Today, we leave Europe and head back to the United States. Our good friend Isa drove us to the airport, nicely bookending the trip since she picked us up back in January.
Checking in went smoothly (as everything does in Munich), and we were soon on the plane waiting to take off. Our flight was uneventful. And before we knew it and in some ways before we were ready, we were back.
It has been an incredible experience for all of us. It’s hard to put into concise terms the magnitude of the past six months for us individually and as a family. We visited 11 countries. Lydie and Cassie are 12 and have been to 12 countries, and I have my doubts that they will ever have age/country equivalence again. We slept in 27 different locations. We traveled by plane, by train, by bus, by boat, by car, and even once by tow truck. We drove nine different cars (on both sides of the road). We biked in five countries and rowed boats in three. We’ve been in oceans, lakes, rivers, pools, and streams. We’ve said “hello” and “thank you” in six languages. We’ve hiked up mountains, crawled inside caves, and strolled country lanes. We’ve explored big cities and small villages. We’ve seen more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than I can accurately count.
Perhaps the greatest testament to our trip came from Lydie and Cassie. When we arrived in Munich in January, the girls were sad, saying our trip was going to be too long. When we left, the sadness returned, but this time because our trip was too short.
We have been incredibly lucky to have such an experience. We said throughout our trip that it was the trip of a life time. But many people do not get such an opportunity. It’s the trip of a lifetime only for a small group of very lucky people. It wasn’t fancy, but it was extraordinary. I hope we keep with us the attitudes we cultivated on our many trips — openness to the unfamiliar, enthusiasm for the unknown, and contentedness with our fortunes. Maybe that will tide us over until our next trip.