Re-Entry

22.May 2010

Settling In

Looking Toward Home We’ve been back in Canada for two weeks now and, in many ways, our year away already seems like a distant dream. It’s amazing how quickly comfort and familiarity ingrain themselves again. We are enjoying being surrounded by culture we know and understand, are loving catching up with family and friends, and are happily getting back to our regular activities.

But, some days, it seems as though our re-entry into society is delayed…we keep regressing into on-the-road behavior.

  • We want to take our clothes out of the dresser everyday…just to put them back in again.
  • I still think about washing my panties in the sink every couple of days because I forget that I now have enough to last longer than a week.
  • When I open my closet I gravitate to the same three outfits even though I now have a full wardrobe again.
  • I find myself constantly stuffing toilet paper into my pockets in case the next pee break doesn’t have toilet paper.
  • I still hoard plastic bags and napkins…never know when I might need them.
  • We keep wanting to check out the Lonely Planet Canada to plan what to do/where to go the next day.
  • In a public washroom I check the stall first to make sure it’s not a squat…and then I check the seat to make sure that no-one has stood on the seat to use it as a squat.
  • When we go out for dinner we just about choke when the bill comes because we lived for 2 days on that in Vietnam/Bali/Thailand.
  • When walking past fences and walls I hold my breath to avoid the disgusting stink of it being used as a urinal.
  • I have to resist the urge to introduce myself to perfect strangers  explaining where I am from, how long I’ll be here, where I’ve been etc and then ask them for their favorite places and recommendations.
  • We still write every purchase or expense in ‘the book’ to keep track of all the money…seriously…but that is a good habit to keep and we plan on continuing. Never hurts to know where all the money goes.

I’m sure, soon enough, these habits will fade away. Until then they are quirky reminders of the time we spent away.

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10 Responses to “Re-Entry”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Well it is commendable that you two traveled the year. It seems like after India the context changed for you two. Long term travel is not for everyone, and everyone relates differently to traveling a long time than others.

    I think for Americans, and Canadians it can be more difficult because of the spoiled world they live in, and that can included some western Europeans.

    I can say, actively traveling again after one year in Bulgaria living the ultra traditional life compared to the west, that my perception has changed and all those little things just don’t bother me anymore.

    Happy Trails.

  2. Jeremy Says:

    It’s like you just had a 1 year training period for a job and its all become second nature. Clearly you are ready to go for some more, haha.

  3. Jaimee Says:

    Today a water bottle spilled in my purse and I got very sad because my stash of tp and stolen napkins got ruined…
    I envy you with your full closet (and cute shoes)! Happy Re-entry!

  4. eric Says:

    Awesome!! Trip of a lifetime….memories and stories for years to come.

  5. paul Says:

    Glad to hear that you’re having trouble re-adjusting to civilization . . . . it means you had a marvelous time traveling. This is something that was sent to me from a traveling friend, I thought you’d enjoy it:

    Having trouble readjusting to life back at home now that the traveling is over?
    Here’s a few handy hints to help you settle back in.

    1) Replace your bed with two or more bunk beds, and every night invite random
    people to sleep in your bedroom with you. Ensure at least once a week a couple gets drunk and shags on one of the top bunks. Remove beds one by one as symptoms improve.

    2) Sleep in your sleeping bag, forgetting to wash it for months. Add some bugs in order to wake up with many unsightly bites over your arms and legs.

    3) Enlist the help of a family member to set your radio alarm to go off randomly during the night, filling your room with loud talking. This works best if the station is foreign. Also have several mobiles ringing,without being answered. To add the torture, ask a friend to bring plastic bags into your room at roughly 6 in the morning and proceed to rustle them for no apparent reason for a good half an hour.

    4) Keep all your clothes in a rucksack. Remember to smell them before putting them on.

    5) Buy your favourite food, and despite living at home, write your name and when you might next be leaving the house on all bags. This should include mainly pasta, 2 minute noodles, carrots, rice and beer.

    6) Ask a family member to every now and again steal an item of food, preferably the one you have most been looking forward to or the most expensive. Keep at least one item of food far too long or in a bag out in the sun, so you have to spend about 24 hours within sprinting distance of the toilet.

    7) Even if it’s a Sunday, vacate the house by 10am, and then stand on the corner of the street looking lost. Ask the first passer-by of similar ethnic background if they have found anywhere good to go yet.

    8) When sitting on public transport ( the London Tube would be ideal) introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you, say which stop you got on at, where you are going, how long you have been traveling and what university you went to. If they say they are going to Morden,say you met a guy on the central line who said it was terrible and that you’ve heard Parsons Green is better and cheaper.

    9) Finally, stick paper in your shower so that the water comes out in just a drizzle. Adjust the hot/cold taps at regular intervals so that you are never fully satisfied with the temperature. Because of this frustration, shower infrequently.

    These simple but effective instructions should help you fall back into normal society with the minimum effort.

    Take care
    Paul

  6. Keith Says:

    Love the Lonely Plant Guide. Amy and I were just guessing what sort of terrible food recos they have for Philly, as were yet again led astray searching for a restaurant in Kyoto that seemed to be non-existent. No worries though we found a great place by total accident.

    Enjoy settling in and keep the posts coming.

  7. Nomadic Matt Says:

    It’s amazing how hard it is to let go of some things. After a such a long trip, the way you do things is forever changed.

  8. Eva & Jeremy Rees Says:

    Love this! We did so many of the same things! I could hardly believe how easy it was to get napkins again. I think all the people we encountered when we first got back thought we were insane :)

  9. mina Says:

    i’ve been reading through your blog lately and i relate to so much of it. good to know that i’m not the only one hoarding plastic bags and napkins. i also enjoy stealing plastic cutlery form fast food restaurants.