A fellow traveler asked me recently how it was to be back in the states. “Pretty nice, actually,” I replied. The answer surprised even myself, but honestly it is very true. Our lives are SO much easier here. We live in a house with multiple bedrooms, a large kitchen, dining room, family room, sitting room, basement, front porch and a back yard. We have space to spread out, to let the kids play while we talk in the other room. We can do things after they go to bed.
Granted, we are guests, living with Matt’s dad and his fiancé, but they are about the easiest, most wonderful people to live with. They love our children and don’t seem to mind them climbing all over them occasionally and smearing yogurt on their upholstered dining chairs. The boys adore them and want to sit next to them at dinner rather than us.
It is truly wonderful being so close to family. Matt’s sister Katelyn lives right down the street so we watch her dog and she sometimes babysits for the boys. He has a few brothers in town, cousins, aunts and uncles, and his grandfather and great aunt. They all love seeing and getting to know the boys.
I am addicted to the espresso machine in the kitchen which turns out gourmet coffee every morning. I love the professional 6-burner stove and huge oven and I can bake and cook whatever I like. The grill on the back deck can turn out grilled pizzas like they are nothing. I don’t even have to make the dough because they sell it at the grocery store for a dollar. If we want to eat something special, there is a gourmet grocery store 5 minutes away, numerous markets, discount organic food stores, and ethnic grocery stores.
There is a fantastic bakery/coffee shop a short walk away, a great pizza place around the corner, and plenty of excellent restaurants to try. There are tons of great parks nearby and the kids usually speak English. There are art festivals and outdoor concerts and free nature centers for the kids.
We have a washing machine and dryer in the basement that we can use whenever we need to. There are two refrigerators. We don’t have to worry about whether we can drink the water, if we will have power, or where to dump our waste. There is AC whenever it is too hot, and a central heating system when it is too cold.
Life is really quite easy compared to traveling, where we must figure out everything every day. It’s easy compared to being in a country with different language, customs, and rules that are not always easy to navigate. It’s easy compared to the boat where sometimes just getting our daily needs met was challenging.
When I drive around town, I am inspired by the history and the potential for really cool projects. I can see myself and our family living in a place like this. The houses are affordable and there are opportunities everywhere. We are craving community and people and place. I wonder if we can really be happy here, among the big box stores and consumer culture. I’m not sure, but it does feel comfortable right now.
It’s easy to see why some people never leave. It’s easy to see how some people become complacent with their lives and never think to take themselves on an adventure. It might be why we have been given strange looks when we tell people about our travels. The look on their face says, “Why would you ever do that?” The idea is so far out of their reality that they can’t even begin to relate. So they change the subject.
I love my life of adventure and would never give it up entirely, but I have also come to really appreciate the easier things in life as well. So I’m going to enjoy the rest of my time here and soak up all the good food, culture, and family time I can. And in a few weeks when we head back down to the sailboat, I will be ready for more adventure!