There is a price to be paid for following our dreams. This morning, while our loved ones halfway around the world are tucked into their beds, sleeping on the night before Christmas, a quiet melancholy has swept over our little hotel room.
Right now, we're thinking about this reality: each day we spend traveling, we are, in some way, placing a higher priority on this adventure than we are on our families. With the holiday season upon us, the cost of that decision aches a little.
At home, two years stretches on much longer than we sometimes realize. Out on the road, the days mostly fly by in a perpetual stream of new experiences. The ceaseless upheaval prevents us from becoming too homesick. Back in the USA, our absence is deeply felt.
This Christmas season, as snow blankets the ground in Illinois and Minnesota, it feels like a fragile, tenuous time to be away. To comfort ourselves, we look at the photos and videos our families have emailed to us, thankful for the little bits of home they send our way.
We laugh, we smile, and we get a little welled up, mourning the loss of two years spent with the people we love.
I am fortunate to have four living grandparents, all mostly able to take care of themselves. As we've made our way around Europe and Asia on this one-year-trip-turned-two, there's been a quiet worry gnawing at the back of my mind: I hope they'll still be there when we get home. I love and miss each of them dearly.
A little further north in Minnesota, I have a chubby little nephew we've never even met who will be walking soon. I often wish our travels hadn't precluded our presence for my sister's pregnancy, and even more so, the first year and some months of her son Eli's life.
I also have four exuberant younger brothers and sisters who are shooting up like weeds without us there to witness the transformation. I miss our Thursday nights with them, and the buoyant mood they always left Tara and I with on our way home. I can't wait to start taking them on mini bike tours!
Though we are truly grateful for the freedom of the open road and adventures we've had, right now, our desire to be with friends and family is many, many times stronger than our urge to explore.
A pair of huge thank yous to both of our families, for always being supportive of us and our dreams. Merry Christmas, we love you!