A Travellerspoint blog

February 2018

Kellie Reflects

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!!

Posted by kelshell 20:32 Comments (0)

Return to the real world

You can always go home again...

rain 9 °C

Kellie and I decided to each write a piece about being home and then we will give our impression of our trip together. Here goes mine...

It's nice to be home. I arrived back close to Christmas time knowing that I would have work in January for a few months. So I could relax over the holidays and spend time with family and friends. It was a lovely, quiet Christmas in Kelowna. My only concern was the weather as I would be driving over the Coquihalla Highway sometime between the 27th and 31st of December to reach Vancouver Island. I was able to leave on a clear day, December 30th. The road was the worst I've ever seen it, especially the connector between Merritt and Kelowna. Arriving on the Island, I was able to meet Kellie for a quick coffee and then was off to Pam and Dan's for dinner in Ladysmith. Dinner at Pam's never disappoints and we had a great meal and a greater visit. Megan was waiting up for me so we got to talk for a while before bed. Megan's is my home away from home while my place in Kelowna is rented out. I spent New Year's Eve with Jenny and Bonnie with fondue, good wine and great company. Jenny and I talked so late I had to sleep over! Back to work at Clements Centre... it felt so good to be back with everyone there. I have been enjoying my job and my friendships there and will be there full-time until the end of March. After that, it's a mystery, but I have some "irons in the fire." I have adjusted quite well to being home, although for the first few weeks I would stop and think, "hmm, 3 weeks ago I was in..." To all my friends and family who supported and encouraged my journey I say "Thank You!" A woman in Iceland asked me if the trip was life changing. I have to say it wasn't in a grand "aha" kind of way. It reaffirmed my values and beliefs about myself and others. It allowed me to see and experience kindness, joy, sadness, excitement, frustration and a whole host of emotions. It was a trip of so many "firsts." It proved that people are people wherever you go. They have the same hopes and dreams, the same fears and worries. I never felt afraid anywhere. And I would do it again and probably will! Meanwhile, Cathie had a dream that we are going to Italy together so we are planning for September...

One thing I found refreshing in all of the countries we traveled in was how the families we met supported each other and cared for their aging members. Many people commented on our North American culture and how they couldn't understand the concept of continuing care homes for the elderly. It was interesting to see how in the "under" developed countries they took pride in supporting family, considering it an honor and a duty to take care of those who had taken care of them. For all of you who have made tough decisions about your own family members, this is not written as any sort of judgment. I just found that this was something that stood out as a way of life. And it was a common value that we have somehow shifted from in our corner of the world.

Posted by kelshell 23:08 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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