It was cold when we arrived, colder than we had been in months. The trees were still leafless, and the sight of them felt surreal. We went out to a favorite restaurant for an early dinner, and I found myself in awe that we were really home and that we had really traveled around the world.
We moved back to our old neighborhood, but to a new house. In the first few days, friends and family came by, hugs and tears ensued, and stories were passed around. Now, we’re unpacked and mostly organized, despite three of us falling ill within days of our return to Maryland. Theo and I are planning where to hang some special photos from our trip. The girls will finish the school year with home instruction, then return to their neighborhood schools in August. Swim team and summer camp and fall sports and music lessons will be here before I know it.
People ask “How was the trip?” and I reply, “Amazing” but that’s such a pat answer, so inadequate a description. It was the best time of my life. I can’t imagine topping it, and I don’t even want to try. What’s really cool, though, is that I have a bit of the feeling, the spirit of the trip with me still. It’s not just a memory, it’s a change in how I am every minute of the day. You may not be able to tell by looking at me or listening to me, but I sense it. I feel more curious and more peaceful. I feel less worried and less scared. I feel more connected to everywhere and everywhen and everyone.
I do get sad sometimes, sad that it’s over, that eight months passed in the blink of an eye. I’m sad that we didn’t get to all the places we planned or hoped to see. The sadness doesn’t linger, though, because my sense of time is completely different. The constant is that time goes on and life changes with it, so even though I don’t have a concrete plan for getting to Chile and Japan or returning to Turkey and New Zealand, I believe those trips will happen. I have no reason to think otherwise.