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 – 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 cost of noamdism is an inevitable return to everyday life – a reality that can be awkward. It’s important to reunite 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?” I’ve lost track of the number of times people have asked “why” I travel solo ;(. Exchanging travel stories with friends who share the 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 is difficult. Long trips change you – in obvious and subtle ways. My blog doesn’t dwell on more 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 influence. Getting out of one’s comfort zone is truly a growing experience. Some are aghast at the thought of spending six months traveling solo in foreign countries! That’s understandable, but 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 mess. Gardening is a priority on the post-trip project list with time for a rehab before the winter rains begin.
Natural landscaping is easier to maintain 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 try not to think about skyscraper-sized Douglas firs falling into the skylights and roof – common in the Oregon hills.
The critters seem to know when humans are absent and claim landscape squatter 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 and I plan to return. Can’t wait to take off again!