As I have spoken about previously, this is a trip I always knew I would take someday - in some form or another. I knew this before, during and after I birthed both my boys. I believed that showing my children the world at a pivotal age would shape them. They would have an understanding of our global culture and be bigger than the bubble we often create to protect them. My hope was that by seeing poverty and suffering they would understand gratitude and charity. That by connecting them to their family tree abroad they would understand their roots and by doing so this would expand their horizons and their sense of place in the world. Big aspirations these, perhaps with a twist of idealism. But as soon as I made the decision to go forward with this dream, the world opened up. I feel I didn't so much as plan it myself ... as it planned me. Everything (or most things) just fell into place.
Another question I have been asked recently is "is there anything you would have done differently?" Well, yes. Lots. I would have made more time for volunteer work and perhaps not moved around so much. I would have established a far better and more organised way to homeschool the boys. I would have re-leant how to add and multiply fractions properly and just let it go when we all got too frustrated with it! I would have been more patient at airports and in the soaring heat. I would have not brought Indian clothes at the first place we saw. I would have locked our bags when we left our rooms. I would have taken more video and less pictures. I would have not kidded myself into thinking one can stay at a yoga ashram with two preteen boys and immerse oneself into a meaningful study of yoga. I would have brought Indian tapestries and hand woven rugs. I would have hiked more in Nepal. I would have stayed longer in some places and had less time in others. I would have insisted my husband meet me in the Nepalese Himalayas for our 15th wedding anniversary.... This list is exhaustive, but also exhausTING... so I will stop here. These are but small things and in the scope of it all ... I think everything flowed beautifully.
1. First and foremost of course ... without the uncompromised, loving and incredibly strong support of my husband, this journey would not have been possible. Not only did he willingly release his children into the care if their crazy mother, bent on a mission to venture into some of the poorest and potentially dangerous areas of the world, he was the rock of sanity and grounding while we were there. Skype has made our absence easier on us all, but for me his unconditional support came through his presence and his words.
I wont say that Paul has pined for us ... those that know him well know that he has enjoyed this time alone. (I am not sure though, when he would have found the time to miss us anyway, what with his trip to Portugal with his Dad, his jaunts at the cottage and all the renovations he has done while we have been gone! He has worked tirelessly. The boys return home to bedrooms of their own and I am to be treated to a newly refurbished kitchen! First world bliss. I must have done something right in a past carnation to deserve this man, this life. I am so grateful.) And I believe that every marriage needs a hiatus, even good ones, and I love the old saying "distance makes the heart grow fonder". It is true. I am not too shy to broadcast to the world how much I love this beautiful man.
2. To all our family and friends who embraced us so warmly and went out of their way to welcome the boys into the clan. My gratitude to each one if you is unending. We could not have wished for a better homecoming.
3. To YOU dear readers! It has been one of the highlights of this journey to share my thoughts, our experiences with you in words and pictures. I will miss this terribly but I know that I will continue to write in some form or another (is it too much to ask at this juncture for a travel publication to send me out on assignment?!)
Thank you for your generous words and kind comments. Thank you for taking the time to read and for sending me your thoughts, your own experiences and sharing with me personal accounts from your own lives. It has been humbling and incredibly rewarding for me to know how you have been touched by our journey. My greatest wish through all off these writings has been to inspire, to nuture dormant dreams and to convince you that anything is possible! Travel really is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer. My deepest gratitude, love and blessings to you all.
4. Lastly, I acknowledge the power of the universe, call it flow, spirit, the divine, God, whatever your word ... it is the energy that empowers us when we are on the right path... Our Own Path. Without being too cliche here ... there is immense power in dreams. So many of us have dreams we may not ever realise. But if you have one ... one that is burning in you, one that keeps you up nights, know that you CAN bring it to fruition. And when you do, your world will open up, a clear path will appear ... and you will be on your way. Trust, have courage and leave no place in your life for fear.