Musings About Our 9-Month Trip

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Sunday, June 16, 2013

Home at last....for the second time since we returned from South Africa on May 10. Let me back up a bit. Our last 24 hours in Cape Town comprised of:
  • a delicious meal of tapas and wine at 'Fork'
  • a disturbing and well acted play about the complexities of life in South Africa post-apartheid
  • a scary 45-minute walk home from the play to our lodge - nothing happened but it did feel like we were tempting fate on our last evening in a city where everyone said to always take a cab after dark
  • a slow morning with Jim, a bit of shopping, a pedicure and haircut for me then out to the airport for our much anticipated flight home!
We endured a very long trip from Cape Town to Halifax (through Dubai) - 35 hours of travel missing out on two nights of sleep including one 13-hour flight of never-ending screaming from young children that almost made us crazy. Do parents no longer drug their children for long flights? What's with that?! :)

Aside from feeling disoriented (are we aliens from outer space?), what a delight it was to be home and see our son, his girlfriend and so many of our dear friends. And, of course, our comfy bed with its new South African baby mohair blanket for extra warmth. Why would we need warmth in May in Nova Scotia? After months of sunshine, Nova Scotia has treated us to its finest cold, grey and rainy weather enduring for almost 5 weeks! However, our home overlooking St. Margaret's Bay on the Atlantic Ocean continues to astound us with its beauty. Between that and the budding of a well watered spring season with so many vibrant shades of green, I am warmed by my love of this part of the world - HOME.

After two weeks of unpacking, organizing and orientating to regular life and the realization of how busy and complicated everyday life is, we added more into the mix. We set off to a family wedding near Toronto and a visit with more family in Edmonton. It was so great to see our beloved families yet an energy strain and perhaps a bit more disorienting. Jim returned to work full force; I stayed in Edmonton then had one more week of freedom before I return to work tomorrow. I am ready now.

I have been thinking a lot about what I have 'given birth to' during our 9-month trip (gestation). Here are some of my musings:

1) I live a life too full of responsibilities, relationships, activities, etc. which leads me to multitasking, distraction and stress. It's hard to be present with myself and the people about whom I care. Travel taught me how to live simply; to enjoy each amazing moment. How can I take what I have experienced and transfer it to my everyday life when the demands are very different?

2) Part of this complicated life is our inclination in North America to fill life up with stuff. I lived out of a backpack for 9 months! I bought very little and enjoyed the simplicity of fewer choices and less laundry. I don't need a lot of clothes, nor food in my cupboards, junk in my closets, stuff on my tables yet I have a habit of accumulating those things. Many people around the world, well most people, have very few possessions. Life is about experiencing people, nature, the world; having purpose and compassion. Time to break the accumulation habit! This is a tough one for me on multiple levels and I have tried before over many years to do this. I feel different this time.

3) I am committed to sustainability. How can I require less to live on and contribute more to the sustainability of the planet? And what about my energy? Getting enough sleep this past 9 months has helped me experience how much more enjoyable life is with enough sleep. It allows me to sustain my energy to offer to my job and family. This will require much discipline and real change.

4) Spending 24/7 with a spouse - or anyone for that matter - for 9 months is a gift (sharing, discovering, surviving) and it is a lot. Time apart is important too - space. Prior to the trip, we were both busy with life; work and other things were consuming a lot of our time. Finding the balance between too much time together and not enough and paying attention to the quality of that time is essential to the health of any relationship especially as we look forward to the future at some point when we are no longer working.

5) I am considering writing a book about our travels. That's all I have to say about that right now as I haven't come to any conclusions yet. Got any suggestions?

6) And then there is the whole question of making a contribution in the world. How will I? What's next?

Jim and I want to thank all of you who have read our blog, whether you are a regular or a newcomer. Stay tuned for our next trip...because there will be one, however, sadly this trip is done!
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Sue Walker on

So Happy to hear that you have adjusted to every day life with a new outlook. Amazing how travel brings a whole new awareness to our basic needs, and desires to lead a fulfilling SIMPLIFIED life.
Love Sue xo

Sylvia Fairchild on

Welcome home Donna and Jim. Please write the book. We have a spot for a copy in our new bookcases. Hugs, S&W

nadavena on

Thank you for allowing me to view your travel blog, it has some of the best photography I have seen on TravelPod, especially of Ecuador and Peru. Would you mind sharing what equipment you used?

Happy Trails

donnajimtravels on

Thanks very much for your comments nadavena. We were using a Nikon D7000 DSLR and, for the most part, the Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. We chose that one because it meant fewer lens changes to get a pretty full focal range. Periodically I'd throw on a Sigma 10-20mm for really wide angle shots. Hope this helps.

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