How do I possibly sum it up in one post? Maybe I can start by answering the questions I am frequently asked,...
How was it? Amazing!! Definitely better than I had expected.
Was it hard traveling together for a year? There certainly were times when we got frustrated or tired of each other but for the most part we all got along pretty well and we definitely know each other better than we had ever imagined we could! Chloe probably had the hardest time,... Paul and I could (and did) get away on our own once in a while when we needed a break or if there was something that really interested us or was cost prohibitive for all of us to do. Chloe however was always with at least one of us. She frequently reminds us of the fact that she had exactly 7 hours away from us the whole year (the longest stretch being when she got to hang out with Madeline on the island of Koh Lanta in Thailand).
What was my favorite place? I have been finding that a very difficult question to answer. In fact, I think I've given a different answer every time I've answered. Galapagos Islands, South Africa, Kruger Park, Victoria Falls, Murcheson Falls, Cordoba, Spain, Peru and Peru's Challenge, Gili Air, Koh Lanta, Ankor Wat, Iguazu Falls, Valparaiso, Stockholm, Great Barrier Reef, Blue Lagoon in Bali, Cartagena, Goreme, Olympos, Venice, Wales, Chaing Mai, Dinan, St. Malo,... I could go on and on (guess I really have already!).
Are you happy to be home? Yes and No. Yes, it's great to see friends and family and it will soon be nice not to have to pack every few days. I'm happy to be reunited with Jessy. I appreciate having a comfortable bed to sleep on, a cushy pillow to rest my head on and reliable showers with good pressure and warm water. (thanks to Nancy and Scott!) I love the calm that overtakes me as I take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. I enjoy looking at the North Shore Mountains and have been pleasantly surprised by and proud of the friendliness of my fellow Vancouverites.
On the other hand I miss having only 3 pairs of shoes, 7 shirts, 1 pair of pants, 2 shorts, 1skirt and 2 dresses. I miss not caring about wearing the same clothes for days on end. I miss setting our own schedule. I miss not having to consider who I might be offending by not attending an event or inadvertently missing someone on 'the list'. I miss discovering new places and being awed about what is looming ahead of me as I turn a corner. I miss the European outdoor restaurants and relaxed attitude about drinking wine at the beach or in a park. I miss chatting with people from all around the world and swapping stories in the hostels or apartments we stayed in. I miss walking straight into the warm ocean waters. I miss snorkeling, swimming alongside sea lions and sea turtles and looking at colorful fish and corals. I miss the food in India, the cobblestone streets of Europe, the sky that seems to be bigger in Africa, the giraffes crossing our path and elephants who appear to be hiding behind bushes in Kruger Park, the warm waters, friendly smiles and cheap accommodation of SE Asia, the sea lions, lizards and boobies that we walked amongst in Ecuador, the rocks of western Australia, the breathtaking beauty of the undersea world at the Great Barrier Reef, the incredible architecture of the Incas in Peru, the awesome waterfalls of Canada, Argentina and Africa,... I miss the friendly people we met, the relatives we got to know a little better and the lasting friendships we made along the way (you know who you are). Mostly, I miss spending time with Paul and Chloe.
Would you do it again? DEFINITELY!! We met a British couple in Australia who were on part 7 or 8 of their RTW tour. Like us, they had traveled with their young child for an extended period and have since been on several shorter trips to various areas of the world. Like them, we have decided that our trip is not done or over, it is just on hold. Our RTW tour will be continued,...