We are back. The overnight flight home from Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon to KL to Melbourne was long and sleepless. Billie and Dacey used Steve and me as pillows for most of the journey. But we are home.
Initial thoughts: weather – cold, surroundings – quiet, too quiet actually, so we’ve had to beep the car horn to feel okay (I’m sure we will overcome this habit!), people – where are all the people? It’s so sparse here, washing – yes back into it as well as cooking…aggghhhhh!!!
Our house now feels too big for the 6 of us. And unfortunately it’s back to routine – washing clothes, making dinner, getting to bed at a reasonable hour and setting the alarm for school, work and university. The kids slept in until 11am the following morning, and they wanted to go to school to catch up with their friends so a half day was perfect. Steve and I dropped them off and went for a coffee. We sat there thinking something was amiss – it was quiet. I said, ‘I think I miss the kids already.’ And as I said this tears just starting flowing down my cheeks.
We had initially thought being with the kids 24/7 was going to be a major challenge of ours, and we did have our moments and meltdowns in most of the cities we visited, but it was wonderful too. I really feel we had just got into the whole backpacking flow at the 4-week mark and then we had to come home. Next time…
So as we sat at the café together we made some commitments:
- To keep on backpacking as a family – the next sixbackpacks adventure is planned for 2014 to Mozambique where we will meet up with our English friends and discover other countries and people.
- To set up a program that continues to assist the orphanages/foundations/centres we visited in Vietnam (and new ones) with fundraising and awareness that connects businesses/communities who want to donate money directly with them.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – we have a new perspective on life, different priorities now from our life-changing journey that we want to keep at the forefront of our life now.
- To keep on posting on the sixbackpacks.com site – it’s been a real buzz for me to write for 5 weeks (perfect for a wanna-be writer) and I loved every moment on the blog. So it’s going to keep going! You can still follow the journey of the orphans/blind/disabled children in Vietnam right here and our own as we integrate back into a ‘normal’ life. So stay tuned.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has followed, read, commented on the sixbackpacks blog. I hope you enjoyed the journey and that I could bring the road less travelled to life to many of you. Now that time and internet connection is more on my side, my plan is to next post a final tally of the money we donated directly to the various organisations so you can get an idea of how the money made a difference and where more work back home can be done to help these people.
So as I get back to putting another load of washing on and trying to dry it in front of the fire in our Chinese-laundry-lounge-room, waiting for the 4 little peeps to get home from their first whole day back at school and hoping Steve gets away from work not too late…I think back to the moments that made me cry, laugh and shake my head in wonder (there were many of those!) and it all feels okay. Some horn tooting would be nice too, and did I mention how cold it is here?