“So, was it a hard landing?” - many people ask us after we have returned from the “great, big journey”. And I understand why they ask. In my “previous” life I would have asked exactly the same. “Home, sweet home” was a saying that I simply did not really understand! How could you ever get tired of being on holiday and travel?
Today, 60.000 kilometers and 15 months later, much have changed. Also mentally. But I am still not quite ready to accept the term of “Home, sweet home” completely. We did, however, get to a point where we realized that an indefinite journey, without any “goal” or end, really doesn’t appeal to us. When are you supposed to sit down with your feet up on your own coffee table, reflect and digest all the impressions?
We know of families traveling “indefinite” and although I truly find their stories cool and admire what they do, I personally believe I would have a hard time keeping up the very excitement of traveling.
Because the truth is that we travel bloggers are doing a very good job of painting everything in light and bright colors. But traveling is not always fun. When you arrive to airport number 25, hotel number 54 and breakfast buffet number 143, the thought of your own pillow, a simple sandwich and a ride on the local bus starts to sound appealing. No, strike the one with the local bus. Things never got THAT bad!
I am extremely happy that I can now sit, quietly, and think back on some fantastic months around the world, where we tried “life on the road” in so many different ways. I am thankful that we succeeded on our mission to get more quality and family time. And I am forever grateful that I got to see some of the most beautiful places on earthtogether with the ones that I love the most. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
There is no doubt that it would be great to NOT have some of the typical everyday, domestic frustrations that always creeps in on you at home. To get the telephone- and internet provider to behave like we want them to is still a challenge as I write these lines. It works by now, but we are still eagerly waiting for a correct invoice to arrive. We need to remind ourselves that coins for the communal laundry-room in our basement have to be ordered in due time, as the house maintenance staff is not working on our premises every day. Every day between 12 noon and 3 pm is “quiet time” on our block. This is hard for a 4 year old boy, with plenty of energy, to understand. You are NOT allowed to sing out loud in the hallways! What are “house rules” anyway?
Then we have the more “traditional” people among friends and family, that believe that “enough is enough with all that wandering around” and that we should “get back to reality and find ourselves some jobs and get on with a normal life!”
I perfectly understand that others do not understand the way of life that we have chosen. But when we think back to the days BEFORE we started traveling, which was in fact a very traditional everyday life, there is no doubt in our mind that we do NOT want to go back there! It simply does not work for us...
We enjoy being home now as the summer has finally kicked in for real. And we can sit back with our newly printed, very posh hard-cover picture books, and flip through all the memories. We decided to order them because we believe that when we can afford to travel, we can also afford to “frame the memories” properly. So we enjoy the pictures from Queensland, Australia or Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand or Whistler, Canada, just to mention a few. And as we talk about the places and moments, we are surprised just how much Anton recalls. And about the details that he noticed! We hope that he will keep remembering in the years to come...
Until we embark again - and we will be traveling again - we will be saving money. There will, however, be time and money for smaller trips in the meantime. Because smaller trips are absolutely cool as well. As long as you get up from the couch and out in the open, you also move forward mentally! Since we came back in early April we have been to Franconia (northern Bavaria), Austria and South Tyrol (northern Italy). Soon we will be traveling through Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Anton is saving money for a trip for us all going to Venice, Italy. He finds coins all over the flat and puts them into his little “piggy bank”. “I will pay for this one!” - he says with determination. “I have the money!”
The last few minutes before we turn off the lights at night we lie together and talk about big and small stuff. Sometimes Anton will ask me why we are living here all the time. Always in the same place. “Are we not moving on anymore?” We explain to him that we are not going to be traveling all the time and that “being home” is also a part of life. This may sound a bit “abstract” to a young boy. But he does enjoy having his own toys again. And a fast and reliable internet connection for watching cartoons. And of course the surrounding neighborhood with all its beautiful nature and the many exciting playgrounds and friends.