Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Travel As A Lifestyle

Since we arrived on the Gold Coast, I've known that our time in Australia was growing short and we'd soon be back en route to the US of A, bringing our 5 1/2 month trip to a close. Up until now, I've approached that fact with very little emotion--its always seemed like such a long way off! "Home" began as an abstract conversation topic back in January when we started compiling a To-Do list upon arrival, but the closer it gets the more frequent it comes up in discussion and the more real it becomes. Now that April is just around the corner, the reality of our departure on the 5th (as well as the 30 hours we'll spend in transit - UGH!) has finally hit me.

I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how I feel about my imminent homecoming. David has been quick to point out that the trip isn't over when we get home. We'll only be back in Tennessee for about three weeks before heading back out to Colorado for the summer to play (aka "work") on the river. In all likelihood, we won't rent an apartment and we'll end up buying a camper to live out of which is basically what we've been doing for the last 3 months anyway. So, besides the fact that we'll be in one location for at least 4 months, we'll both be earning paychecks and I'll have my puppy back with me, things won't be too much different from the way they are right now. For David, travel is a lifestyle and the only thing constant in his life is change.

This trip has taught me to share his values much more than I did before we started. He's been an awesome traveling partner and an overwhelmingly positive influence on me as a person. But, to me, leaving Australia has slightly more significance. I began this trip with all sorts of goals in mind: experiencing other cultures, seeing major tourist attractions, delving into Eastern medicine and religion, and being able to understand and have shared experiences with a greater number of people than before the trip.

I feel good about the progress I've made during my travels. I've seen new parts of the world, found new places I love and could call home, met some new and wonderful people and, most importantly, realized that traveling as a lifestyle is both acceptable but also possible. Where I go and what I do is entirely up to me. The only limitations are my own. I've had the time of my life making these realizations and find myself a bit sad to be wrapping it all up. I'm scared to let it all go--it might just slip away on me and never return and then this time and money spent would have been for naught. That idea is something I'm starting to struggle with as I count down the days until we board our plane. I've already realized many ways this trip has changed me but it won't be until I'm home and back into a routine that we'll see the extent of these new lessons learned. I'm wondering how many will stick and how many will get pushed aside. I like who I've become and hope that I'm still the same person when I return. Time will tell...

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