our big trip - days 34 + 35 coming home

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

{a few miles from home}

I remember the day when we first decided to take this five-week trip. We baulked. Then we baulked again.



Pure and simple. Not time, not energy, not desire. Cost.

Then one day I woke up and I thought cost would no longer control us. We could do this. Calculated cost means nothing when it comes to life experience. I also knew that if I didn't get on a plane by the end of the year, I would internally combust.

So we just booked it. The thing about 'just booking it', is you can't really back out of it. You're committed.

The very moment we stepped back onto Australian soil, we knew, without question, our journey had been worth every single cent.

It wasn't only because of the state of travel - which in itself is pure and unadulterated, life-changing, soul-filling bliss. It was also because we came home {as is the way every time we travel} very different people.

Richer {ironically!}. Fuller. Happier. Closer. Calmer. More focused. Things were so much clearer - it was as though someone had window-washed our eyeballs. I felt strong, dynamic, full of life and free of so much of the extraneous drama and niggles and bullshit that sucks us dry, day after day.

Yes, that trip was worth every cent. And much, much more.

Travel has always been a life investment for our family, and I can honestly say that this particular trip, although long, was the best investment we have made in years. Although the cost of travel may look scary, it's the soul and heart and mind benefits {that money just can't buy} that truly make such a commitment so rewarding.

On this trip, I learned so very much. So very much happened for every member of our family, but I have to say, considering where I was before we left, I think it was me who changed the most.

I let go {very hard to do}.

I cried. I laughed. I swam. I didn't care how I looked in my swimsuit. I lost weight {ironic}. I stopped worrying. I stopped, full stop. I paused.

I also revelled. I enjoyed. I got lost in the moment. I ate whatever I wanted. I walked until my feet ached.

I came across lost memories. I revisited old places, found new ones, ogled, bought, delighted and felt my heart swell at every turn, every vista, every sight and sound.

I noticed my kids and my husband as though I hadn't seen them in years. I fell into them. I lost all desire to nitpick and argue. I sipped cocktails. I relaxed. I climbed stairs. I absorbed art. I felt horrified. I fell over from beauty. I got up again. I appreciated.

I found some books (easy to do}. I ate macarons. I spoke French. I drank beer {I never drink beer}.

I saw how not to live my life. I was reminded how not to treat people. I was also reminded how kind and generous and loving people could be - especially those you hardly know.

I realised what matters. I found joy. I made realisations. I was reminded that treating people well and with an open heart is the key to friendship.

I felt full appreciation for generosity - not of the material and fanciful - but of heart and thoughtfulness and kindness and focus and care. I fell in love with kindness all over again, and this is not often easy to do when you travel.

I also fully appreciated how beautiful, gorgeous and normal my family is. Anyone who knows me well, knows that 'normal' is my greatest compliment. We all think our own family is wonderful but perhaps travel and its extremities and what it exposes us to, allows us to fully realise just how precious they are.

I took full delight in watching my children react to the incredible places and experiences we enjoyed on this trip. That in itself was even better than experiencing them myself.

Whether we travel long distance, or just seek out a new local suburb, travel is a life-changing, soul-stretching, happiness-plumping experience. I always come home with a renewed sense of purpose and strength and the understanding that life is not about 'success' or acquisition. It's about achieving new heights - of varying genre and meaning.

For me and my family, I feel we scaled a mountain.

I love that saying 'respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or make you happy'.

This epitomises how I felt when I came home from this trip. Extraneous Things fell away, revealing a clean slate etched with The Things That Matter. But it doesn't have to take an overseas jaunt to know and feel and action this saying {although being out of your comfort zone certainly helps hammer it home}.

Whether you like to travel or stay at home, I hope you can learn to walk away. To let go. To stop, to focus, to appreciate - and, of course, to always scale greater heights.

distance travelled: 38,498km

our big trip - days 1 + 2: Melbourne
our big trip - day 3: Flying to Europe
our big trip - day 4: London
our big trip - day 5: London
our big trip - day 6: London
our big trip - day 7: London
our big trip - day 8: London
our big trip - day 9: Leyland
our big trip - day 10: London
our big trip - day 11: Paris
our big trip - day 12: Paris
our big trip - day 13: Paris
our big trip - day 14: Bruges
our big trip - day 15: Bruges 
our big trip - day 16: Bruges and The Hague
our big trip - day 17: The Hague
our big trip - day 18: Amsterdam
our big trip - day 19: Amsterdam
our big trip - day 20: The Hague
our big trip - days 21 + 22: Brussels
Two days lost with travel and travelling east
our big trip - days 25 + 26: Bangkok
our big trip - day 27: Kanchanaburi
our big trip - days 28 - 32: Cha Am Resort
our big trip - day 33: Hua Hin

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