Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Game Over

It’s almost over.

One more day before we fly home. In 36 hours, we’ll be in the plane heading back to France. The trip, our year-long adventure, a project that has been in the works for over two years, is almost finished.

This year has flown by at an incomprehensible speed. The trip has gone so fast.

Too fast.

We don’t fully realize that it’s over. It just hasn’t hit us yet. What’s weird is that almost exactly a year ago, I was saying the same thing about leaving for the trip: that it hadn’t hit us, that we weren’t emotionally prepared, that we were scared, and excited, and a little sad. Now, that familiar, bittersweet mix of emotions is back; only this time, instead of it being the beginning, it’s the end.

Funny how life can be so perfectly symmetrical.

But maybe it isn’t the end. Maybe we have such a strong sense of déja vu because we are on yet another brink, about to embark on yet another adventure. It is the end of the trip, but it is also the start of whatever comes next.

What that is, exactly, is a little more unclear.

You see, when we were planning this journey, we expected to come back with clarity, with life goals. We expected to come back with a plan.

As you might have noticed from the glaring lack of any blog posts about our future, we don’t have a plan. At best, we have a vague idea of next steps that we hope might eventually evolve into a plan, but as for where we will be and what we will be doing in two months’ time, well, your guess is as good as mine.

But maybe that’s a good thing. I really believe that part of our anticipation and excitement about this new chapter in our lives is a direct result of the fact that we have no idea what that chapter will look like. If we knew for sure what we would be doing and where, if we were already looking for apartments or organizing job interviews, maybe the end of the trip would be hitting us much harder than it is.

Not that it’s not hitting us at all. We are both really, really sad to end this adventure. I can’t think of a better word for how we are feeling: we are just sad. Sad that this incredible journey is over: a journey that has consumed the last two years of our lives and has shown us the most interesting, enlightening, challenging, educational- and just the most fun, damnit- times we’ve ever had. Of course we are sad. We have loved this trip. Loved every part of it. Even the parts we hated.

Throughout the trip, we have tried to make sure we always appreciate what we are doing and to never let our frustration or discomfort cloud our gratitude for this unique experience. We’ve never gotten sick of the trip, or wished time would speed up. We never looked forward to it being over or to going back home. In the past year, neither of us has felt even a fleeting moment of resentment, even a twinge of regret, that we made this decision. As we start realizing that the trip is ending, our affection for and attachment to this journey only grows stronger. We just don’t want it to end.

But it has to end, and we accept that. Our dismay about the trip being over is partnered with a sort of resignation that there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s going to end whether we want it to or not, so we better just accept it and try to have a good attitude about it.

And it’s not all tears. We are excited to see our families and friends. Excited to spend Christmas in France and then fly to the States (and London, and Amsterdam, and Switzerland- we have a lot of people to see.) We are excited to see how much all of our friends’ babies have grown and hear about everything we’ve missed in the last twelve months. We have been lucky enough to have this incredible experience and are lucky enough to return to a lot of love and support. So, sad or not, we have nothing- and I mean nothing- to complain about.

It’s still too early to say how this trip has changed us. We know it has, but it’s all still so fresh that we don’t know what is temporary and what will have a lasting effect. We need time from it, time to take some distance from traveling and let everything we’ve experienced sink in.

And I also need time to catch up on the blog.

Even though this is the end of the trip, it’s not quite the end of 360 Degrees in 360 Days. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting about our time in South Africa, and our return to Europe. As my thoughts about the trip and its effects on us start to clarify, I’ll share those with you as well. There will be a lot to reflect on in the near future. A lot of things to do, to think about, to plan.

But before all of that, we still have one more day left on this trip; a day I'm not going to waste worrying about the future. 

It's one of the many lessons I've learned from this experience, one that I hope stays with me forever. We should never let the anticipation about what’s next distract us from the enjoyment of what is now.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing way of describing your thoughts and feelings etc.indeed enjoy your last day of this great adventure!can't wait to see you guys 1st week of January and exchange stories and tell you how it's like to be back;-)!!!willie & roeland xoxo