After a three week trip to the uk we've just landed in California; this arrival marks the beginning of a new chapter for two and a half travellers. We're not so much hanging up our travelling boots as shifting into a more cruisy travel gear - we've opted for a return to corporate life for Mr Traveller, an opportunity for me to get my photography business off the ground, and a whole new beautiful land and seascape, which had always been high on our list of places to explore, to enjoy as our back garden, and weekend playground.
We've no regrets of the year(ish) we took to see some more of the world; we gave our daughter the gift of two parents undivided attention during an extremely formative year of her life, moments with dear old friends and family who would otherwise have been at best mere faces on a webcam, and at worst complete strangers, and a flexible attitude where she just rolls with whatever our current situation is. People always ask whether she'll have any memory of the past year - I'm fairly sure that without our prompts she wouldn't remember a thing, but she will never lose the knowledge that she's gained en route, and to her the world will always be a small place.
We've been on an emotional journey, losing my gran shook the very core of our little unit, but without our year of travel, I wouldn't have been there to hold her hand. We've had time to examine ourselves and our relationships, becoming more self aware. I've chilled out and relaxed a bit, and although he'd probably hate to admit it, Mr T has become somewhat more routine!
I can honestly say that we loved everywhere we visited, we didn't find anywhere we disliked. From the unique culture of Spain's San Sebastian, to the quaint fishing villages of Cornwall, from Korean spas and hospitality, to Ireland's rolling emerald patchwork quilt to each and every tiny nook of New Zealand which we explored in intimate detail. Above all my expectations, over a painfully humid summer in DC we made the sort of friendships that usually take years to build, and huge wet tears rolled down both the littlest hobos and my own cheeks when we said goodbye - this was a valuable lesson in life for me, which will put me in good stead for building future friendships as well as reminding me just how much a three year old understands.
But we grew weary of bed hopping, and of packing and unpacking our cases (my unpack limit always used to be four days, now it's a week), and cramming our cases into small cars in an intricate and finely tuned arrangement. The littlest hobo is craving time with longer term friends, and we think she'd benefit from an environment where we have a little more guaranteed control - bring on the broccoli! As much as I will miss the perpetual summer, we're exhausted from visiting, bored of eating out, and found ourselves craving the plane ride for some down-time, so it's time to shift the pace of our exploration of this wonderful world.
We headed off with a set of challenges which perplexed us; the biggest of all being a sickly daughter, as well as a lot of dreams, and not a clue where our next pennies would come from. We've finished our trip with a thriving, healthy three year old, a new set of challenges, a renewed vigor for the life ahead of us, and a whole heap of wonderful memories.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunities we had, and excited (and maybe a little nervous, but that's a good thing) at the prospect of what lies ahead. I'm looking forward to sharing some of our coming adventures, but this real housewife in Orange County is signing off for now.