Significant Milestones

Trip Start Jul 2008
Trip End Dec 2008

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Sunday, October 19, 2008

Milestones come in many forms.

We were pleasantly surprised to find small cement milemarkers many places we have traveled, even the smaller highways in Romania. Most came in the form of an upright block painted white with black lettering. Facing the road is the mile marker (except in km). The sides of the block facing the road tell the name and distance to the next nearest significant town.

The result is that you always know where you are, where you have been, and where you are going.

Today is an important milestone for us for two reasons. First, it marks the one-year anniversary since our last day of work. Second, it is our first full day in Istanbul, a significant goal for our bicycle tour. So that is where we are.

And it seems altogether fitting and proper to take a few moments to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.

When I close my eyes to look back on where we have been, I see a million images of people, places, and experiences from our travels. I have been able to capture and share some of these images via this blog. Even more were fleeting spontaneous moments that live only in my heart and mind. Some of these images recall high adventure in far-flung corners of the earth. Others are the sweet simple pleasures of home. All are forever a part of who I am.

Yet for better or worse, who I am has not changed over this year. I hope that I have grown a little wiser, more resilient, patient, stronger, etc. But I am still Steph. Bill is still Bill. And we are still us, although wehave grown closer, improved our communication, and gelled as a team.... thanks to (or despite) nearly a year of 24/7 togetherness!

But enough. To reflect on this further would probably result in a deeply introspective, seriously uninteresting book-length reflection, and often does. (Just count the shelves of travel essays and at the bookstore.) So I will spare us all and leave it at that.

What about the other side of the milestone? Where are we going? How far must we go?

This side of the stone is currently obscured.

This year has gone so fast, and while we have gone so far, there is still so much to see and explore. So on one hand, we are tempted to take some extra time to visit a few more especialy tantilizing nooks and crannies of the world. On the other hand, the global financial crisis has us mindful of job prospects and long term financial stability. So we are putting some deep thought and prayerful consideration into illuminating the going forward side of the milestone.

No matter what, this journey has been an incredible gift and we will return home happy and happily when this chapter of travel is closed.

Till then, stay tuned!
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