speakers and he charts his way toward a future in Nonprofit Management.

I’m tapping again at the keys after an hour spent barefoot, reclined, reading travel tales…this time in book form, rather than blog: When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put (gifted to me by my dear friend Sara when I celebrated my 2013 birthday in Oregon).

Author Vivian Swift’s water-colored journey through twelve months post-travel brings my own imagination back to life; her memories of Africa dance across my heart, her mentions of flavors and smells and sights and sounds take me to moments buried deep in my psyche…

And I think about this grand adventure, this grand experiment, this “new Oregon Trail” that we’re on. We left it all, we packed and said goodbye. We traveled the highs and lows: the mountain passes and the green, grassy riverbanks. We had our share of close calls and weary bones, and somehow, we made it to our new life on the other side.

Undeniably, the journey is in our marrow. We draw on the lessons learned, battle scars won, vistas seen, and memories made to energize this season of free-fall, trust, and re-settlement.

No less true than Day One when we stepped aboard the flight to South America:

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps…
~Proverbs 16:9

And as I sink into the couch and watch the blue sky grow sunset-yellow out the window, I trust that post-travel processing and posts will come as life allows… Meanwhile, my thoughts keep flipping to this whole-wide-world-inside, this ever-rounding belly where my sweet little Peach is growing her heart out, beginning her own adventures in the universe.

I know the best is yet to come.

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A few recent posts from fellow RTW travelers on endings, beginnings, lessons and life:
Annie (@travelshus) writing at BootsnAll: Defining Change – Coming Home from a RTW Trip
Sherry (@soulowist) sharing thoughts on Returning Home & Re-Entry and What I’ve Learned…

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  • Reply Ursula June 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Yes. The best is yet to come! But, I do want to see photos from Morocco.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:06 am

      I want to show them to you ;)

  • Reply Kim June 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Wow, this kind of makes me sad! I know YOU aren’t sad, but sad for me and the time that this will happen in my own life. Though I trust that when it is finally time for our wandering to come to an end that I will be ready for it.

    Many blessings to you and Ted and the new baby. I do hope you’ll post pictures when the baby is born!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

      Kim, you’re a dear. Just revel in each season as you’re in it — that’s the very best way to savor life! I’m so happy to know that you and Brian are in the very center of your dream, and I trust that as each new chapter unfolds for you, you’ll be ready to embrace it with that same spunky, trusting, adventurous, risk-taking, life-seeking spirit that’s brought you this far!

      As for pictures of the little Peach ~ I’m sure Ted will have to pry the camera out of my hands at some point ; ) You’ll definitely get to “meet” her!

  • Reply Maria June 9, 2013 at 11:05 am

    In art we say “You’re too close to the canvas” when you can’t see how wonderful your own creation is or you’re too critical. I think you’re too close to the canvas now. Portland may not seem exotic to you, but others have never visited and may have a very different impression of your own backyard.

    You’re still, every day, very much part of an adventure, perhaps just a little too close to the canvas. :-)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Maria, thank you for the perspective. I remember my painting teachers often telling me I was overworking my pieces, too caught up in the up-close… You’re so right – stepping back and seeing the adventures of this life in context does the spirit good. xx

  • Reply Janene June 10, 2013 at 8:28 am

    You are such a beautiful story teller! Your gift of writing truly amazes me. I’m not just reading what you are saying, I’m feeling it as well. Something about the way you put words down makes me think about my own choices. It gives me a moment to pause, pray, and contemplate my own journey. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Hugs, Janene

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Oh, thank you so much for your sweet words, Janene. Really, truly. I admire so much the risks and changes and steps of faith that you have taken in your own life… I’m thankful we can learn from and enjoy each other’s stories. Hugs right back at you! xxx

  • Reply Kirsten June 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Often, travelers narcissistically describe travel as the best. The best there is, the best way to live, the best version of living life to the fullest. I think, the best is whatever makes you come most alive.

    I can’t wait to meet this little one and I’m so glad you will continue telling stories. It doesn’t matter to me that they’ll be less global and more Oregon-focused. XO

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

      “The best is whatever makes you come most alive.”

      You put it beautifully, my friend.

      And I’m so glad that your life is richer these days with the new love in your story!~

      Can’t wait to meet him, as well, and see you again someday soon : )

  • Reply archie June 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I once stepped off a tall ship decades ago knowing I would never return to the life I had known for several years as I crewed this ship as a young man. I looked to a dull existance where once there had been adventure. What I didn’t realize then, and only am beginning to understand 30 years on, is that the experiences shaped who I am now and I carry them with me. We are better people for the adventures we have had. Now you are about to have the best adventure of your life. I have to young adventurers and seeing it all again through thier eyes is better than anything I have ever known

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Archie, I wish I could sit and listen to your stories and your perspectives on life… You sound like you have much wisdom (and more than a few adventures?) under your belt. Thank you so much for reading and for taking time to leave a note. It really means so much.
      xx Bethany

  • Reply Susan Buck June 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

    King Phillip to Alexander– you’ve expanded the empire and delightfully shared the process with others.

    You, because you are you, will continue journeying although in a different venue, and I for one hope you continue it with others. Your gentle, thoughtful and humorous voice is a delight to others. (And I’m not just saying that because I’m your mother.)

    P.S. I know a good babysitter who would help care for The Peach to give you time to write as needed, too. :-)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

      You’re sweet, mom. You’re the teacher who opened my eyes to the world to begin with! And you’ll be such a terrific grandma to the little Peach xx

  • Reply Franca June 21, 2013 at 11:43 am

    It must be pretty difficult to settle down when you are looking back at your past travels wanting more. I’m sure that the journey you are about to start is going to be equally exciting and who said that traveling as a family isn’t possible? ;)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians July 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

      I keep asking myself that same question… ;)

  • Reply Valynne July 6, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Oh, Bethany! I am more behind on my favorite blogs than I realized ~ had no idea that you are pregnant! Yaaayyy! BIG congrats to you and Ted. As for travel with little ones…have you ever considered an Airstream? ; )

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Oh, Valynne! I hope you are well this autumn :) Thank you so much for your note earlier this summer. It’s been such a jam-packed off-line life that I’ve not kept up very well with the digital world. I’m so excited that our little girl is finally here, and I’ll have to head over to your blog to see what’s up with you! Hugs xx Bethany
      P.S. Oh, I think an Airstream adventure would be fabulous!

  • Reply Matt July 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

    We just returned home ourselves. In many ways it feels like we were gone for a weekend as people are doing their thing…still. In more ways the consistency seems nice. What we’ve found was that what we learned on the trip: exploring and trying new things, makes life better at home too. It’s about keeping that travel mentality and occasionally letting the dishes sit dirty while you have a new adventure.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Hah, as I revisit your comment now (post-baby!), the “letting dirty dishes sit” comment is even more apropos.

      You’re so right about bringing the traveling mentality home. I love it when those flashes of adventure and discovery pop back up in day-to-day life.

      Hope you two are well these days! Any new plans on the horizon?

  • Reply Roxanne August 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve been through these transitions – from field to a new home to field again to ‘home’ again – and I’ve learned to love them. New routines emerge before you know it, and for quite some time, everything still carries the charm of novelty, even at home. That is the beauty of carrying your traveler’s eyes and curiosity everywhere you go… So looking forward to reading this new chapter for you guys!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Roxanne! I so appreciated your comments when you left them this summer. I must admit, life was filled so full-to-the-brink during these past months that I sadly neglected replying or keeping up with most of my online friends. I hope that you’ve been well and that grad school is yielding good fruit.

      We’ve certainly enjoyed sinking into our new routines. The move to a new home, the rituals of tea and coffee in a kitchen of our own, the beauty of spending time with friends in Portland during bouts of summer sunshine… And now, with baby’s arrival, I’m learning a whole new way of life all over again. All the changes keep it interesting, for sure.

      Hugs to you! Look us up if you end up out for a west coast visit :) xx

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