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Homeward Bound: Part Four

by Tara

I used to imagine the end of this trip would have some kind of finish line, some banner that read "The End!" When we crossed under it, I would feel elated, ecstatic and prouder than I've ever felt. Our families would be there cheering, we'd get some bucket of ice water dumped on our heads, and maybe someone would hoist us on their shoulders and parade us around like heroes.

All of this dramatic hoopla basically boiled down to one thing: I wanted an outside cue, some external recognition that would tell me "You did it! You finished! Now rest happily, child, you've done enough." I wanted someone or something else to give me a feeling of closure to celebrate the end of this massive project Tyler and I so blithely took on three years ago.

But, as I grow older, I've come to realize that nothing outside ourselves is going to validate this experience and tell us when enough is enough. Only we can decide when we're done, when we've worked hard enough, when we can pen the very last word of this grand adventure, and then close the book, tie it with a ribbon, and feel proud and accomplished.

Right now, in this sunny hotel room, on a hot February day in the capital of Laos, we're doing just that. We're making the executive decision to finish this chapter of our lives. It lacks the fanfare I fantasized about, the hoopla, and the recognition. As it turns out, "the end" is actually quite anti-climactic. But after two years of action-packed adventure, I am really okay with anti-climactic. We make our own celebrations.

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

T.S. Eliot
In Years Past and Future
2010 - Pushing Through Paradise


you've summed this up so well Tara!
Posted by sarah j on April 27th, 2011 at 4:08 AM
BIG CONGRATULATIONS on your performance! I have been following your trip from close to the beginning with a lot of interest. Thanks for everything you have shared through this website. You two can be very proud of what you have achieved over those 2 years of traveling.
Posted by Eric on April 27th, 2011 at 8:30 AM
When you decide to settle down in one place, starting to have a family and realize that all you need is each other and a few cats and dogs to raize and maybe a bike or two or three to get around you will have finished this phase of your lives, it will be over and we your families will welcome you home and be so proud of what the two of you have accomplished, you will know it is over. We love you two and are sooooo proud of what you have done. Love you both so much and can't wait to see you in person. GM & GP.
Posted by gm on April 27th, 2011 at 10:37 AM
"We make our own celebrations." Yes, we do. Sometimes we even make our own fun...that usually involves lip synching and dancing around the living room. :)
Posted by Karina on April 27th, 2011 at 1:44 PM
My heartiest congratulations!! Selfishly, I am sad. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your journal daily and will miss doing so. But, you two have wonderful plans for the future and a whole new adventure ahead of you. Bon courage!
Posted by Debbie on April 28th, 2011 at 12:21 AM
Sarah J - Thank you!

Eric - AW thanks, Eric. And thank you for following along; your kind words are much appreciated!

Grandma - Thank you. That vision you talked about of our future life sounds really wonderful, with the cats and dogs and bikes and things. :-) I'm so excited to start the next phase of our lives, but I'm even more excited to see you guys first! We love you!

Karina - Amen!

Debbie - We have loved reading your comments over the years (years!!) and really, really appreciate all the support you've shown us. Thank you for that! Don't worry, we'll keep writing. :-) Oh, also, I should really promote this for real instead of mentioning it at the bottom of a comment, but we're going to be speaking at the Champaign Public Library on Thursday, June 16th at 7:00PM. We'd love to see you there!
Posted by Tara on May 1st, 2011 at 2:12 AM