We are back in Peru, after being in the States for three weeks. I think I was more homesick than I had admitted to myself. It’s easy to pretend it’s not there with the miles in-between. But as my flight was arriving and the New York City skyline came into view, I was overwhelmed with emotion and there was no denying that I missed this place.
Being back in the States felt strange though, dream-like, to be in a place that is familiar and just as we remembered it. As expected, there was an element of culture shock, to all of the sudden be surrounded by so much excess. There was also a subtle but uneasy feeling of not quite belonging, perhaps a temporary effect of our two worlds colliding. We are still trying to make sense of how it felt to be back in the States.
But all these feelings were pushed aside by the warm embrace of our friends and family who filled our bellies with comfort food and our hearts with love. Thank you to everyone who hosted us while we were home. We feel refreshed, recharged and ready to hit the road. We’re also returning a few pounds heavier thanks to your attempts to stuff us like Thanksgiving turkeys. It was wonderful to see everyone, and for those we missed we hope to catch up with you when we finish in the Spring. Thank you to everyone out there cheering us on. Sometimes it’s the support of the village that keeps our wheels turning.
One year and seven months is a long time to be traveling. Scott and I are fortunate to have each other as travel partners. I have tremendous respect for those who make this journey alone. We were on separate flights back to the States, traveled to different locations and then met up for the last week. The flight home was the longest we’ve been apart since starting this trip. We’ve probably spent more time together in the past 1.5 years than some people spend in a lifetime of marriage. That’s a lot of together-time. We both were looking forward to some time spent apart.
We are frequently reminded that this is not a vacation. It’s an adventure. The highs and lows on the road are far more extreme than our former lives. When it’s good, it’s mind-blowing, but when it’s bad, it can be miserable. And we each experience it differently. Sometimes one of us is loving it while the other is struggling. A friend once noted that this is a love story. I had never looked at it that way. But it is…through good times and bad, this is our love story.
It feels good to be back in Peru. I was worried the comforts and familiarity of home would make me reluctant to return to life on the road. But for me, being home and back in “normal” life made the wanderlust even stronger. I’m not ready to go home. I’m not ready to be done.