As of December 5th it will have been 19 months since we left Australia and started travelling the world.
1 year, 6 months and 25 days.
Big News: The Aussies Are Heading "Home".
In 19 months we have been to 35 countries, travelled on 34 flights and lived in nearly 100 homes. We have experienced culture, food, art, religion, friendship in multiple languages on multiple continents.
My little brother is getting married. And it’s Christmas. It also happens to be my birthday and Mia’s birthday. It seems to be the perfect time of year to head “home” and be with our family who we have missed desperately during our travels. This became very clear when my parents met us in Rome for a month of road-tripping around southern Europe.
Am I excited? Absolutely. Am I terrified? Definitely.
Let me try and explain my emotions cause I don’t get quite what I’m feeling either.
- I am happy to be seeing my family.
- Happy to be hugging my friends.
- Excited to cuddle our dog.
- Glad to be in our king size bed in our 4-bedroom house.
We have come so far and changed so much that heading back to Australia feels almost like returning to our old selves. I am scared I’ll end up back in our house, back in a job, back in a lifestyle that while very satisfying was also slightly mundane. I’m terrified that the person I have become in the last 574 days may slip away into a past life. I’m fearful that while I have experienced a transforming 19 months my original environment will not have even altered.
Yet we are going anyway.
We have booked an Emirates flight from Prague to Dubai and then direct from Dubai to Perth. The moment I booked it I was filled with an alien emotion of anticipation mixed with abysmal remorse.
Dubai has always been on our bucket list so we are delighted to be spending one week back in the hot sun after those cold Prague days. Then on Friday 29th November we fly direct to Perth, Australia. It will be almost 11 hours of ants-in-my-pants eagerness to bear-hug my best friend, sisters and brothers, grandparents, uncles and aunts and also a long time to lament on whether it’s the right move returning.
Christmas in New York was special, but definitely not the manic family fun-ness we are use to, so yes we are stoked for Christmas. And while my birthday at Disneyland was most people’s dream come true as a sanguine I longed to share it with as many people/friends as I could. And there is no chance I would miss my little brother’s wedding, specially with such a pretty flower girl and handsome page boy involved.
I guess one will never know what it feels like to be home until they do it. And as Lin Yutang quotes “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until one comes home and rest his head on his old, familiar pillow.”
Perhaps my fears are unfounded and “home” will merely make us realize how much we love our travelling life and we will head back out into the open road sooner than later. Or perhaps “home” will leave us feeling complete and final in our decision.
For now we have no plans. We could be back in Australia for one month, 3 months or the rest of our lives, but that’s highly doubtful. It will be an adventure to be sure either way and I know you, our devoted readers, will for one be happy to finally see me writing about Australia.
I hope some of my mismatched thoughts have come through and you can feel the inner war inside of me struggling to find resolution and solution. I did ask some fellow travellers about their feelings on returning "home" and one of the very first families we met on this epic journey had this to say to me, it's perfect:
"Wow, in trying to write a comment, I'm just realizing how much my definition of home has changed over the past three years! Home to me is that feeling of love and connection with myself and the world around me. I wish I could always find myself there, no matter what my physical location should happen to be, but going back to that "home" always feels amazing.
"And, while it does feel nice to have a physical location to call home, that non-physical home feeling is what I crave the most. I think some of the unsettled feelings we have when we're "going home" from traveling have to do with wanting our experiences to have made a difference in deepening our feelings of love and connection with ourselves and the world around us. We want it to matter and have a lasting impact, and we even want more of the same where that came from. Maybe we fear that by going home, we're going back into our old familiar bubble, and maybe we feel like we'll lose what we've gained outside of that, to a certain extent.
"There will always be more to see, experience, and explore out there in the world, but also within ourselves, which isn't contingent on any specific physical location, and I think that's pretty exciting too." J. Pearce