After six months of travel in Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, and Czech Republic I’ve returned to Oregon. It’s great to be back in the US in time for another spectacular autumn in the Pacific Northwest.
Reacclimating takes time but a long soak in the bathtub followed by a stupor-like sleep in my own bed (yeah) is a good start! A return to this tranquil haven is welcome and being in a familiar kitchen again is nothing less than thrilling! Long trips teach you to appreciate the safety and comfort that so many people in the world don’t have.
The price of vagabondism is the inevitable return to everyday life – a reality that can be awkward and a bit skewed. Most important is reuniting with friends and family. With that comes the “curiosity” questions – “Which country did you like best? How could you travel alone for six months? Were you lonely? Was it dangerous?” Exchanging travel stories with friends who share the dreaded wanderlust gene is the best.
For me, getting back into a normal life means being active and enjoying the incredible natural beauty of the area, maybe a few classes to improve painting and drawing skills (?!?), volunteering, and attending Eugene’s wonderful variety of performing arts events.
Communicating the ways and days of extended travel isn’t easy. Long trips change you – in obvious and more subtle ways. The blog is factual but doesn’t dwell on personal experiences.
Travel is a great way to look beyond the familiar and gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the world beyond your realm of experience and influence. Some are aghast at the thought of spending six months traveling solo in foreign countries! That’s understandable, but wouldn’t the world be much less interesting if all of us thought and lived our lives the same way?
Except for the intimidating stack of unopened mail and the bulging unpacked suitcase waiting in the entryway, the interior of my little place is intact and looks the same as pre-departure.
The landscaping didn’t fare so well and needs major TLC. Between Mother Nature and the local critters, it’s a big mess. Gardening is a priority on the post-trip project list with time for a rehab before the winter rains begin.
Natural landscaping is easily maintained and the challenges are basic – keeping the woods from growing into the house…. This year blackberry and poison oak are back with a vengeance. While traveling I tried not to think about skyscraper-sized Douglas firs falling into the skylights and roof – not an uncommon occurrence in the hills.
The critters seem to know when humans are absent and claim landscape squatter’s rights. A few leaf-blowing episodes will take care of that. Cartoonist Gary Larsen could say it well with a Far Side cartoon showing deer making condescending comments about obnoxious human noises.
Home is the beginning and end of the travel cycle. It’s where anticipation and plans for the next adventure (smile) happen. This trip was a glorious experience! Although I loved each place visited, the first and last cities – Istanbul and Prague – hold special memories. Can’t wait to take off again!