The changes a trip brings

“Who are YOU?” said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation.

Alice replied, rather shyly, “I – I hardly know, sir, just at present —
at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning,
but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
-Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Waubuno Park, Parry SoundIt’s nearly midnight and I am lying in bed. Wide awake. Two hours ago I crawled underneath the covers but sleep hasn’t come yet. There is too much to think about.

Between memories of riding up mountains on ribbons of asphalt and flying down the other side, camping in remote landscapes, sharing tea with shepherds, and of course those killer days that tested our strength to the limits, the question of home dominates my thoughts.

Oh that word. We’ve pondered it for many months now as successive countries and landscapes have each, in their own special way, felt like home. But it sounds strange to say that the places where we lived some of our happiest moments are home. We were just travellers passing through. When people ask where home is we say Nova Scotia. It’s the easiest answer, even if we’re not always sure it’s the right one.

Just 1,700km away from this nominal home, wondering what the end of our trip will bring is now a constant point to ponder. Maybe it’s premature to consider such things – so many adventures still await us – but it’s hard not to acknowledge the job hunt ahead and the long list of things we will need to buy. From the biggest to the smallest: a house, a car, winter jackets, new socks.

But more than the practical things, we reflect on how we’ve changed as people since this journey began in Montreal nearly 3 years ago. We are returning with an intense thankfulness for each other, an awareness of the joy of unplanned free time,  a belief in the kindness of people everywhere and a renewed appreciation of the beauty of the earth and its fragility. These are just some of the lessons we carry with us.

And that’s perhaps the most beautiful part of this journey… because it’s changed us so profoundly as people, the trip will go on long after we slide off the saddle.

Comments

  1. Nora
    30th August 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    What beautiful lessons you have learned, and yet heart-wrenching decisions yet to make. I too understand having a wobbly definition of home…where (and how) to hang that hat after being on the move for so long?

  2. Bergy
    1st September 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    I haven’t posted many comments but have followed right along with your adventures. I like what you have said about the kindness of people. Your story relays that belief over & over. You seem so together, I mean mentally enriched by all you have seen & done – The great thing is it not over yet. Enjoy every moment that is left.

  3. Sarah & James
    4th September 2009 at 7:17 am #

    Wow, I can’t believe how close you are to home. Congrats! I love what you say about feeling an intense thankfulness for each other. That’s definitely one of the things we got out of our trip that was kind of a surprise, in a sort of cheesy (but very good!) way.

    We hope you keep up the journal as you get settled back into the next phase of your lives, we would love to follow.

  4. Rikus Kaijer
    4th September 2009 at 8:46 am #

    Hi Friedel and Andrew,

    Good luck on the last K’s. and welcome “home”
    Wishing you well.

    Cheers Rikus.

  5. David Piper
    4th September 2009 at 9:34 am #

    Ah the homecoming…I’ve a feeling you two will be back on the road again before you know it.

    I’m back from my whistlestop tour of the West of the USA and have written details here:
    http://www.tra-velo-gue.co.uk

    Keep up the great work

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