In January 2006, three and one half years ago, I said to Marty, "If we are ever going to take this trip, we had better start planning it." At that point I really wasn't convinced that this trip would ever occur but I was certain of one thing, if we didn't start planning it, then for sure it would never happen. Just thinking about it or even talking about it was not going to make it a reality.
As we started to make plans in earnest, book flights, arrange for accommodations, obtain VISAs...it became clear that this trip was really going to happen - sort of. I still found myself saying "We are PLANNING on taking a trip around the world." It was so difficult for me to say "We ARE taking a trip around the world." Even at this late date was I still scared that it wasn't going to happen? Or, was I scared that it really was going to happen?
Well, it did happen. Of course I don't need to tell you that, you watched it unfold right here on this blog. And the most amazing thing of the whole year was just that; that it did happen. We took a dream and made it into a reality. We didn't let the myriad of obstacles that could have gotten in our way, get in our way. We didn't let the abundance of emotional issues that surfaced stop us either.
Taking this trip was the biggest thing that I have ever done in my life. And at this stage of my life, it may be the biggest thing that I will ever do. The good, the bad and the ugly of it all doesn't really matter. Just having made the trip made it a huge success. It was empowering, it made me stronger and if I can do this, I can do anything - as long as I can hold onto this feeling.
Avocet and Siena are young; they have their whole lives ahead of them. They will probably do something that will surpass this experience. That's OK. This wasn't their gig, it was ours. For them, this was a gift. An opportunity to see a world greater than the microcosm in which they live. An opportunity to have a different perspective as they grow and mature. And an opportunity to have a lifetime of memories that they can share with us.
I will miss writing this blog. For over a year now, this has been an important part of my life. Whether you were a religious follower or one who just popped on for a peek now and then, I thank you. While we will always have this blog as a family memento, knowing you were out there reading and going with us on our journey, made it that much more enjoyable to write. It was a great ride and I'm glad you all came along.
For me too, this process feels like it started decades ago. At the beginning, the onset of the trip was a lifetime away. What I didn't think about was the end of the trip. You plan for the things that must be done, the itinerary, the visas, the accommodations, etc. Those are “easy” in the long haul to work on because there is an excitement, an anticipation...even though they felt “hard” at the time. Now, after 42,000+ miles, what is there to look forward to? We won't be doing this again, at least the way it was done the first time. Av and Si's next adventure will be one of their own, maybe backpacking in their early twenties. The old farts of the family, lisa and I, will do something travel related in the future but not soon. A year on the road takes it out of you. So what is the next frontier? Job? Career? New Hobby? Volunteering? Green business? Astronaut? Run for President (not)?
I have discovered that the past year has reminded me that life is an adventure. It is too precious to not consider it so. I know that on the cusp of fifty five years of age that I don't have even forty good healthy years left. Doing something just to make money or to please someone or to conform...forget it. This year was the adventure of a lifetime. But maybe just one of the adventures. There are many more to come. It was a GREAT, GREAT year.