After 52 weeks on the road our journey around the world is about to come to an end. It has been an incredible ride! We have had many positive and a few negative experiences. We have had days with only a few exciting experiences, and days LOADED with exciting experiences.
We all agree that the journey has been put together perfectly. We have been traveling through countries where it has been absolutely safe to travel with a small child. For the most part we have stayed in places or countries long enough to get a good feel for the everyday life around us and we have had the opportunity to visit some of the most wonderful people and spend some good quality time with them.
This trip has tied us together even more than we already were. We have established that we can in fact be together 24/7 throughout a whole year, without chopping off the heads of each other. An almost impossible achievement for many families! Needless to say we have had our small “discrepancies”, but all in all it is only fair to say that the journey was made in good spirits and with a positive “vibe”.
Anton has developed from a small child when we left, to the little, independent human being he is now. With a great appetite for life and the world around him. The little, shy boy is now an outgoing, social individual. We hope that this will be of advantage to him as we go back home and he will get in contact with new play-friends in our neighbourhood. We think he is quite informed in many ways and we can see that he can put many things into a broader perspective. Whether he is ahead of other children of his age or not, we cannot tell. But he is certainly not behind! To him, this has been a 52-week “school-camp” with focus on “life” and “the world”!
Right now we are thinking about our homecoming and about establishing a daily routine for us all. From what are we going to make a living? How are we going to be able to travel again? And how fast can we be back on the road?
During this journey we have established that traveling is wonderful! But in order to really appreciate our experiences around the world, we do need some sort of “contrast” to all the constant impressions. We need something familiar. We need a home! A place that is ours, where we can retreat and reflect. Anton has played with hundreds of children over the past year, but now he needs a place of his own, where he has his own things and will not need to borrow anything from others. A place that is not “foreign ground” for him. We look forward to designing his room and help him to make it a nice and cozy place to stay.
Without any doubt this will be a massive change for us all. Suddenly we will stay long-term in the same place, without the need for planning any onward travel. No need to reserve cars, plane tickets or hotel rooms. We just need to focus on daily life. And hopefully enjoy that spring is finally here! But I will be the first to admit, that we do not board that final plane, the day after tomorrow, without a certain mixed sense of excitement and anxiety!
We will need to find a good balance between career and private life. This whole journey has been an investment in “the three of us” as a family. We have absolutely no interest in putting Anton back in daycare for 8 hours a day, while we are struggling with e-mails, meetings and grumpy bosses every day. We have been there already! We genuinely believe that it IS possible to have a life where we can maintain the “nerve” and tight connection that we have built over the past year. This was the whole point and if we are not careful, it will all have been no more than an expensive adventure.
Of course the journey wasn´t exactly cheap, but if we keep reminding each other of what we have learned together, we will have full value for money our entire lifetime!
We will be traveling again. Sometime. For now it will “just” be destinations that are somewhat closer to our home in Europe. The interest in far destinations is still intact, but I for one do miss the Austrian Alps, the valleys of South Tyrol and the villages of Tuscany. Alexandra would like to rent a “finca” somewhere in Spain and spend a month or two there. We are playing with the idea of “house-sitting” various places in the world. This would give us the opportunity to travel for less money, and to travel in a completely different pace. If there is one thing we have missed a few times, it would be the chance to just hang around more long-term in the same place. Yes, we did stay with friends and family and it has been wonderful to do so. But it is on different terms than when we are living alone in a private home, just the three of us. In the nearest future, however, our journeys will be shorter than we are used to, but certainly not less exciting!
And of course we need to earn and save up some money!
A good friend once said to me that we would most likely never become a “normal” family again, with a house in the suburbs, car and annual charter holiday in a tropical resort. No, we most likely will not. We will always be thinking of how far we could travel, with whatever money we will make. Instead of investing them in brick and mortar we will invest in travel experiences. Moments together. Moments that we appreciate that we had when we leave this world. Moments that make us happy and positive. Moments that make us feel that we are alive!