Heading home after an extended period away is no easy feat. I learned this back in 2011, when I returned home from my first backpacking experience in Europe.
Was I excited to get back? Of course. I was looking forward to plunking my backpack down and never picking it up again… expect to maybe burn it. Beyond that, I was excited to see my family and friends, sleep in a room solo, and take as much time in the bathroom as I desired. But my excitement was lessened by the thoughts of post-trip depression that sometimes crept into my mind.
As I sit here in my childhood home in Ontario, thinking about all I have seen and done in the past five months I am overwhelmed with emotion and imagery. It’s funny how you can think back on a moment in time and almost re-live it, if you can be still enough.
I can still feel the heat of the Sahara sun, smell the salt water air of Crete, and taste my first sip of Italian Grappa (Ugh, so much Grappa). I can remember the bus ride I took from Faro, Portugal to Seville, Spain. The first time I laid my eyes on the intricacy of the stonework at the Alhambra, and my first sip of Belgium Beer in Brussels.
I have been very blessed over the past few weeks to have numerous guests join Andy and I on our travels. Some have been planning their journey for months, while others found a break in their schedule and thought, “why not?!”
We dined like kings in Italy with my almost-in-laws, road-tripped around Sardinia with my friend Emma, explored Paris with my mother (her 1st time in the City of Light), and drank far too much beer with our globetrotting friend Kerri in Belgium. The memories that were made will last a lifetime, and the stories that can be told, well, many will be kept within the pack.
But is travelling alone easier than travelling in a group?
A lot has changed in my life over the past five years. Since I returned from my last backpacking tour of Europe in January of 2011 I have fallen in love, landed my first “real job”, quit said job, moved from Toronto to Vancouver, bought our first home, met new friends, said so-long to some old ones, and did a whole lot of other stuff in between.
Sometimes it feels like yesterday I was raising pints in my dirndl at the 2010 Oktoberfest in Munich, and other times, it feels like a lifetime ago.
I believe firmly that getting older is a blessing, but damn, when did it have to start going by so fast?!