There was a lot of anticipation as to what our re-entry experience would be like after spending the past year travelling to 11 countries and now returning to home in New Hampshire. Friends and family kept bringing up things like “re-entry”, “culture shock”, “back to reality”, etc. I tried to picture what things would be like when we returned. I tried to think about how I’d feel, how I’d react, how I settle back in. Here’s what happened.
I found it uninteresting and somehow unimportant to anticipate what to expect when I returned. I found myself focused on the experience I was having in South America. And then it hit me. With all of the spare time we’ve had over the past year we were able to devote more time to our daily meditation practice, sometimes sitting twice a day for 30 minutes. One of the byproducts of the practice has been a significant increase in mindfulness. The ability, the practice, the gift of staying present with what was happening right here, right now. What awaited us back home was unimportant. We had learned to accept whatever came our way, whatever stayed with us, and whatever left us. That included things like cancellations, delays, detours, scams, travel sickness and less than great accommodations. It also included things like warm, kind, and loving people, getting really close to some amazing wildlife, standing on a volcano, submerging ourselves in a holy river, and a few times making a difference in peoples lives who are less fortunate than we are. I was aware that our year was coming to a close but found it easy to soak up the present moment, it is a gift after all.
We left Quito, Ecuador and headed to JFK on an overnight, non-stop flight. At some point during our travels non-stop flights became important in a number of ways. Yes, they are more expensive, but you get to there much faster. You can save $200 by flying 7 hours north, layover for 3-10 hours or more, and change planes before flying 8 hours south, but non-stop flight will get you there in 10 hours. We went over budget on some of the flights during the final 3 months but are happy with our decisions.
We landed in NYC on 10/18/2018 and used public transport to get to our AirBnB in Harlem. Laurie got an email about a part-time, work from home, job opportunity. (I’ll let her give you all the details in her next blog post.) We had registered for a Yin Yoga teacher training in Manhattan that started the next day. We were excited to spend a week in New York and still had those “re-entry”, “culture shock”, “back to reality” concepts in the back of our mind. It never happened. We jumped right into the training at Integral Yoga, cooked food at our AirBnB, and walked around Harlem and Central Park.
A week later we hopped on a bus back to New Hampshire. We arrived around 7:30 PM. Laurie parents picked us up at the bus station and we headed to our first stop – the Yoga studio. Remember, we had to moved the studio into a brand new location less than 6 weeks before we left for our trip. It was really a challenge at the time. The building we were in was sold and being converted to apartments. The new space we chose need to be completely renovated. We had to radically change our schedule of classes since we were going from 3 studios to only 1. When we walked into the studio it was beautiful, more beautiful than I’d remembered. Everything as perfect. A year away and everything was fine, the business was still thriving. Our next stop was El Rodeo. Decent Tex-Mex food and Margaritas were pretty much non-existent during our travels. Maybe that’s why I lost 15+ pounds 🙂
Over the next few days we registered one of the used cars we got from friends, got our flu shot, closed on a condo, and jumped right back into teaching Yoga at the studio. We were back in our home in Webster about 10 days later. Over the next few weeks there were lots of warm welcomes along with questions like “When and where are you going to do a presentation about your trip?”, “Are you going to write books?” and “What was your favorite thing?”
My favorite thing was the opportunity to take a year off and travel for a year with my wife and spend that precious time together. Yes I’m planning on writing a book, the working title: “OMG we’re all gonna die – and why you should take a year off now and travel the world.” But know that books are tough to write and they need to be interesting, entertaining. As for the presentation, the first one will be 12/29 from 3-5 PM at the studio.
It’s great to be back home. For me the “re-entry”, “culture shock”, “back to reality” stuff never materialized. Living in the present moment, being grateful for everything you have, and connecting with people from all walks of life has been a blessing during the past year. My plan is to stay the course. Yes I miss travelling, especially the 100′ sunny weather and the people. I’ve got a ton of stories. Come hear one of them on 12/29 at Sharing Yoga, 64 N. Main St. Concord, NH
“12 months, 11 countries, 3 continents, 95 blog posts and 27 plane flights – and we’re still married! Join us for a few short stories, some of our favorite photos, followed by question and answer session. We’ll be accepting donations for 3 of our favorite charitable organizations – The Ganga Prem Hospice in Rishikesh, India, The Shree Swaminarayan English Medium School in Vapi, India, and Wat Arun Rajvararam (Temple of Dawn) Community Learning Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.”