Reflections on Ending our Trip Around the World

This morning we find ourselves in the Atlanta airport en route to Cincinnati, officially back in the United States. During our six hour bus ride and a ten hour flight, we have had a lot of time to reflect on our travels and all that we have seen, learned and experienced.  Now that it is over, we can say without hesitation that this trip around the world has been an unequivocal success.  We are proud of what we’ve done; it has been incredibly satisfying and rewarding.   It hasn’t really sunk in that it is over, and what a bitter sweet ending it is.  We have stayed in so many hotel rooms, it will be nice to sleep in a familiar bed for several nights in a row.  And we will have significantly fewer buses, planes and trains in our near future.  But we wouldn’t trade the many different beds, moments of frustration and exhaustion, bumpy flights or even bouts of food poisoning.  It is all part of the overall experience. We would do it all again in a heartbeat.

On our last night in Mar Del Plata, really our last night of the trip, we laid in bed and talked about all that we have learned from our travels.  Of course, the list is endless and we shared everything from the silly (a”hairy coo” is a Highland Cow in Scotland ) to the practical (the London Heathrow airport has absurdly restrictive security) to the profound (by and large, people around the world seem to want similar things from life).  Not only has our understanding of other cultures grown, but also our understanding of our own culture.  We have seen the ways the U.S. can be much more restrictive than other countries, to the point of making us feel stifled.  At the same time, we have grown to appreciate things like vehicle emissions standards and road construction because the lack of these things in other countries is incredibly off-putting.  Traveling for four months did not allow us to spend tons of time in any single city, so we cannot call ourselves experts on any one place .  However, it is amazing what 3 or 4 days can do to create a real impression–the people, food, drink, transportation, shopping and overall vibe of a city shows itself pretty quickly.  We can now speak knowledgeably about cities around the world which six months ago we might not have even been able to find on a map.

We are happy to report that even on the last day of the trip, we’re still finding ourselves surprised.  Predictability has certainly never been an issue on this trip, and as we sat on the bus from Mar Del Plata to Buenos Aires, the movie in the DVD player was not another of the terrible movies we expected.  Instead, it was the new James Bond movie, Skyfall.  You know, the one that just came out in the U.S. on Friday?  How refreshing, if not a bit surprising, to have a movie that might actually entertain us!  Of course, we stopped paying attention when we realized it was dubbed in Spanish–those DVD pirates sure are quick!

As our trip comes to an end, we find ourselves overwhelmed with feelings both confusing and understandable.  We know the real world will be calling soon, so we have begun taking steps to ease the transition–polishing our resumes, reaching out to potential employers, making appointments to look at apartments.  But, we didn’t want to pull the emergency break on our journey, either.  We wanted to savor the end because we still can’t believe it is actually over.  No longer will we have to be hyper-vigilant about our surroundings, keeping an eye on our bags at every turn and constantly jotting down notes on our observations from the day.  We won’t have to worry about where we will be sleeping two days from now or if the room falls within our accommodations budget.  Nor will we have the pleasure of discovering a great local favorite like the Shopska salad or a wonderful free walking tour.  Our life experienced a huge tectonic shift when we left New York City to travel the world, and we are now on the cusp of a new shift.  Yes, our way of thinking will shift with it, we just hope that the perspective we have gained from our experiences stays with us.

We look back and feel so thankful for the amount of support and encouragement we have gotten from friends, family and even total strangers.  It has been much appreciated and has helped inspire us each and every day to continue with our efforts in writing the blog.  What started out as a travel journal for us and a way to keep in touch with our loved ones has turned into a labor of love that is a happy surprise.  It has been a pleasure writing each day and we are so thankful that we have had experiences enough to fill the page.  Of course, there was always so much more to say and we constantly found ourselves editing down to make the entries readable.  To those daily readers, thank you for going on this journey with us.  We feel so enriched from all we’ve seen and done, and we hope in some way you feel enriched, too.

Although this is the end of our trip, we are smart enough to know that this is not the end of our journey.  In fact, in some ways our journey is only just beginning.  As we enter this new phase and into a life with more routine, we will always have this remarkable story to tell.  But never fear, we will continue to make more stories, both at home and abroad.  One thing we know for sure is that this trip has made us hungry for more travel.  It is such a big world out there and we have so much more to see.  Yes, we still have lots of travel in our future.  But for now, we can officially say that we have completed a voyage around the world.

Brooke and Phil

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Categories: Destinations, Eating, Post Trip Reflections, The End of our Trip, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Reflections on Ending our Trip Around the World

  1. I’m so sad that I won’t have an email greeting me in the morning about your adventures! I’ve enjoyed following you around for the last few months. Good luck on your future adventures!

  2. Congrats, guys! Welcome back to American soil. Thanks for allowing us to travel vicariously along with you over the past few months. And best of luck on life’s next big adventure!

    • When I backpacked thugorh Paris, I spent a day seeing the Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux. It’s a really old needlepoint depiction of the Norman Invasion, and it’s in a really cute, tiny town on the coast that is accessible by train from Paris.I’m just into random history though, so I don’t know if you’d be interested in it. I would have seen Versailles instead, but it was closed on the day I had set aside for a day trip (Tuesday, I think).

  3. Niccole

    Welcome back! Can’t wait to take a (short) plane ride to see your smiling faces soon!!

  4. daxoliver

    Congratulations and welcome back! Watching James Bond in Spanish somehow seems a fitting way to conclude your adventure.

    • With only eight days and one day trip planned, I woldun’t necessarily recommend going very far out of Ile-de-France. Versailles is accessible by RER, so you don’t need to take the national rail. Fontainebleu isn’t far away, either. Chartres is very do-able as a day trip it’s a nice little medievalish town with a lovely cathedral. As for Normandy, Rouen is only an hour away. Giverny is also 45 minutes by train as well, although the train station is in Vernon, so you’d either have to take a taxi or a bus from there to Giverny a few kilometres away. With the new (well, as of 2007, anyway) TGV Est, Reims, the capital of Champagne and the site of the cathedral where France’s kings were crowned, is a mere 45 minutes away. Unfortunately, some of more interesting sites in Normandy that others are suggesting, such as Bayeux and Mont Saint-Michel, are a bit too far away (or, rather, require transfers and long layovers) if you’re going to taking the train. If you’re driving or plan to spend a night away, I would highly recommend those two. I really adored both. But I also REALLY adore Paris and think that an overnight day-trip on an eight-day trip is too much. But that’s just me.Someone else suggested some place in the Loire valley. Given a choice between Normandy (with the exception of Bayeux and Mont St-Michel) and the Loire, I’d actually take the latter. Tours is an hour away by TGV, but doesn’t boast any castles of its own. Orleans is only an hour away as well (but, again, no castles). Blois, which does have a castle, is between an hour and a half and two hours away. As with the case of Normandy, some of the other castles that I really loved (Chinon, Azay-le-Rideau) require too much time to visit in just one day by train.IF you decide to go to Versailles, DO visit the town and not just the palace

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