Let me start by saying thank you to everyone for your support and love on this trip. We have received so many kind words and support from friends, relatives and some people that we’ve never even met before. The most important part of this trip is that we all left the US healthy and we all return healthy. No broken body parts, no real bad illnesses, although Drew and Ilise were sick for a few weeks around our time in Turkey and Italy. We left family and friends behind for almost 6 months including our time in Israel, and no one back at home got sick or had anything challenging happen to them. We had discuss what would we do if we were half way around the world and something happened back at home? I’m so glad that we didn’t have to deal with any of those unwanted surprises.
We return to the US tomorrow after our last day in Paris visiting the Arc de Triumph and Monmartre. Drew was able to finish her 3rd section of 5 of her second semester in Geometry. She should be able to handle the rest of her studies after camp in the Catskills and back in San Diego. She has become a much better student on this trip, learning how to eliminate distraction and just get her work done. That should help her when she returns to school in September. Both Ilise and I have had opportunities to spend lots of time with our teenage kids that most parents just don’t. At this age most of our kids friends are spending so much time with each other that they don’t spend much time together as a family.
We left the US with the outline to a book called The Connected Family; A Guide to a Semester Abroad. Now, I don’t believe for a minute that we would win any awards for how connected we are, we do have two teenage children of different sexes going through puberty! But, we are so much more connected than when we left home and much more connected than we would have been if we didn’t go on this journey. We have had time with each of our children individually and together. We have switched around sleeping arrangements so we can listen to our children’s deepest thoughts and concerns about life and their future. I believe that both of our children have learned a ton about themselves, Drew wanting to travel the globe as she gets older and Noah never wanting to leave San Diego ever again.
Our day in Paris today was so fitting as our last day. We took the Metro to the Champs Elysees and spent some time at the Arc de Triumph. The ceremony for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was taking place right as we arrived and we got to see the marching band block traffic for a few minutes as they entered and crossed the busiest traffic circle in Paris. From there we walked down the Champs Elysees and then took the Metro to Monmartre to see the Sacré-Cœur and get a view of the city. We stopped at an Italian restaurant at the bottom of the hill and ordered some nice take-out so we could make a picnic on the hill. We had brought a bottle of wine with us so we asked the restaurant for plastic silverware and some cups. They did not have any disposable utensils but they did provide us with forks and a knife, along with two wine glasses as long as we promised to bring them back. I told the waiter that we would be on a plane tomorrow and didn’t need any extra silverware to bring with us.
We took the food up to the hill in front of the cathedral and enjoyed a really nice meal. We drank our wine, well half the bottle, and then stopped to take some pictures. The views of Paris were just awesome and we soaked it all in. There was a man with an electric guitar and microphone set up on the steps, kind of like karaoke, who was letting people come down and sing with him. The crowd was really enjoying themselves even though the quality of the singing wasn’t very good. We took a bunch of pictures, went back down the hill, returned the utensils and glasses to the restaurant and boarded a Metro back to our apartment for the last time. It was a very nice way to end our travels.
We have stayed in 26 different AirBnB apartments on this trip, visiting 12 different countries. We passed through hundreds and hundreds of small towns on our flights, drives and train rides through Australia, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. We met so many wonderful people and will carry all of these memories with us for the rest of our life. I believe our kids lives have been changed forever as well. It hasn’t always been easy with them, but it has been rewarding. We were told before we left that a trip like this will provide you with the best of times and the worst of times. Not sure we got the worst of times, but there were some really bumpy moments.
I look forward to continuing to blog every day when I return home, but the posts will not be filled with as many facts and experiences, I hope that they will be more thought provoking and help people see the world a bit differently than they do today. I believe the pictures of our travels will be replaced by sunset pictures from our new home. I can’t wait to spend some time just sitting on the new deck watching the sun go down. When we return it’s time for me to live my purpose, to live my life in harmony with my core values and have my work align with that. I have focused my life on doing what I was trained to do in order to make money for far too long, even though the work I did helped a lot of people, it wasn’t in alignment with my core being. It is time to change that and create a life for myself and the family that is in total alignment. We have so many wonderful people around us in San Diego and I look forward to seeing them all soon.
To a life well lived!