Back to Reality

After 238 days of travel, my wife and I and our 4 girls are back safe and sound in the United States!  It’s been a fantastic journey, but I must admit that there is a welcome sense of comfort in being back in a place like Chicago where the daily routine that we call life is more predictable than it’s been for quite some time.

Walking The Bund in Shanghai, our final city

I guess I should apologize for not being more diligent about blogging lately.  And I have no one to blame but myself for failing to write these last several weeks (although China’s restriction on WordPress does have a way of making you lazier as a writer).  Now that I’m back, I’ll start posting some of our Vietnam and China travels and will update some photos from the last few months we spent in Asia.

My thoughts after 8 months of travelling with my family…

The world is such a big place that I was both humbled and in awe as our travels went on.  The more places I saw with my family, the smaller I started to feel (especially in China where among masses of people I felt about as insignificant as a grain of sand on an endless beach).  And while getting to know new places and different cultures truly expanded my appreciation for the world that is out there, it also had a way of forcing me to reflect on my inward relationship with the ones who are closest to me.

A quiet moment together with Vivian

I spent essentially every hour of the day and night with my wife and four girls these past eight months.  There were no date nights or babysitters to give us a break from being together as a family with all the responsibilities and expectations that go with it.  I won’t pretend that every minute was a vacation for either Vivian or myself (or the kids for that matter), but there were surprisingly few moments when I felt like I needed to run off and find me a man cave to hang out (hide) in.

Mostly, the trip provided immensely satisfying moments to be with my four girls and actually see them grow.  I got to teach Josephine over a few weeks how to swim on her own.  I watched Emilia dive into snorkeling with an enthusiasm that was surprising for her usual reservations when it comes to sports.  I got to see much more of Audrey’s love for dancing and singing, as well as her intense interest in animals.  And I got to see Lillian embrace our journey and become the young lady that she now is.  And I can’t leave out that the trip gave me a renewed appreciation for how important it is to have a great partner in life whose energy, enthusiasm and sense of balance helped make the experience far more enjoyable and successful than would have been possible simply by doubling my own efforts.  It was a fantastic journey!

Josephine’s and Papa’s swim lessons

“I want to learn to snorkel” – Emilia

Audrey’s new friend

Lillian growing to be as beautiful as her Mama

Somehow these things have a way of passing you by when you’re in an office 9-5.  You see the results, but you don’t really get to see and appreciate the evolution as it’s happening.  This alone makes me want to pack up the bags, escape the reality of working, and head right back out into the world with my family.  And so for my kids, I hope that they’ve gained a greater sense of how big and different the world is and that they have a taste of the travel bug that they’ll remember for when they are a bit older.  And for Vivian and I, I hope that if and when any of our children decide to see the many places that we wanted to see but did not on this trip, that they’ll ask Mama and Papa if we want to take a break from reality of life at home and come along for the journey too!

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