We did it! Three months in an unfamiliar country, opening ourselves to the ups and downs of traveling, new experiences, and so many adventures. As we watch our kids on the plane right now, we see how much they have grown – not so much in size (though Obie is really getting up there – watch out, Bubbie!), but in their ability to navigate the world with sensitivity and confidence.
We spent the last few days in Bangkok, a city I wish I could have explored more. After the privilege of ‘slow travel,’ the action-packed, fit-everything-into-a-day style of travel feels superficial and jarring. We did have some lovely moments – from the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, to climbing up the Wat Saket steps at sunset, to getting soaked at the Icon Siam light show, to wandering the back alleys of the amulet market, to our canal trip through the khlongs, to our final fancy dinner in celebration of this transition [other things I could have done without, namely Safari World, with its unbelievably questionable everything, from animal to cultural ethics].
So here’s our calendar from the last three months! Many of you have admired Chris’ calendar handiwork (both in Vancouver and now in our travels). It has been a grounding vessel for the kids who do not have the ritual of everyday routine to settle their nervous systems, and it provides an awesome log of our trip.
I write this en route to the Maldives where we will take a one-week Hanukkah/Xmas break. Our hope here is to soak up island life (all), go to camp (kids), and get a bit of a break from 24/7 parenting, decision-making, and cultural navigation with a family of five (Chris/me).
I would say overall we are somewhat unsettled, wondering if we have the appetite and resilience for another three-month journey in Vietnam – starting all over again with language, food, and cultural practices, and the so-many decisions that one has to make in onboarding to a new locale. We are excited and trepidatious. We are reflecting on our time in Chiang Mai and wondering what we would like to replicate from those three months and how we might want to experiment with other ways of being/doing.
When planning this trip, Chris and I forecasted that this may indeed be the hardest part of the journey. We are not quite halfway, starting anew in a place so foreign, with the adrenaline of novelty behind us. We will see how this next leg goes. But for now, we will dial into the present moment and bask in a decision-less palate cleanser of pina coladas and ‘international’ buffet dinners.