30 Jun

Settled…But Not

I had always said that, although a year seemed like a long time to be away, a year would pass anyway whether we did it or not. Now people see me and exclaim how quickly it seems to have gone by. Quickly indeed. We’ve been back home for more than a month now and we are settled in. Our routines have re-established themselves and that big, long year seems like just the blink of an eye.

It is almost two years since we tipped our hand to family and friends letting them know of our, until then, secret plan to put our jobs on hold, sell our house and car, and travel the world for a year. As I think about it, I can feel again the anxiety and nervousness I felt then…unsure of how people would react, scared that no-one would approve, worried that we wouldn’t be strong enough to see it through.

What a difference two years can make. I now feel strangely confident, strong and powerful…like I can do anything. I think success does that to a person – it finds a hole in self doubt and instead instills a sense of power. I’m slowly realizing what I might be capable of and, although it scares me, I am excited by the possibilities.

I have felt a mix of emotions in the past two (and a bit) weeks. Contentment, excitement, sadness, optimism, pride. I feel settled…and unsettled. I seem to be more emotional now than I was before. I was sitting at my desk one day listening to all that was going on around me and suddenly I felt like crying. There didn’t seem to be any reason for my sudden sensitivity – I wasn’t thinking about travel, or being home, or anything really – I just suddenly welled up with tears. I find myself on the verge of tears more often now than I did before. TV commercials, magazine articles, news stories…all seem to affect me, it’s weird.

I don’t think it’s because I’m sad the trip is over – I was ready to come home when we did. Maybe I’m sad that the adventure is over. Every day was different while traveling and new challenges were constantly presented. The tasks, such as getting dinner or finding a room, may have repeated themselves but the logistics around them were always different – we were always in a new city and often didn’t speak the language. Every day was an adventure and that is not the case any longer.

And so I feel settled…and yet not settled all at the same time.



The Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) got it start in early 2009 as a place for travel bloggers and writers to meet and support each other. There are now almost 3000 members sharing their stories, experiences, photos and blog addresses. It’s a great place to get answers to all kinds of travel, writing and blogging questions and to join groups with wide and varied interests.

This weekend the 2nd annual TBEX conference was held in New York City. I didn’t attend this year…but maybe one year I will be able to. It would be a great opportunity to connect up with follow bloggers, hear talks given by more successful bloggers, and generally mix and mingle with people who do amazing things.

P1110323 We held our own Mini TBEX conference this weekend in Victoria. Granted, it was small with only OneGiantStep, ForksAndJets and ProjectRunaway in attendance but we had a wonderful time sampling local beer, eating fabulous food and laughing the weekend away. We and Lisa (from ProjectRunaway) live here and were happy to host Jeremy and Eva. They were on their Home Is Where The Hops Are tour and we did our best to showcase our local beer culture while still trying to preserve our livers. It was great to meet people that we have been following on line, talk about travel and places we have all visited, and discuss what it’s like to come home. I’m sure the NYC TBEX was this, and more, on a much grander scale…but we did pretty okay.

4 thoughts on “Settled…But Not

  1. Gillian – looks like mini TBEX was a great time. I wish I could have been there to sample those beers. It would have put my beer list up over 50 for the year!

    Also I agree that one of the greatest things an RTW trip can impart is a feeling of self confidence. Our trip was ended prematurely due to a family illness back home, and it has really thrown us into a bit of chaos. But I can tell you I am much more relaxed dealing with that chaos than I would have been before our trip. Somehow being homeless, unemployed and with no real plans after Thursday we are still ok with it because we know that in the end it will all work out. And stressing about it along the way does noting but create aggravation. But i do find that I miss the adventure each day on the road brought.

    • Keith, your beer list would definitely skyrocket! I knew we had a lot of local brew here but seeing it through guests eyes made me realize just how lucky we are! Maybe you can come see for yourself one day?

  2. Hmm. My personality makes me want to fix this and make it all better. But I know that writing/blogging is sometimes less about wanting solutions and more about expression. But we faced and still face some similar things, but for us, I guess our lives changed so much upon our return that it is still an adventure.

    Maybe for you, you’ll have to inject the adventure into your lives. Whereas for the past year, it was forced upon you by the situations, now you’ll have to force it upon your life yourself. Change of job? Change of house? Change of hobby? Weekend trips that aren’t what you would normally do? The adventures could be small or large, depending on what you’re up for. It seems that as we get older, we so easily slip into routines and the usual/norm. You’ll just have to keep forcing the spontaneous and new into your life.

    I really have no answers – I’m just procrastinating settling into work for the night. btw, we’re off to TO next week, but planning a trip to the Island after that – or maybe your adventures would bring you here for a weekend in late July? : )

  3. although we finally got the keys to an apartment and chris just found a job it’s not enough to call it “to be settled”…even if I would found a job too there would be always something missing ….probably that bit of being on the road in a foreign land

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