Well, Shelley had the great idea to post some final thoughts on our trip. I think when sharing about our adventure, there are many feelings and thoughts that we both share, and if I would ever get my ass in gear (my hat’s off to Shelley for her patience in waiting for me) we have plans to jointly write some farewell words. Today, while I sit perched up in bed, home sick from work with a cold (so quintessential Canadian) while so many things have returned to some semblance of my life before the trip, there are differences.
What is a bit surprising to me, is that the changes I feel that have occurred as a direct result of our trip, are far more subtle then I imagined. When we were designing and envisioning our trip, I had expectations around wanting to ‘shake up’ my life! I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to change in my life, but I was certain that our adventure trip, which was deliberately planned to incorporate cultural living experiences, would provide me insights and alternative ways of seeing things. I had expectations that my life, when I returned home, would look and feel different.
So, here today after being home for over 3 months I am reflecting on the trip and on my original expectations. I certainly did shake up my life! I experienced the lives of others and lived, even for a brief time, in over 13 countries. Shelley and I chose most often to travel how the locals of that country travelled. This made things more challenging at times, but also more rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, we were always still seen as tourists, and were always able to afford whatever we needed, but we attempted to live as culturally authentic as possible. My expectations were certainly met around gaining insights and experiencing how others live, eat, experience joy/sorrow, sing, dance, and communicate. While it’s cliché, there is something so powerful about witnessing others being so happy with what we would consider as having barely nothing.
As I re-settle back into my life here in Canada, of course it’s typical to have feelings of gratitude for being born in a country like Canada, and being blessed with family and friends, and I believe that I have gained a stronger and a more vital sense of this gratitude as a direct result of my trip. I know that we will continue to connect with people we have met on our adventure, and my geographical friend zone has expanded significantly, which is another cool outcome from our trip.
While I know this will fade, I still have daily thoughts about some aspect of the trip. I may be walking and see a sign that triggers a memory or hear a song and know it’s origin. Just the other night I was watching Netflix (Frankie and Gracie episode), and in the show, there was a brief recording playing… I immediately knew that it was a Mongolian throat singer. Then I said to myself “hey, I took Mongolian throat singing lessons, by a famous Mongolian singer, while I was in Mongolia, and then we went to eat some horse meat.” Now you can’t have a better memory then that!!