Well, this part of My Year of Living Travelly is over. Four months ago, I flew to Manaus, Brazil to begin the adventure. Four months, forty-three blog posts, sixteen countries, five travel companions, and who knows how many ports later, the European chapter comes to a close.
As I sit in the Copenhagen airport waiting for my flight back to the US, it is time for a little reflection. Here are some random thoughts.
1) I still break out in a broad grin on a bus going just about anywhere in any port, just because being there is such a privilege and blessing. I simply can’t believe Wanderlust Girl of six decades ago has become Wanderwoman!
2) I still look forward to every day, and today the theme is “Oh boy—something different!” Dry land and a seriously different destination, my home state, California.
3) I have come to appreciate more and more how diversity is reshaping our world. Everywhere I see people living in a place that is clearly not of their ethnic origin, and how successfully they seem to be fitting in. I know as a tourist I don’t see the whole picture, but what I see is encouraging. People who think Denmark ( for example) should be just for the Danes are as out of touch with reality as people who expect the Dutch to all still be wearing wooden shoes.
4) Living Travelly has caused me to inhabit the present much more successfully than in the past, an observation I have made on all-day tours. I used to watch the clock—how many more hours we had yet to go. Now I just sit back and enjoy. Maybe thinking in terms of structured time was a small bit of leftover baggage I still had to shed from my working years. Now I just have to be careful I don’t get so relaxed I literally miss the boat!
5) This will be the first time that going home has felt like a continuation of travel more than an end ( however brief) to it. Today as I prepared to leave the ship, I scrounged around to have my keys handy before realizing I didn’t need them. I have rented out my condo and given my car for the duration of my Year of Living Travelly to my son, so I don’t need any keys. Being in San Diego will feel a bit like another stop where I live out of suitcases, but with the wonderful addition of my friends and my very tolerant partner, Dan. It’s going to feel pretty strange, I think, this combination of being in a place I have lived more than half a century, but without the ease of being fully home.
6) My Year of Living Travelly has had at its core not just the desire to see the world, but to provide the chance to reconnect with myself. As I approach my seventieth birthday ( end of 2019), who is this person I have become and and am still continuously becoming? In that respect, I may learn more about myself in the three weeks I am in San Diego, because I won’t have the ability to settle into the old me without a home or a car to do it with.
Just now I had the thought, “wow, that’s really going to be interesting!” and I felt a surge of desire to get on that plane and jet home. Circle back to points one and two in this post. Yes, Wanderwoman is both home anywhere, and happy to be going home.