Before we officially landed on US soil, marking the end of our months of travel, I ‘journaled’ the following entry:
Wrapping up our trip. It all happened quickly. Before we knew it, our conversations were focused on the future, on a sedentary life with no backpacks, a familiar pillow and a cup to store your toothbrush in. Is this really what we want? To return to a life of predictability and commonplace responsibilities? We found the drive and determination to pull ourselves away from the treadmill, yet find ourselves slipping back into the belief that we must return to routine. It feels like a step backward as opposed to an inspired leap into a new way of shaping our lives. How do we keep alive the awe and surprise that comes with the “new”- the immersion in the moment?
I think that the only way I can accept our return to Portland is by believing that it is only a temporary means to achieve a move abroad. We want to live in a foreign Spanish-speaking country that challenges us both linguistically and culturally. Alive, stimulated, and enriched are all the expansive states that we seek by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and trying to come up with new ways to live our lives.
So, where are we now? It is the beginning of December. We arrived into Los Angeles, California in the middle of July, and stayed with family until our return to Portland at the very end of August. We wanted to rent out our home for one more month, in order to give us time with So. Cal. family, and create a little more financial padding before taking on the full weight of our mortgage. Dan returned to his Internet job in early August, working remotely from my parent’s home, while I began research on my new project.
I have not returned to a traditional job. Instead, I am pursuing a life dream. I am writing my first book. As of today, I have already finished the first draft of my historical fiction story. It is set in the 1800’s in the Seychelles, inspired by our brief visit there. I am more ‘happy’ with my work, than I have been for a decade. I write from 8AM to 12PM, Monday thru Friday, while the kids are in school. Then, I spend many hours a day reading books, listening to podcasts, and searching for art and inspiration. Next week, I will begin the hard step of rewrites and editing. I imagine a long way to go…
Stella and Gabriel are happy to be back to the routine of school, visiting friends and living in the same house. It is only very recently that they have mentioned missing traveling, otherwise I think they are ecstatic to be off the road.
Dan is our breadwinner. It is a huge responsibility. Going from a dual income to a single one has been challenging and full of pressure. I can’t fathom reentering the work world, but it may become a necessity. Until then, I am lucky to live in my creative bubble.
What keeps Dan and I going are our plans for the future. We are hoping to move to Spain in the summer of 2017, where we would live for at least one year. He can continue to work for the same company while overseas, I can write (maybe beginning book number 2?), and the kids can go to a public school, where they will be immersed in Spanish. We believe more than ever that learning a second language is a priority, and that this accomplishment will more than make-up for any initial school struggles. Stella and Gabriel were able to reenter Portland elementary school in the grades that they were meant to be in, despite our year of inferior road-schooling. Dan did his best to keep them up in maths, but I was a failure at traditional instruction. Despite my worst efforts, they are doing well, having caught up with no problems.
Our trip already feels ages ago. We’ve slipped back into our home and familiar community, almost like we never left. If it weren’t for this blog and our thousands of photos, many moments might have faded away. I’m not sure exactly where I will go with this platform. The book consumes much of my writing energy, but I hope to devote some time here. I have more to share about the intricacy of planning our previous trip, and hope to share our strategizing for Spain and our expectations (and eventual impressions!) about living in a foreign country. If there is anything in particular that you wish to know, or think would make for an interesting blog, please let me know…
I was already in the mindset of expatriation, in some form or other, when I started reading your very interesting blog. Thank you. I too am interested in the Spanish culture and have my eyes set south. Panama is a comfort zone of sorts and know most of the ins and outs of living there. I was very interested in your South American travels. Was there a favorite country that you could say: Hey, I could live here? Keep the posts coming at least sporadically, always interested. Ciao!