When a Good Thing Ends

While you’re reading this post, we are probably thousands of feet in the air, in transit back to the United States.

We can’t quite believe that this year is over. I’ve been claiming all kinds of last days for about a month now, maybe in a desperate attempt to soften the eventual blow. But today is the day that the heavy words are finally, literally true.

It’s the last day of our year of travel.

Our year of traveling the world full-time… is over. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that there are opportunities and experiences in life that only come once. We want to believe the possibilities are endless, but it just isn’t so. While there are endless possibilities on the table, you have to pick up only one (or two) and faithfully carry those for that season. Tyler and I are so grateful that we took the leap to travel longterm this year, and we are even more grateful that we were in a place to do so. But very soon, the window of opportunity for this kind of adventure will close. We will begin careers and growing a family. We’ll have new priorities– albeit, ones we’ll have chosen– that just won’t allow us to juggle longterm travel at the same time.

Thinking about that is hard. It’s sad.

It’s the last day of our year of travel.

And it’s so bittersweet. 

In the last few weeks, Tyler and I have been reminiscing and crafting lists of all our favorites during our travels. Favorite cities, favorite meals. Our best memories, the ones we want to last. Most of the time, it’s fun to relive those moments. We laugh about the crazy things we endured and the mistakes we made.

I lose track of how often Tyler says, “That was the best meal I had!” I insist he sticks to one story. We decide to award a best meal to each country. Sometimes marriage is compromise.

On my end, there are endless proclamations of love for London and Kuala Lumpur, two cities we never would have thought we’d spend over a third of our year exploring. We remind ourselves again and again and again why those cities stole our hearts. We hand out second and third place awards to an unreasonable number of runner-ups. We had so many favorites.

We covered thirteen countries this year, and with the exception of our day trip to the Czech Republic, we spent significant time in each country. Although it feels like we cut out so many of the places I was looking forward to visiting– Africa! Eastern Europe! the Mediterranean!– I have to marvel at the quantity and quality of experiences we had. We often visited places just by happenstance and commented to one another, “This is a trip of a lifetime for other people. They plan their visit here for years!” And as obnoxious as that admission sounds, we really did feel the gravity of our luckiness. Traveling was such a good thing, and so many stars had to align to bring us to this point. Hard work on our part, for sure, but also a number of factors over which we had no control. We feel lucky and deeply appreciative.

And yet, my emotions still ride that all-too-familiar seesaw. Awe and gratitude, and then still disappointment. I feel deeply saddened by the idea that we’ll never spend extended time exploring those places for which I have such a deep seated curiosity. Despite all we’ve see, we’ve hardly scratched the surface! The world is available to us, beautiful in all its diversity and challenges, and we’ve only seen a bit. More than many are able to see, and for that we’re grateful. But not enough for my liking, and for that I’m saddened. Up and down, the seesaw seeks to balance.

It’s the last day of our year of travel. 

I’m having a hard time saying goodbye, as usual. It’s odd that even when we’re not leaving a home or a community of friends, there are still things I hesitate to release when we leave a season behind and move into a new one. Travel was a good thing, and I don’t want to let go.

But we know there are still a couple years left that we feel comfortable dedicating to travel. We may or may not make that decision, but the option is still there, and that always feels reassuring. And even if we choose to settle down in one place for awhile, we have the world as our oyster. And if this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can make a home for ourselves almost anywhere. And then once we’ve been stationary for awhile, and our family has grown, and we have a rhythm of life, we are always free to jump up and take off for shorter trips. You can see and learn a lot about a country in a month or two. And after getting a taste this year, we know we’ll make travel experiences a priority for the rest of our lives.

So while you’re reading this, we’re hopefully spread out on the empty neighboring airplane seats. They say visualizing your desired outcome increases the chances of achievement, right? 

I’ll definitely be in sweatpants and my hair may or may not look like the gem of a hairdo pictured below. When I throw it all up in a pile on my head, sometimes it does become a hive. And Tyler will rocking those exact same shorts, but in a smaller size. Because after a year of budget eating in random countries, he had to purchase a whole new set of smaller pants (:

 

Enjoy the following photos of a walk we took near our Airbnb on the southern coast of Bali. We’ve got lots more photos and stories still to share from the last third of our year.

 

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  • Katrine

    Can definitely identify… still believing my traveling days aren’t over yet! 😉

    • Good!! I’m hoping some of our future travels days overlap! And thanks for understanding and listening to me talk about. Love you!

  • The “end” of anything always brings a lot of emotions! Hope you find your places back in America, and if the rest of the world still beckons…well…there will likely be different sorts of chances to see it in the future!

    • Thanks Rachel! So true.. and yet, I’m always surprised by the surge in emotions!
      We’re not currently setting up house back here in the States, so it still feels a bit like we’re unsettled. It will be nice in a few months when we pick a place to stay put for awhile! 🙂

  • You had such an amazing adventure and I’m so glad I was able to follow along 🙂

    • Aw thanks Jordan! I’ve loved seeing you find your place in Germany. Wishing you lots of years of happiness and love there 😉 And hope to visit sometime soon too!!!

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