So here we are, at our final destination – on Isla Mujeres, with two days till we fly home from Cancun. Time to take stock.
What I will miss:
- Managing quite happily with only as much stuff as we can carry
- Spending so much time outdoors
- Meeting new people and seeing the different choices they make about how to live
- Freedom to do what we want, when we want
- Getting up close and personal with so much incredible wildlife from Aji the baby sloth in Peru to swimming with sea lions in Baja California to fireflies in Ometepe
- Kids making up funny peculiar characters that feature in all games and most conversations. Old Mime Guy is a favourite but too hard to explain here.
- Seeing something new everyday
- Playing countless games of chess (Miki wins), scrabble (I win), and bananagrams (could go either way)
- Long lazy breakfasts together with a surfeit of fresh mangos
- Hanging out with my wonderful family everyday.
What I won’t I miss:
- Hanging out with my wonderful family everyday
- Packing and unpacking rucksacks every few days
- Untangling far too many cables and chargers to make sure every electronic device is plugged in. Turns out I’m quite obsessive about this.
- Not speaking enough Spanish to have proper conversations with people in South and Central America. Should have learnt more before we came away
- The clothes we’ve been wearing day in, day out for a year. Most are going in the bin.
- Arguing with the kids about home-schooling
- Mosquitos, being covered head to toe in repellent and getting bitten anyway.
I was hoping that by now that I’d have made my peace with the end of this journey and be ready to re-enter normality. But I haven’t really. Yes, there’s been trying times, frayed tempers, and the claustrophobia of living in each other’s pockets for a year. But we’ve had adventures every day, seen mind-blowingly wonderful things, and built up enough crazy memories to last a lifetime. Who wouldn’t want this to carry on?
I do know coming home will be ok. I love my life, my family and my friends. I’ve got a new job to look forward to (still in government, but now I’ll be working for the Office for Civil Society on social action) and we’ve talked a lot about how we’re going to try to bring home some essence of this year back into our daily life.
These range from the small (putting up hammocks to recreate that lazy, holiday feeling) to the practical (eating breakfast together everyday, and me and Miki putting aside some of many meetings we go to in the evenings to hang out together more) to the significant (kids sharing a room so we can hopefully offer the other to a refugee via HomesforSyrians).
What it boils down to is carving out time once we’re back at work and school to be together, and acting on the many conversations we’ve had about justice, poverty and helping others.
We’ve been so bloody lucky to have had this year together, to do something outside the norm, to have had such an adventure.
Thank you to my amazing, brave, adventurous, funny husband and daughters. Let’s do this again soon, ok?