So much can happen in a year.
A year ago to the day our family left our home of South Korea on a trip that would take us over 90 thousand kilometers and 6 continents over nearly 10 months. It seems like a decade ago that we stepped out the door on that day on June 16th 2019, and all the experiences we had along the way seem like they happened in a different lifetime. Maybe even to different people.
Traveling changes you. Through it and through the people you meet, one gains a heightened sense of awareness, adaptability and tolerance of a larger world. Through international education, Lisa and I have been on an overseas trip for nearly 20 years now, but for our daughter Ava, the trip was a great ‘leveler’ and brought her a new found sense of humility which is great for the budding teenager. For us as a family though, we have not seen a vision or had an epiphany that brought us Nirvana or a moment of enlightenment. Keillor was right: “In the end, there are no answers. Only stories.”
It’s in these stories that our travels live on. “Remember when..” is a common starter one of us will lead with, out of the blue, as the others join in and reminisce with growing smiles. Dinner time conversations are accompanied with more grist and I can die happy knowing we lived a year of our lives to the fullest and didn’t let it slip by the wayside of complacency or fall victim to the rigamarole of life’s routines.
Our daughter’s learning continues. Since finishing 4th grade, Ava has taken a keen interest in music and despite completing her yearly curriculum, has started songwriting and recording for fun. She enrolled in a ‘School of Rock’ class that meets twice a week with a private teacher for one session and a group jam session for the other. She is currently learning ‘The White Stripes’, 1-4-5 music theory and has an upcoming master class with a Led Zeppelin theme. She has some open mic video sessions coming up and despite her surfer/snowboarder father offering to play accompanying guitar to her singing, I apparently present a high risk of embarrassing her. A budding teenager she is definitely turning out to be.
Thank you to all of our friends and readers around the world. To our readers: thanks for all your commentary and to all our friends who put us up at their houses and apartments: we can’t begin to thank you enough for your hospitality and friendship. In a time where the world seems increasingly divided between ‘us’ and ‘them’ political factions and growing movements like ‘Black Lives Matter’, the bonds of love that we strengthened with friends (new and old) remind us that there is good in the world. Still, we have much more work to do for the causes of justice, equality and tolerance. The need for education has never been higher.
I think back to when we first conceived of a living a year abroad and what an insurmountable task planning such a trip would have been. The challenges of health care, storage, our pets, let alone designing a curriculum and saving for such an endeavor seemed next to impossible. But, over the course of 4 years we outlined, researched, prepared, saved and we went. While we were at it, Lisa suggested I write about the experience.
So I started a blog, and I did.