It is 2:15 am in Bangkok, Thailand. The fan overhead is rotating 360 degrees, attempting to cool Mark and I as we sleep. My legs are clammy after having been underneath the covers. I throw them back in a last ditch effort to cool myself down a little further. My mouth is dry from breathing the moving air throughout the night. I’m not quite sure why I am awake at this ungodly hour in the morning. It will be a long day ahead, and I really should be asleep.
Instead, I reach over to the nightstand and run two fingers across the smooth mouse on my Mac Air, something I have done countless times in the wee hours of the morning, this past year. The screen flickers alive, sending a soft hue of light across the room and Mark stirs slightly beside me. His slow rhythmic breathing indicates he remains asleep. A few keystrokes later and the last of our Bangkok photos upload to the land of Flickr. It is much quicker to upload the photos throughout the night, and my body automatically rolls over to the side of the bed to check them periodically as the rest of the house is fast asleep. Some person known as Soul Surfer has marked more of our photos as favourites. I’m not quite sure who Soul Surfer is, but they have good taste in photos. My life is about to change today. I’ll have fewer pictures to manage shortly, and there will be no need to reach for a computer on the nightstand in the middle of the night.
It’s not the only thing that will change as we begin our journey home, and I’m sure I’m going to miss this lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. We are quite used to living out of our backpacks with limited clothing and shoe options, and starting each lazy day with a world of exploration possibilities. I ponder how we will fill our days at home. I’ll need a fridge calendar; there was no need to pick one up at Costco this past Christmas, but I’ll need one again. I suppose I can buy one when I slip into Hamilton for our appointments. I’ll have to remember to add that to the list. Between doctor, dentist, orthodontist, optometrist, and hair appointments I’m going to need a personal assistant, never mind a fridge calendar! Oh the luxuries of living in the first world. I won’t have to research where to go or barter over the price. No, there will certainly be no need for that. Instead, I’ll just hand over a small fortune to the professionals that are deemed necessary and try not to think about the fact that that same amount of money would fund several educational scholarships, healthcare or many, many, more months of travel.
I don’t think I will ever look at spending money the same again. Sure, I’ll be making a lot more of it, so that should make things easier, but everything is about to multiply in cost by some very large factor that I don’t want to even think about. No more gigantic dollar watermelons that we can feed on for days, no more family restaurant trips for less than ten dollars. Paying pennies for public transportation will turn into hundreds and thousands of dollars being spent on putting two cars back on the road…uggg. I’ll have to remember to drive again – what will that be like? Will I honk my horn more?
I haven’t had much need to think about returning to life at home as it always seemed so far off. Maybe the fact that our trip is ending has something to do with the reason that I am awake now. Mark’s Facebook group of travelling families has a term for the transition that takes place when long-term travellers return to their ‘old’ lives. It is called ‘RE-ENTRY’. A vision of cute little green aliens piloting their ship through the solar system pops into my mind. Will it be like that? Will I feel like an alien in my ‘old’ life?
For many, ‘RE-ENTRY’ is seamless, for others the lost sense of adventure is too much, and they head back out on the road shortly after their return home. It will be busy when we get there. It will be a whole new world for us with house maintenance, cell phone plans, banking, book keeping, swimming lessons, leadership camps, house keeping, visiting with friends and family, living with a schedule, preparing to return to work…
I’m going back to sleep now, it is going to be a long day, and I am going to need my rest.
-To be continued.