First Impressions on Returning Home

Man, it's good to be home.

We landed in Houston after what would normally be a grueling 12-hour flight from Tokyo's Narita airport.  But, luckily, I have a husband who is obsessed with (and incredibly talented at) travel hacking, so our 12-hour flight was spent lounging and eating in first class.  It was heavenly.

Still, we were exhausted.  The 14-hour difference meant we hadn't slept at all.

When we arrived in Houston, my first thought was, "Wow, we're big." 

Americans are LARGE.  We were surprised by how many big and tall people were in the airport and noted how many bigger people seemed to be wheeled around in wheelchairs.  After being in Japan the past few weeks, we hadn't seen that at all.  

I was also struck by the number of conversations I could suddenly understand.  

It's isolating to be in a foreign country and not speak the language, but it can be strangely peaceful too.  Your brain starts to tune out all of those ambient conversations in Thai or Cantonese or Khmer.  You feel like you're in a little bubble with just you and your travel partner.  But when we hit the Houston airport, suddenly all of those conversations among strangers hit me like a wave.  

I joked with Nate that I felt like Professor X in the X-men movies.  

So far, being back is strange and nice.  

The jet lag is real.  We were up for 36 hours and then unable to nap when we wanted to.  We've woken up before the sunrise both days, but it's nice to have the morning hours to sort through our things and try to get prepared for our move to Denver.

In going through our clothes, we're getting rid of even more stuff.  We sold everything before we left Chicago except for a car full of clothes and a few kitchen items.  Still, we're re-looking at our boxes and realizing that we kept things we no longer need.  

After a year of living out of a backpack, we're both interested in living small and only keeping things that are truly useful to us now (not in the past or possible future) or that we really love.  That means that 13th pair of socks or duplicated things like sports bras and flip flops are going to Goodwill.  I also got rid of a number of dresses that I'd bought for weddings but hardly ever wear now.  

It feels so much easier to get rid of things now than it was a year ago, probably because we've already gone without, so it no longer seems scary.

We've also been playing a lot with our dog, Lily, who was so happy to see us after being gone a full year.

My parents also got a new puppy while we were gone, so we've been soaking up the cuteness.

My parents' new puppy, Annie

My parents' new puppy, Annie

We also got our car back and drove for the first time in a long time.  It was strange to drive on the "right" side of the road again, and I had to keep reminding myself after turns to get in my correct lane.  

Right now neither of us feels really anxious, but the idea of running our own businesses still remains in the back of our minds.  I wonder if we'll be able to make any money.  I worry about instability.  

For now, we're just taking it day by day.  We're looking forward to seeing our people for the next few weeks and seeing in the coming months how this whole year of travel will have changed us.  

Stay tuned!