What would you do if something happened to your family? That’s one of the first questions people ask when they learn that we travel long term.
Our answer has always been that we would return home should ever the need arise. That we live a life that affords us the opportunity to be anywhere and that includes where ever we may need to be.
We haven’t lived near our hometowns, or families, for quite some time even before we chose a life of travel. In fact, our new travel life has only improved our situation in this regard. We can pick up and leave at a moments notice; being where we need to be without worry of job security, time constraints, or, for the most part, funding considerations.
It means that, for us, the ‘what happens if the worst happens?’ question is better answered now than it ever was.
Which is fortunate because we now find ourselves in a position to have to answer the question directly.
We learned last week that a family member is ill and so we have left Chiang Mai and returned to Canada. Although we are terribly sad that our summer plans have changed so drastically, we are also relieved to be able to return to help out where needed.
It’s an interesting emotional journey to get here. I’ll be honest here because the ‘what happens if the worst happens’ question deserves it.
After the shock of learning that a loved one is ill enough to warrant our return we sat on it for a day or so. We had made flight arrangements, managed leaving our apartment early, canceled rental agreements we had made for the summer, and withdrew from job competitions; all the stuff that needed immediate attention. And then we just didn’t tell anyone.
Telling people would make it real and, somehow, I just wasn’t ready yet. We needed to grieve a bit; feel sorry for ourselves and let the sadness find its place. So we moped a bit, had a few drinks too many, and got ready to meet it all head on.
It’s not selfish to do so. It’s reality. Often there can be guilt around thinking of ourselves; I think that’s bullshit. I don’t want to, and won’t, wallow in it but there is a place for grieving for what would have been, for realizing what you’re losing, and for coming to terms with the situation. And then it’s time to pull on the big-girl panties.
We’re here now, in Canada, getting ready for what might come, grateful that we can continue with our projects where ever we are, and proud of ourselves for being in a position to be able to help.
It goes to show that the one question that is often a hurdle for people actually has an answer that should remove the hurdle.