As of today, December 10th, we have been on the road for six months or one half of our trip. On the one hand, it feels like it was not that long ago that we were sitting in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport waiting to leave the US. On the other hand, it feels like a life time ago. Time is a very funny thing. Overall, it feels that the second three months have passed much faster than the first three months. I'm not sure if that trend will continue for the next six months or not.
At this point we are ¾ the way through what we perceived to be our toughest countries. We knew that Europe, Australia and New Zealand would be the easiest places. Africa, India, Thailand, Laos and China would be the toughest. And the countries of South America, somewhere in between. Europe was in fact very easy, but as it turns out, so was Thailand and Laos. Africa was not what I would call easy, but much easier than expected. Only India was in fact as challenging as what we had predicted. I'm guessing that China will be that way as well.
On the road we don't take anything for granted and we have much to be thankful for. At this point we have had 13 flights which have all landed safely and our luggage has always been there waiting for us. We have not missed any trains, planes, ferries, buses or other forms of transportation and nothing has been more than two hours late and has never been a hardship. We were out of India by the time of the Mumbai bomings, and out of Thailand before the Bangkok airport closed and things got intense there. We are now back in Thailand for 11 days with a flight scheduled out on December 21st and at the moment it looks as if flights will be leaving Bangkok as scheduled.
We have all had days where we are “tired of traveling” but then we seem to be able to snap out of it after a short while. Avocet and Siena say they “miss home” with a certain amount of frequency with the specifics usually being: their friends, the house and their stuff. They make no mention of missing school. Marty misses his friends and his car and me, well, I miss my friends but that's about it. We are all longing to get back to apartments! We have managed in guesthouses/hotels fine and have learned to make common areas our “living room,” but we really miss having a kitchen a lot. It's nice when someone else cooks and cleans up for you but it really does get old eating in restaurants. We wonder if we'll ever eat in any restaurants in Sydney after having had to do it for four months!
Everyone has been healthy (another thing we are thankful for) with the exception of an occasional tummy ache or headache. This is particularly significant at this stage of the trip as we had assumed that we would all have gotten sick in Africa and/or India. Our first aid kit is intact with the exception of the use of some bandaids, antiseptic ointment, Advil, Dramamine and an occasional OTC sleeping aid. It would be nice if we could come home with the kit looking the way it does right now. We have less than a month more of taking our Malerone (anti-maleria) pills and will all be happy to stop taking them. Fortunately, we have not had any “known” side effects of taking them.
I try to think of how we have all changed for certainly, after an adventure like this, we are bound to change. We've watched Avocet and Siena blossom into amazing beings; they are sophisticated way beyond their years. We all see how we can live with a lot less than we're use to, not unlike the many people we see in the countries we are traveling in. It's clear to us that relationships are what life is all about. It's what we miss most from home and what we so much enjoy in our travels. And having been in Buddhist countries for the past month, learning and living the concept that the past is over and done and the present is what we have, will be something that we will continue to strive toward. My guess is that all the ways in which we have changed won't be apparent until after we get back home.
What's most amazing is that even after six months on the road, sometimes we have to pinch ourselves and say, yes, this is really happening. We are here in Thailand, half way around the world and we are spending a year of our lives traveling the world. It's hard to believe it now and I'm sure when we return home it will all seem like a dream.