Return to Auld Reekie - our first month back

Trip Start Jun 04, 2005
Trip End Apr 05, 2006

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When the plane landed at Edinburgh on Wednesday 5 April, I cried...that's it, it was ALL OVER. The trip we'd dreamed about and planned for so long, the 10 months we lived to the full and immersed ourselves in a medley of exotic new places, colours, flavours, people, sensations... it was over. I asked myself: how will we ever be able to adjust to familiarity and drudgery of daily life again after having experienced SO MUCH?

We've been back in Edinburgh for five weeks now, and back in our 'wee hoose' that was rented out while we were away. What a weird sensation waking up in the same bed every morning: comfortable and familiar, surrounded by all our stuff, but basically dull and predictable. A far cry indeed from the life we led just two months ago, waking up in a different place every morning with a day of discovery and exploration ahead of us.

When we first arrived back, I struggled with the fact that, almost instantly, it felt like we'd never been away. London, then Edinburgh, looked just the same as it did when when we left, though we ourselves have undergone a fundemental shift in perspective.

It's as if the last ten months have been spent in a time warp, a parallel universe: our true selves went out into the wide world and experienced everything in technicolour while the shells of our daily identities stayed behind and just got on with life as usual. It just seems wrong that what felt like a lifetime's worth of experiences could be over and done in a blink of the cosmic eye.

Over the last five weeks, things have slowly returned to 'normal'. We have a car again, and we're earning an income. Our bodies have re-acclimatised to the chill of Scottish spring. We spend our weekends catching up with friends whose company we missed while we were away, and invariably end up drinking too much red wine in the process. We go cycling in the countryside, plan weekends away, watch Desperate Housewives. But with the creature comforts of every day life comes an inevitable drudgery. The thought of it fills me with a bleak, nagging depression.

Yes, we feel displaced, out of sorts... and sad. We're grieving right now for the loss of an extraordinary life that allowed us to look at the world and our lives in a fresh way. We know that, as the months pass and we settle back into the daily grind, this sense of 'sharp focus' will fade and eventually disappear. The question is, do we want it to? And how can we keep hold of it?

I'd like to think I will continue to keep alive and put to practice the seemingly simple realisations this fresh perspective gave me. The true value of friends and family, and of respecting and understanding others' beliefs and ways of life. Andt he utter uselessness of material goods: us humans are slaves of our possessions, we feel bound to them and are continually surrouding ourselves with more and more stuff. Yet on our trip we carried with us only the bare minimum, we made do and couldn't care less what we were dressed in. And that was liberating. I plan to keep my life simple from now on, and focus on the important things.
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