We had one more bus ride to the airport and one more looooong flight, but this time without the anticipation of all the adventures ahead of us. We were downright bummed, to be honest. We were sorry our journey was over, and we both agreed we could have traveled much, much longer. During the last few days of our trip, we took some measures to ensure a positive entry into normal life again.
One measure we took was we made a list of the “bests” of the trip. We also made a list of what we had missed on the trip and would be glad to have back again. Finally, we made a list of statistics from our Fitbits. All of these lists will be published shortly, but I chose not to include them in this article.
Another measure we took was we tried hard to follow our friend’s advice about avoiding jet lag: Set your watch to the new time and then behave accordingly. The night before, we didn’t have dinner until 10, and then we tried to stay up as late as possible so we would be tired on the plane. When we got on the plane, it was noon. But it was 4 in the morning at home. So off to sleep we went. We tried to stay settled until eight or nine before we started wiggling around. We ate the food United Airlines offered and pretended it was breakfast and lunch, rather than lunch and snack. We watched movies. I worked on my blog. When we landed, it was 2:30. But it was 10:30 at night where we had been for the last 53 days. Because we had chosen to sleep in “the middle of the afternoon,” we were able to have a decent meal and conversation with our kids, drive home, unwind a little, and go to bed at 10:00 p.m., which would have been 6 the next morning in London. Our schedule is still a bit off, but for the most part, we made it! We transitioned to Mountain Daylight Time in not much longer than the time it took to get home!
It turned out that, all our measures aside, we were glad to be home. It first hit us when our kids picked us up. It was so great to see someone who noticed we were there and were glad to see us, although that DID happen in a few places when we met friends or family on the trip. We realized that we had missed it being a regular occurrence. When we saw our familiar mountains, it hit us again. When Bill took over the driving after a nice meal with Savanna and Jason, he was relieved that driving felt natural again. When we started heading up the canyon toward home, our anticipation grew. Suddenly, we felt the urge to take a selfie, so we stopped for the first time in our lives at the little Estes Park sign on the side of the road. We hopped out and took our picture, excited that we were about to enter our home town again. When we saw Lake Estes, we had to stop and take another picture. And another when we caught the first glimpse of our home. Finally, we had to take a picture of our feet on the welcome home mat and one more selfie on our deck in approximately the same pose we took when we left, backpacks and all.
When all the ritual was through, we were finally able to settle in at home. We were glad to have taken this once in a lifetime adventure, but it turned out we were just as glad to be home. It has taken us a couple of days to unpack, wash, and throw the clothes away that we had completely worn out wearing them over and over again. We still have a few things laying around that we need to put away.
But there’s no time for that. Our daughter Jacinda is coming over in a couple of hours. We will have a heartfelt reunion, and then we’ll settle down to the most pressing matter at hand: Her wedding to her high school sweetheart, Kegan, is on August 18th, less than a month from today. We haven’t any more time to reminisce. We’ve got a wedding to plan!