I thought that coming back would somehow be like post-traumatic stress, but it’s not. I assumed that we would be greeted by friends as though we were really missed, not really. I believed that we might actually struggle to find meaning in our life back home, nope. I have heard things like, “Trip of a lifetime” and “Wow, a two year vacation” and I realized that what we gained that others may not be seeing is simply insight, nothing more. Maybe this is the portion of re-integration that feels like re-integration, the thing that we have to live through, I don’t know.
What I know for sure is that everyone is still in the same grind that we left them in. People’s lives are busy, so is ours. Yet what we discovered is that we need to make an effort to validate and nurture those relationships that are important to us. The trouble is that others don’t always know this and so this becomes a part of the validation. A good example of this are the folks with kids, some of our friends invite us over because visiting us would be almost impossible; this is great because we have more flexibility to visit. Other people are too busy to see us because they have kids and they ‘think’ we wouldn’t want to be around with their kids. I guess we could chalk it up to parenting skills or just preference, not sure.
Our journey was a lot of work; we purposefully challenged ourselves in every aspect of our relationship, our riding, interaction with others, business and opportunities, education, our future goals, everything. It was rewarding in that we worked really hard to get the most from our efforts for our own good not just for the company, so to speak. And now that we are back we have a full plate of efforts that we are steadily working towards, which in reality is no different than what we have been doing all along. I guess that is why we are not feeling the pinch of the road. Don’t get me wrong, I just want to get on the bike and go riding but that has been my case for well over 20 years.
It seems to me that adjustment to this way of life would be the big challenge and so Deya and I discussed it in depth. Maybe when people go on vacation for an extended period they feel a huge adjustment, like when people retire. What they have done is just changed the way they do things, like becoming a vegetarian, it’s tough. But we haven’t done that, yet what we have excelled at during this trip is adjustment, flexibility and adaptation. These are attributes that build personal strength. I think this is one of the many reasons why we cannot consider what we did a vacation.
We have been making an effort to visit people and reconnect as well as planting seeds and reattaching ourselves. It took us a few months to tie up loose ends in order to leave on our trip; it looks like it’ll take a few months to get enrolled back into the system. It’s more a matter of paperwork than anything. We also need to ‘wrap up’ this trip by developing some presentations and sharing our experience with people who are interested, who might gain from our experience or those that will never have an opportunity. This would be a noble exercise and a good developmental opportunity.
Our general plans are the same but we have loosely decided to stay in the Vancouver area for a few months. Deya is taking an award winning course in Project Management, I’m going to take a few night courses in Business and Database applications until January when I expect to start a Master of Arts. After that we intend to find relevant work where we can apply our skills and expertise before beginning our other projects in Canada and Mexico. In the first week back I also had the opportunity to write the fifth and final exam to achieve a professional designation. I went in blind after two years of not studying and came out on top; the beauty of this was that I confirmed for myself that I know the material and have expertise in this body of knowledge, because the exams are really hard! So we stay busy and try to apply the lessons that life has fed us in abundance.