There and Back Again

Trip Start May 22, 2005
Trip End Jan 22, 2006

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Flag of Canada  ,
Sunday, February 8, 2009

We are writing this 3 years after flying home from Peru.  Life seems to get in the way of writing and so this "there and back again" note has waited patiently in line with little plastic number in hand until now.  Travelling, once chewed on, sticks to your soul like well-worn gum on another type of sole and so in the last little while since the world trip we have also been to Morocco, North Korea, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.  We are now on the cusp of the next big wet and wild adventure (emphasis on the wet until the absorbent underwear stage passes).  Our first baby is due in the coming few days.
We left on the trip with the thought that unless it killed us, or even worse just one of us, we would never regret seeing the world.  The "there" changed us, and now the "back again" is lived and experienced through a different palette.  We write this as a record for our forgetful selves, to remind us of the thoughts we thought when for a year we stepped off the ride of life and breathed:
1) Big thoughts first.  They are the heaviest.  God is Grace.  He has created a world of amazing beauty and diversity--you really should take a gander.  His sons and daughters populate this world and we are all more akin then different.  Our struggles are the same (though most are harder than the ones we face here in Canada) and our hopes and desires are indistinguishable.  Pause; reach out past your own cries of "me first and last"; see your siblings as God sees them and you are one big step closer to the "you" your Maker first fashioned.
2) It's the people stupid.  Many months on the road; one strange world; one wife/husband--treasure and care for each other, the rest is junk food.
3) The stuff of life is really the sh*t of life.  The talking box drones on about the things that we would be idiotic not to get, the things that would usher in the happiness we think we seek.  Living in a tiny four person compartment for four days on a train speeding through Siberia with no showers and two long stops a day to stretch your legs outside, it's amazing how the simplest things will make you happy when your life is pared down.  Pure happiness to us was a good companion, breathing fresh air and being able to find some fruit and a big bottle of "no gas" water on one of the few stops.  When you have to carry all your stuff on your back, you would rather leave most of it behind.
4) Your job is the best.  Compared to how 90% of the world fights for survival, whatever you are doing right now--not so bad.
5) CNN makes the world seem like a scary place.  Stepping off a plane/train/donkey onto solid ground shows you it's pretty welcoming.
6) Protein comes in all shapes and sizes--don't judge.  One man's pet is another's Christmas feast.  For posterity's sake here is a listing of the assorted pets, critters and other delicacies we feasted on: 
-         reindeer
-         bear
-         horse
-         dried horse milk
-         fermented mare's milk
-         hairy crab
-         dog
-         various insects (worm, grub, mealworm, flying insect)
-         fresh buffalo milk
-         water snake
-         pigeon as dessert
-         song bird
-         wild poisonous mushrooms
-         crocodile
-         emu
-         kangaroo
-         alpaca
-         guinea pig
-         sheep head
There were a few other delicacies that we tried to eat, but were unsuccessful for some very good reasons.  Marmot in Mongolia--no go because it is the last known carrier of the Bubonic Plague.  Dolphin in Peru--no go because it is endangered and PETA would crucify us.
Onwards and upwards.  No more travelling for a bit to places where small, relatively helpless little people like us would feel unwelcome.  Thanks to anyone out there who has come along and actually read this collection of recollections and random mental diaherra.  We got "there" on a wondrous assortment of moving machines (some mechanical and some organic).  In case our daughter(s)/son(s) won't believe us, we sign off with this complete list since 2005:
-         42 countries
-         55 flights (39 planes)
-         train (thousands of kilometres worth)
-         bus
-         car
-         taxi
-         minivan
-         boat
-         metro
-         off road jeep (Jordan, Rwanda, Uganda)
-         tuk tuk (Agra, India)
-         ferry (Spain, Finland)
-         tiki boat (Uros Island, Peru)
-         row boat (Waitomo, New Zealand)
-         gondola
-         safari jeep (India, Tanzania)
-         tram
-         bicycle (Princes Island, Turkey)
-         funicular
-         rickshaw (Puno, Peru)
-         camel (Wadi Rum in Jordan, Mandawa in India, Sahara Desert in Morocco)
-         camel cart (Karauli, India)
-         donkey (Petra, Jordan and Valley of the Kings, Egypt)
-         flying fox
-         boom net (Bay of Islands, New Zealand)
-         zorb ball (Rotorua, New Zealand)

Keep on truckin'.
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