I don't know how it happened, and I honestly have no clue where the time went. I don't know how today wound up being the end of our trip. Four months sounds like such a long time.
6.24.13 74 °F
But somehow our 4-month trip has turned into just today.
David and I talked about it last night. David said that at home he would often say, "Oh this happened last month" and the time felt so short because every day was the same. But now, when we say, "last month," we realize we were in a completely different country having completely different experiences. One month ago we were in Paris about to go to Berlin. We had not had our most recent experiences yet: we had not experienced being 3 minutes late for our flight and having to pay 100 euros to get on the plane; we had not seen the Berlin wall or partied until 7:30am with other UGA grads we met randomly in a bar; we had not seen any of London or searched for David's ancestor's old family ruins in Ireland; nor had we slept in the jungle or met Tal and Tomer, newly-found Israeli friends that we somehow feel we've known forever. Hundreds of experiences had just not happened yet.
I'm glad I had the foresight before we left to know that 4 months would not actually be a long time. I knew the time would fly by, and we would be home before we knew it. I thought about it often actually, and I did the absolute best I could to enjoy every moment, every smile, every laugh, every bad situation and every fight. I believe I succeeded in this. But it didn't make the time go by any slower.
Throughout the first half of our trip, I had a reoccurring dream that I woke up at my desk at work, looked at my computer and realized, "The trip is over. I'm home already." It was a depressed feeling every morning when I woke up. Luckily, I haven't had this dream since I talked about it with a friend. But the feeling the dream produced and the end of a chapter that it represented, is here on this day more than ever.
To express these feelings, I'm posting a small excerpt from my personal travel journal that I typed yesterday. It's not the easiest thing to share here, but I've chosen to include it because I've met others travelers with similar feelings and perhaps someone may benefit from it:
...The people we’ve met, the things we've seen and been a part of, the events we’ve witnessed, the places we’ve visited - things I saw with my own eyes, touched with my own hands, smelt, heard and tasted.
And somehow, all that has come down to one day. How did 4-months turn into one day so fast? And I’m not even surprised. I knew I would feel this way, and I’m glad I knew. But somehow, still. I don’t understand where the time went. And because it’s already past, it feels like it almost didn’t happen. And I’m still in Rio! Where we really in New Zealand, did we really go to Bali, Thailand, Egypt, Israel, London, Paris, Berlin, back to London, Ireland, Manaus, the jungle and Rio? How did we do that so quickly? Weren’t we JUST there? Why does it feel like so long ago and so far away? I don’t understand. And I don’t know if I want to. I feel like this time and these experiences are completely slipping away, and I’m still IN them! We aren’t even home yet. This was supposed to be so far away.
I know those feelings are unbridled. They aren't the feelings you tell people when you get home. These are the feelings you type when you're ready to cry because you aren't sure you want to go home. And actually, I don't think it's really about wanting or not wanting to going home. I want to see our families and our friends - very much. But I don't want this time to be over. This time that David and I have shared seeing 11 countries in 15 weeks is the absolute best thing I have ever done, ever. I wouldn't trade it for the world. We've seen so many places, experienced so many things and met so many people. This trip has taught me so much about myself, about David, about us, about how I see the world and the people in it, about wealth and money, and so much more.
And I want to finish this post with a reflection on what I've learned about money. Somehow I feel it summarizes my feelings toward our trip very well: Yes, I've learned first-hand some extreme budgeting lessons and saving techniques. But most importantly, I've realized that money is nothing more than a tool --- and time is astronomically more valuable than money. Granted, it was making and saving a large sum of money that allowed us to do this trip. But, the difference, is that I'm okay with the fact that I do not have the same amount of money saved as I did before. We spent our money on something worth while and invaluable - and on something worth much more than the money itself. All in all, what we gained for the many thousands of dollars we spent, I would say without hesitation, we got a fantastic deal.