The days of lugging around a big ol’ backpack, ferociously scanning AirBnb for the best deal in ideal locations, rushing to catch our next bus/plane/train, figuring out driving laws in every country, learning a handful of words in each language, doing our best to chat with locals, and hunting down the best food and drinks now feels like forever ago. I still have to remind myself that we were THOSE people - those backpackers that just gave a big “SEE YA” to real life and took off. And just as quickly as our year abroad flew by, these last 6 months have definitely gone whooshing past! I don't think I shared the story of us coming home with you all yet…
After 5 months in Asia, and 1 last wonderful summer month soaking in family time in Italy, we said goodbye with heavy hearts to loved ones and to our year of travel in the beginning of September 2016. We boarded a plane with a one-way shot into the US and as we crossed the Atlantic, my heart began to leap and as we got closer and closer (and as we sipped our complimentary glasses of vino!) I couldn’t contain my excitement to land in our country. No questions of how long we were staying, how much money we had in our account (which was practically $0), and what hotel we were going to be staying at. No, we would be greeted with a cheerful “Welcome home”…at least that is what I imagined the passport checker would say. We touched down in Chicago where we would stay the night and tears came streaming down Sean and my face as saw those beautiful words “Welcome to the United States of America.” WHATTTTT?! We were home. It was one of the most beautiful feelings of pride we have ever felt, and probably will ever feel. Our first stop was our friends house for guacamole, tortilla chips, and conversations in english and our second stop was Taco Bell for the most guiltless crunch-wrap supreme EVER.
The next few weeks we took it easy. We ate In-N-Out constantly, laid in the sand, jumped in the waves, went to Trader Joes pretty much everyday, spent quality time with friends and family and relished in the fact that we did it, we accomplished our dream of seeing (part of) the world and now we were home in beautiful California. Eventually, it felt as if we had just hit the “pause” button while we were off gallivanting in foreign countries and spending all of our money because before we knew it, life started to feel back to normal. We realized that even though a year is kinda long…it’s actually not long at all. Life remains the pretty much the same, and that was exactly how we liked it. I got the sense that people thought we left to escape something…and to find something else. But the truth is, we just left. We left with open hearts and an open mind to allow God to work his beautiful ways in our life. We came back changed….but not really. We came back with a better understanding of who we are as individuals, as a husband and wife and the incredible world that is out there for us to explore and the amazing people that live in it. We came home excited to live in sunny California and have access to natural beauty right in our backyard. We came back excited to see the life that hadn't shifted much…but actually, remained comfortably similar. Except, we got a puppy and she has definitely shifted our life a bit in the cutest (and sometimes, annoying) of ways.
..with all of that being said, we eventually went back to work. Fun, huh? Well when there is literally $0 left in your checking account, the idea of work doesn't sound so awful. And truth is, it was so fun putting on my nasty work shoes with traces of BBQ sauce still on them and serve up those Old Town Orange customers again. I saw so many familiar and loving faces and got to hug old friends every single day. it was amazing! And by the end of our trip, Sean was itching to get back to picking up where he left off in the paramedic world. To be honest, he started to get creepy. I would just catch him checking my pulse out of nowhere and figuring out my blood pressure. Needless to say, he had to get back on that ambulance. And so he did!
So, where are we now? Well, after totally doing the “living with my parents” shindig, we are finally about to get back out there on our own and take the world by storm. Well, not really. We are just moving back up to Old Town Orange and I will continue to bartend at Smoqued BBQ (come in and have a beer, will ya?! lets chat!), and Sean has just started his career position (!!!!!) at San Bernadino County Fire Department as a paramedic/firefighter! Even with a year away, he never lost sight of his dream and just months after returning home, he has made it a reality. As for me????? Well……big (delicious) things are on the way. You just wait and see! Keep following along because I can’t wait to share it with you all.
6 months home already. Wow. Where does the time go? Did it really happen?! Yes, yes it did and we have the 257095813098 pictures to prove it and a priceless amount of memories and lessons to store in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Our outlook on life has changed in the sense that we just crave more - more openness, more understanding, and more love for all things that encompass our life and our time here on this earth. It’s a hard thing to explain…and I know it’s much easier said than done, but i’ll say it anyways: if you have the passion and the heart for travel, please please JUST DO IT! It’s not easy, it’s not all that glamorous, but it truly is amazing. And that is what I will leave you with! …and a picture of our puppy, Maple. Because how can you resist that face?