We have been home for a little over 24 hours and it is nice. My bed feels really good and I was able to wash every scrap of the stinky laundry. It was a treat yesterday to wear clothes that I had not seen for eight weeks. Scott told me that I looked cute; I think it was just because I wasn’t wearing the same neutral colored T-shirt and practical hiking safari gear that he’s seen me in for eight weeks. The kids are ecstatic and the cat is happy that we are home and the internet is fast and the shower hot and contained (I had the hardest time with keeping water in the showers on our trip). Home is a good place.
I was not one bit homesick when we were traveling. I got tired and frustrated here and there, especially when we were living out of our suitcase and moving around without a plan in Germany but I never wanted to go home. Going home was part of the compromise for our year of travel. The kids and Scott wanted to take breaks and be at home for 4-6 weeks between each adventure but I just wanted to be gone for a year but three against one makes for a convincing argument so here we are back at home.
We went for a hike yesterday less than 12 hours after walking in our front door. The first month of our adventure was spent hiking and swimming and eating healthfully and we were looking good if I do say so myself. Then came two weeks of hopping from one city to the next, eating at restaurants and although we walked a lot, it was nothing like the hiking we had been doing in Germany and walking cannot compete with restaurant food. Then the piece de resistance, two weeks (10 days on safari and a couple of days recovering) devoted to safari where you eat delicious food and sit on your butt for hours and hours in the safari jeep.
So, back to our hike in 95 degree weather with one water bottle up Felsman Loop and Bishop’s Peak. I spent the hike making lists in my head. Twelve hours back and I was feeling the need to make lists of things that need attention and/or accomplishment. This is not a good feeling. And now, here I sit at 4:00 am because I was tired of tossing and turning and thinking about all of things I needed to start on. Scott’s back started hurting yesterday which is equivalent to my list making. His back stopped hurting him a few days after we arrived in Germany.
Obviously I was right, we didn’t need to come home for a “break,” or more importantly, we haven’t learned enough yet to home for a break. Yes, it will be so much easier to do online school at home with our reliable internet, printer, time zone and room to spread out but what do we do with our headspace? Scott and I are obviously not ready to handle everything that comes with being home. It is almost overwhelming the amount of stuff that comes flooding back into one’s head.
I think not only the lists that keep forming and reforming in my mind but also all of the expectations of home. We need to be on it with schoolwork, exercise and healthy eating. We need to plan our next adventure and sift through the contents of our house again. After living with just a few of our things for eight weeks it is more apparent than ever how much we don’t need and now the contents of our house seems cloying and we thought we had done a thorough job of decluttering before we left in July. We need to visit friends and family and go to church and catch the kids up with tennis and music lessons and time with their friends.
My hope was to travel, simplify my life, spend time with my family and see and learn new things about people and places this year. I assumed that learning would take place on the road as I struggled to understand a new language and connect with a different culture. I have experienced some of that so far but I realized on that blazing hot hike yesterday that the most challenging learning may happen right here in my very comfortable house with all of my creature comforts surrounding me. It’s obvious to me that I have much to learn, probably as much to learn about myself as I have to learn about the world around me. I hope that I can learn to be at peace and present with myself and my family at home this year. It’s hard to follow my heart here with the cacophony of everyday life. Is following one’s heart a balance of doing what you want and doing what you should do?
So a little blog epilogue here. We have now been home for almost a month and we are getting ready to head out on again. I have not done a very good job of being home still and I say still because the list making and distraction has just become worse. I haven’t written anything or posted any blogs until this morning (unless you count helping the kids with their schoolwork). My “being home plan” was to finish writing about our trip to Tanzania and maybe even blog a little about being home. My creative ability has completely broken down here in the comfort of San Luis Obispo. I am wholly distracted and seem incapable of efficiency.
What is wrong with me? I am sure there is a laundry list, but I do know one thing, I haven’t fixed it in the almost thirty days that we have been home. My journey this year is about many things or maybe that way of thinking is my problem. If I had to, could I even boil it down to the one thing the journey is about? What I am looking for? Aren’t we all looking for something? After seeing parts of Tanzania, Grant said that he should feel guilty if the life he has doesn’t make him happy. I am definitely guilty of some part of that. I think at home I search and when we are traveling I look around. I think that is called “being in the moment”.
I realized something as I worked on posting my Tarangire blog this morning. As I clicked away arranging pictures to go with the words I had written, I marveled at how mediocre some of the pictures were, but they were the ones I wanted to illustrate what I had written. I was having fun in spite of the imperfection of it all. It is hard to remember that good enough, especially when you are having fun, is great. I stopped working on my blogs because I didn’t have the perfect time or space to write or even the adventure to write about at home. But I realized this morning that mediocre is just fine and I can write and blog and use crappy pictures and still be fulfilled and have fun.
Home is definitely an adventure and it is turning out to have some bad boyfriend aspects (Meet Hoher Fricken, My Bad Boyfriend), but I will persevere and keep moving forward. It may not look pretty or graceful but I am looking forward to the laughter that I know is out there and the unexpected delights and the adventure of it all. We are leaving next week and now not only do I still have Tanzania blogs to finish, I have packing and a long haul flight on my radar (no pun intended) to occupy my mind.