Coming home from our amazing trip – what’s it like?

by Kylie Gibbon

We’ve been back from our wonderful trip almost 2 months now! We’ve been asked a lot by people ‘what’s it like being back?’ Well like anything in life I suppose there are good and bad aspects to being home.

The kids were pretty happy and excited about coming back.  8 months was about the right amount of time for them to be away, given the style of travel we were doing. Any longer and we would have needed to stay put in places for longer stints at a time, as towards the end we all got tired of moving around all the time.

To be honest, Mike and I were probably less enthused about coming back . We absolutely love the travel lifestyle and the excitement of going to new places and cultures.

The little people enjoying Mostar in Bosnia.

The little people enjoying Mostar in Bosnia.

Two days before we were due to fly home, I got out of the shower (my happy thinking place) and said to Mike “let’s sell one of our cars and use the money to go to Mexico. Let’s keep going!” I was only half joking.

But on the whole, apart from a few speed wobbles, I can gladly say we are happy to be back. It has generally been easier than we thought it might be to slot back into everyday life.

The good bits

Family and friends

Back to normality - out trick or treating with the cousins.

Back to normality – out trick or treating with the cousins.

The obvious ones such as reconnecting with family and friends has been great. The kids are very happy in particular at having their cousins around again to play with.

We live in New Zealand!

We've really enjoyed getting back to uncrowded beaches!

We’ve really enjoyed getting back to pristine, uncrowded beaches!

There are certainly many worse places in the world to live in! Seeing how many people live has made us appreciate even more how lucky we are to live in this amazing place. It’s made us appreciate that we even have a choice about where we live, when so many millions out there don’t.

We have lots of exciting plans coming up and things to look forward to

Taking 8 months out of the ‘real world’ gave us plenty of time to think about how we want to spend the next bit of our lives. It’s helped clarify what our values are and what’s important to us.

We’ve had a massive de-clutter

Living out of 2 suitcases for 8 months teaches you a lot about what you actually need in life i.e. not a lot. Unpacking our things literally took us weeks because we culled so much of it and gave it to the Red Cross. Life feels so much simpler now I don’t have 32 un-used wine glasses in my cupboard! It’s still not perfect but we feel all the lighter for having less ‘stuff’.

The memories

Happy times in Croatia

Happy times in Croatia

We talk SO much as a family about our experiences and what we did and saw. It has sparked so many interests in the kids that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. Sophie’s history fascination continues on and she’s watching Horrible Histories as well as countless documentaries on ancient Egyptians and Greeks. “Mum when can we go to Egypt?” is a common question! Jack is very interested in marine life and natural history.

We keep coming across things in books and everyday life where we say either ‘we saw that’ or ‘remember when we were in’….

Employment

One of the things niggling in the back of our mind when we decided to do this was ‘will we be ok to get jobs again?’ And looking back it WAS a big risk chucking in two perfectly good jobs with no back-up plan!

Well happy to report that Mike is employed again in a job he is very excited about doing, for a company he has long wanted to work for.

I’m very much a domestic executive at the moment. It’s been a lot of work re-establishing our lives here. Sorting out our house after it’s been tenanted and getting the kids settled back into school has been quite a job. I’ve also continued doing some travel writing which I love doing and have big plans for other new ventures in the new year 🙂

Doing this trip definitely forced us out of our comfort zones career-wise. I suspect if we hadn’t done this trip we’d both be in the same place and mindset as 18 months ago. It’s early days but it’s looking like it has paid off. We’re certainly both feeling refreshed and looking forward to new challenges ahead.

The not so good bits

We miss each other

I never in a million years thought this would happen, but we miss being around one another 24/7. I thought the second the plane arrived back in Auckland we’d be racing to head off in 4 different directions!

Of course the travel had its moments and times when we snapped at one another (usually due to tiredness, or staying in an extreme confined space). But the snatches of time we have after school, evenings and weekends don’t quite compare to spending most of our time together.

Routine

Back to school and kindergarten...

First day back to school and kindergarten…

God routine is boring, stressful and it wears you down!!  It’s scary how quickly we’ve slotted back onto the treadmill and the constant rushing to school, work, getting places, battling traffic, supermarket shopping, organising insurance and dental appointments etc etc.

Of course a lot of this is just everyday life that we all have and we need to suck it up. But we’re also trying to be conscious that we have downtime and life doesn’t become all consuming like it was before we left.

Making the most of the weekends

Making the most of the weekends

We really miss the travel

It was SO exciting constantly jetting off to a new destination, meeting new people, trying new food, seeing new things. I think Sophie and I suffer the most from this. She is really missing ‘the trip’ and absolutely has the travel bug.

We’re counteracting this by planning our next travel adventures :-). Now she knows what it’s all about we’re going to make a formidable planning team! And of course we absolutely plan on making the most of our own beautiful New Zealand backyard as well.

Re-aquainting ourselves with our home culture at Auckland Museum

Re-aquainting ourselves with our home culture at Auckland Museum

 

Checking out the cruise ships in Auckland harbour

Checking out the cruise ships in Auckland harbour

Enjoying yum cha

Enjoying yum cha – our multi-cultural city means we are blessed with so many different cuisines and amazing food.

And to end on a light-hearted note…

The weather! When is summer going to arrive??!

What’s next?

We’re going to keep updating this blog over the coming months with the travel posts that we didn’t get a chance to add while we were on the road. And there’s a whole heap of info on our experience of travelling with young kids that we’ll be sharing with you.

Finally, there’s a whole heap of stuff going on behind the scenes to define what our life is going to be like going forward. All will be revealed hopefully soon if we manage to pull it off! But for now, we’re doing ok 🙂

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Business class seat with Malaysia Airlines.