A Travellerspoint blog

Back home

Sorry for the blog post coming so late. I wrote it in July, but have been way to busy an pre-occupied with other things ever since... but finally: here it is!

sunny 20 °C
View Around the world 2016/17 on dreiumdiewelt's travel map.

After 17 days of staying with our families and spending a fabulous time, we felt the urge to finally go all the way home to our own house. It had been 14 months to the day that we had left our house. Still, it just felt like home. A nice feeling.
As we had rented the house out while we were gone, Sam and I were relieved to realize after a tour of the house that there were no major damages. The only thing that was obvious: we’d need to spend a lot of time in the garden, as there was lots of work in the form or weeds and wild growth waiting to the tackled. Once the house was checked, we headed on a tour to greet our neighbors, to say hello and to invite them for the ‘we’re back home’ party on Friday.
Then it was time to empty the car of all the stuff we had taken with us – just in time for Sam to pick up my dad and Max from the train station and to get some food from the supermarket. In the meantime, I had a surprise visit of the girls of my knitting group (at least that’s the cover name we use for meeting regularly to drink some cocktails). It’s amazing: despite being so long gone, it feels just like a couple of weeks.
The next hours passed quickly: amidst everything we had packed up before we left, we tried to find the essentials: bedding and linen and basic kitchen utensils. And over the next days we prepared for the party. Finding tableware, tablecloths, glasses, outside furniture was a must. But once all of that was in place, we could concentrate on the optional items such as setting up the TV to show pictures from the trip.
The party was great fun. We had lots of neighbors, friends and colleagues over. The big group of kids was having fun in the garden and the little playhouse. And we enjoyed having so many faces around that we had not seen for such a long time.
But we did not only party: there were many things to be organized. Sam’s car had to be started, inspected and registered again. There were calls to be made to our bosses at work, things needed to be organized for Max’ kindergarten, the official handover of the house to be done with the tenants and much more. We did not get bored. But at the same time, we did also not get stressed out at any moment. Even though our efficient German / Austrian minds continue to be wired such that everything should be completed as soon as possible, we have learned to realize that the stress to do so is simply not worth it.
A couple of neighbors commented on the state of our garden and that they would have a hard time accepting the poor state it was in. We agree: there’s much to be done. But everything at its time. Our first priority was to be able to live in the house again and to get the car registered. Then it was about celebrating to be back. And yes, in the next weeks, there’s no doubt that we’ll spend much time in the garden to get it fixed. But I will not feel bad if this will take a while. After all, the garden is supposed to be there for our relaxation and pleasure. And it should not turn into a direction that we’re the slaves of our garden and not able to enjoy life or do what we like to do until it is near perfect.
Despite the many things to do around the house and the garden, I did take the liberty to take a day trip to Kassel together with my parents. After all, the exhibition of contemporary art ‘documenta’ is only taking place once every five years and renown worldwide.
At the time of writing, we have spent four weeks in our house. The garden is back in shape (more or less that is), many boxes have been unpacked (but not all) and Max is feeling comfortable in his new kindergarten.
While everything around us seemed not to have changed too much, we certainly have changed during the last year. Having lived comfortably with the contents of three big pieces of baggage throughout our travels, it feels strange to be confronted with boxes over boxes of stuff. We used the opportunity while unpacking to sort out our stuff. Part of it has already been scrapped or donated, part of it sold or is waiting to be sold.
In that respect, we envy our Swiss friends. They got back from their travels two weeks after us. But as they had sold practically everything before their travels, they now get to start from scratch – being able to define where and how they want to live and work. This part of getting rid of everything unnecessary, is what we still need to do now. After all, there are three important phases of a world trip like ours: the preparation phase, the actual traveling and the re-integration. And if the cleaning out did not take place in the first phase, it will need to happen now.
We hope that that the process of re-integration will continue to be fairly easy and straight forward: we reserved the two months of June and July to spend time with family and friends, to get Max back into kindergarten and to get everything in the house and garden done such that we’ll be ready to start working again as of August.
We’re not at the end of phase three yet – if there ever will be an actual end. As one thing is sure: this trip of a lifetime will be something we’ll never forget. We’ll be thankful forever having had so much time together as a family and being able to see so many parts of our beautiful world. Our experiences have shaped us and made us stronger as a family. Having lived so close together - often also in the limited space of a campervan or tent – was surprisingly easy, but also required the respect of each other’s wishes and needs. We learned a lot about each other and are probably closer now than we’ve ever been before.
We’ve been asked by many of our friends and family what we liked best on our travels. That’s a really hard question, as it’s simply impossible to compare sights as different as the city of San Francisco, Canadian National Parks, the islands of the South Pacific, Australian wildlife, Cambodian temples, the Himalayan mountains or Mongolian nomad life.
And even comparing by theme proves to be extremely difficult. We have seen wildlife as different as deer, prairie dogs, bears, salmon, manta rays, corals, turtles, dolphins, dugongs, sharks, koala bears, kookaburras, possums, spiders, goannas, monkeys, camels, horses, sheep, goats and many more. Every single encounter was special in a way. And while I would not have minded to skip encountering any ticks, all the rest was just simply great. We would not have wanted to leave out any of our experiences.
And the same is true in respect to the various countries and landscapes we’ve seen, the people we met and the cultures we’ve experienced. They were so varied and these contrasts made our journey so exciting. From the lush jungles of Rarotonga to the steppes of Mongolia, from the shows of Las Vegas to the prayers of Buddhist monasteries, from snorkeling the warm seas to the cool glaciers of Canada or New Zealand, from South Korean technology to the buffaloes on the rice terraces in Nepal, from island hopping by plane in French Polynesia to the Transsiberian Railroad, from the depression in Death Valley to the slopes of the Annapurna… Those opposites seem hard to grasp and when looking at the pictures of our journey,
No matter where we were, we were fortunate to meet mostly friendly and open people. There was not a single situation where we were robbed, misled or deceived by anyone (ok, to be fair: there was one: DriveBeyond still owes us the bond we have paid for the rental 4WD vehicle in Australia). Rather the opposite: our hosts made extra sure that we were doing well and were having a great time. There was not a single reason to ever be worried or afraid that anyone would do us wrong. Everyone – no matter of which race, belief, country, language or background – tried to do his or her best in the context of their environment.
We hope that we will never forget that no matter where we were as foreigners in other countries, we were always greeted with respect and a hospitality that often surpasses the standards we’re showing towards foreigners in our own home country. Hopefully, we’ll get the chance of being able to return the hospitality we experienced – towards the friends and acquaintances we made along the way, but also towards people we do not know who might become friends.
There are too many people to say thanks to list them all. We were thankful for the support from our families, friends, colleagues, bosses and the many people we met on the road. Without their help, it would have been much harder or nearly impossible to take up such an adventure.
Those of you who know us, will have no doubt that we’ll continue to explore the world. With Max starting school next year, the trips will be shorter, but for sure no less adventurous. There’s still so much of the world that we have not seen so far, that we’ll probably start exploring countries and regions we’ve not been to. Iceland, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Southern France, the Baltics or Costa Rica come to mind. And once Max will be a bit older, we might take up travel to malaria or higher altitude regions again, i.e. Peru, Bolivia, Vietnam, Vanuatu or African countries will continue to tempt us. And I’d be surprised if the friendliness of the Russian people and the vast Mongolian landscapes would not pull us back to visit again before too long.
And while we love being abroad, we also love the beauties of home, of having friends and family around. And while we’re home, we always like to have visitors over who bring the world into our home.
While this concludes the story about our journey in the virtual world, it will continue in the real world. It will be fun and exciting! And maybe our example will spark the wish to go out and explore also in others. I’m sure it will be a great experience.

Thanks for following our journey and all the best!

Sam, Birgit and Max

Posted by dreiumdiewelt 13:23 Archived in Germany Tagged home house party boxes learning thanks unpacking

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