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.
Oh, how life looks now so different.
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…
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…