When it’s time to change seasons (or, why our trip is almost over)

It’s hard to believe this trip of ours—this isn’t it over yet? trip—is actually over in three days. That’s less than a week. It’s insane we’re counting days and not weeks.

Working while traveling (ironically, even when said work is writing about said traveling) is hard. You’d think you could just go out and experience the day, then return home and write about it. I thought that before we left. But you realize you forget the other, everyday stuff you still have to do—like cook for your kids and help them with their school, plus do the other work that actually brings in income. That, plus trip planning and then doing the stuff you’ve planned, and you crash in to bed without room for another poignant thought. Rinse and repeat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been crazy grateful to do this. Enormously so. But it simply means not writing nearly as much as I’d planned.

We leave in two days back for the States—back to home, wherever that is. Our trip is officially over when we touch Oregon soil a little after midnight in the wee Thursday morning hours. And yet, I don’t think it will never really end.

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends. It is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.” -Pat Conroy

This trip has changed us. We can tell because we’ve been looking at houses to buy back in the States, and we feel differently about the sort of place where we should live in than before we started this thing.

Well, maybe not different, but definitely more confident in our convictions. More unwavering. More certain that we’ve been called to a certain kind of life, and to compromise it would mean frustration.

munich street

A number of you have wondered why the trip is ending “so soon.” As in, why we’re leaving without yet doing South or Central America. And yeah, it kills us that we’re not going to touch down in that part of the world right now.

The short answer is simply that it’s time for us to stop. We have other reasons outside of travel that speak more into our relational, professional, and emotional needs that have let us know we need to go ahead and stop our voyage in order to park somewhere and dig a few roots.

kids and the globe

However—and this is what’s given us confidence to go ahead and head home now—we have every reason to believe we’ll head out and explore that part of the world sooner than later. It could be two years from now, it could be two months. Not sure. But this trip has confirmed for us that travel will always be a major player in our family life, and to rest assured that those places that are calling our name will still be there when we’re ready.

(We have friends who, after their round-the-world trip, have decided to take shorter family trips every other year or so—a few months, tops, just to one part of the world at a time. We like that. We can see ourselves doing that.)

We love travel, but that doesn’t mean the best season for it continues right now.

We’ve known all this for several months now, but now that it’s almost here, we’re a little sad it’s at the end. Naming our end date has held our sanity, but now days shy of the goal, and we’re very aware how much this trip has changed us.

kyle in normandy

playground in strasbourg

We’re more than travelers. There are many sides of us, and it’s a good thing to give space so those other parts can breathe, create, fuel life into you. They all play together, of course, but sometimes there are seasons when certain parts of you need to take the front burner while other parts simmer in the near distance.

That’s where we’re at right now. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Who knows, I could be writing another post in a few month’s time, announcing that we’re headed back out again; that it turns out we’re more location-independent than we thought. I don’t think so, though. We need both roots and wings, and we can feel the need to give our roots lots of good soil and sunshine.

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends. It is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.” -Pat Conroy

If you’ve ever felt like you have multiple sides of you that feel contradictory, I don’t think you’re alone. I’ve talked to quite a few people all over the world over this year who’ve said they both love travel and love being a homebody, and I count myself among them.

It’s perfectly okay to let the different sides of you get more attention, more nourishment for a season. It’s more than okay, in fact.

If there’s a part of you on the back burner that’s itching, why not consider giving it a little scratch? If you’ve held off practicing some art in the name of practicality, perhaps consider carving some space in your life to explore it soon, just for fun?

It might feel a bit impractical, or even contradictory to the side of you that gets the most airtime, but maybe that’s something that’s been missing in your life. Or maybe you need to hang up your smock or gardening gloves or cake piping tools or passport, and roll up your sleeves and dig in the dirt of everyday life for awhile. There are seasons for that, too. That’s where we are.

blue bike in strasbourg

Give the many sides of you room to create, and don’t apologize when something needs to take the backseat for a season. We’ve been traveling for many months now—and now it’s time for us to stay put somewhere. It’s just time.

Our backpacks will soon go on a shelf in our closets. But they’re not getting tossed in a box in the attic. They’re gonna play again soon.

Reading Time:

4 minutes

 

 

 

26 Comments

  1. Megan Tietz

    Tsh, thank you for this update! I’ve been hoping you would be able to share a little more about ending your trip. I think you guys are so, so wise to be sensitive to the needs of the family and respond to that instead of gritting your teeth and soldiering ahead. I am SO looking forward to seeing how the next chapter plays out. It has been a joy to follow along this journey with you!

  2. Sarah Park

    We’re so excited to have you back in the States! Safe travels!!

    I love hearing about how the travel has changed your perspective and your priorities, Tsh.

  3. Maggie

    Whenever there’s a big life change or decision point, I always hope and pray that I will know what feels right. That I won’t forever wonder if I should do this or that. I’m glad to hear that you have clarity around the need/desire to return. It helps to know that one thing, even if the rest is tbd.

  4. Margie

    I will miss the end of the stream of beautiful photographs of faraway places in my instagram feed, but glad to hear you are honoring the needs of your family. The trip is in no way diminished by not hitting the round numbers of seven continents and 365 days. Thanks for taking us along with you!

  5. Janmary, N Ireland

    Safe travels home.

    I have loved following your adventures, thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    If you feel like visiting Ireland some stage in the future get in touch!

  6. Katie

    Tsh,
    I totally get your need to come back and settle down for a bit. Kudos to you for having the courage to do what you and your family needs instead of just digging in your heels to finish the year so you can say you did the entire 365. We lived abroad last year with ages 9, 5, and 2 and experienced how differently travel needs to look with children rather than only two adults. SO MUCH of what you have written about the realities of everyday life in even the most exotic places rings true. I’ve been encouraged to know that I’m not alone. Thank you for your honesty and courage!

  7. Katie

    Oh, I also wanted to ask where the playground picture was taken. It looks so familiar:) One of the best parts of our trip to the UK and Europe was the extra fun and different playgrounds! (When people ask about the highlights of our stay in fancy London I think they’re rather surprised to hear us say the parks and playgrounds.) They were beautifully landscaped and made of natural materials and much more risky.

    • Lisabeth

      It looks like Munich, to me. A lot of the other pictures she took for this post were Munich/Bavaria…so I’m going with that. Hoping she answers where, exactly– we’re in Munich and always looking for nice playgrounds.

  8. Jillian

    Tsh I am so proud of you and your beautiful family. I have been following your journey from my Brooklyn Apartment and beyond. My husband and I can relate to your great adventure given that we too are full time touring musicians. When we are not here in Brooklyn we are out in the world performing from Portland to Paris in out band The Bergamot. Anyways, you are an inspiration and I am so happy you are here. Keep enjoying the small moments, though somehow in my heart I know you will.

    Shine ON
    Jillian

    http://www.thebergamot.com

  9. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    We haven’t travelled as much as you- but we have travelled and moved enough to realize that HOME = FAMILY

  10. Erin Lehman

    So many times while reading your blog of listening to a podcast, I think “I totally GET Tsh.” I love your transparency!

    It has been a pleasure to follow along on your travels, and it will be a pleasure to follow along as you spread those roots and take time to nourish.

    May God bless you, Kyle, and the kids as you do the next thing!

  11. Erin Lehman

    OR listening to a podcast. **^^

  12. Guest

    It shows wisdom that you’re listening to the small voice telling you it’s time to stop. It is easy to get caught up in the “but this is the plan” or “but this is what people expect” and much harder to be true to who you are and what you need. You’re modeling a very wise and necessary lesson for all of us whether we’re single, married with kids, divorced, retired…that tension doesn’t really end.

    Looking forward to hearing more about what’s next and what you’ve learned.

  13. julie

    May your roots reach deep and provide strength and respite.

  14. kariane

    To everything there is a season, and knowing when it’s time for one season to end and another to begin shows wisdom. Seasons cycle around every year, why not have our lives play out in different aspects at different times? Enjoy your new adventure!

  15. Linda Sand

    I am SO looking forward to seeing what type of housing you choose and what you make of it. Welcome home.

  16. Victoria @SimplifiedLife.net

    Tsh,
    This is such a great encouragement to me right now and helps me put a few things in perspective for our present life and situation. We are in the middle of a major change and relocation of our family. During the transition (from one house to another) we plan to live in our RV and travel this summer, returning to get more settled in the fall – and yet I feel at odds inside myself sometimes – because as you said, I love to travel but I love being home too. (Which makes the fact that we don’t really have a home right now that much harder) Coming to peace with that is harder than I thought.
    Looking forward to hearing your continued journey as you plant a few roots in this new season. Blessings!

  17. Bri McKoy

    Tsh! It has been such a gift to follow this journey you and your family are on. And this statement in your post, “We need both roots and wings…” I am putting that up in my house because YES! Praying you all home safely! Big love to you!

  18. Leslie

    I like the idea of changing seasons. There is a lot of wisdom in listening to the changing seasons and doing what is right for you.

    I recently wrote a post on my little blog after meditating on the different seasons of my life. I have been angsty about how having children makes it difficult for me to volunteer to help those who are less-fortunate, especially when as a Christian, Holy Scripture tells me that I will be judged based on performing corporal works of mercy (Matthew 25). I think I have come to peace with this season. It is important to listen to yourself and it seems that is exactly what you did.
    https://americanmominmainz.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/i-used-to-think-my-kids-stopped-me-from-serving-those-in-need/

  19. Sandy

    I appreciate your willingness to say you need to come home. My husband and I are retired and have been on a constant treadmill of planning the next adventure. We have the need to escape harsh midwestern winters and also the need to not sit and rot but have adventure and exploration and mountain hiking in our lives. But after a year and a half of always being on the road or at home but scheduling and planning the next trip we are taking a step back this year and knowing that we miss having roots and a home base and not always be working toward getting away. I can only imagine that it feels even more so with children.

  20. Caroline Starr Rose

    I’ve been meaning to tell you how insightful your posts have been these last few months. Perhaps it has been challenging to live and then immediately process here, but what you’ve given us has been rich food for thought. I hope once you are deep into drafting your book, you’ll find ease and rhythm in putting ideas and experiences together.

    Here’s to whatever’s next. I know you’ll handle it with grace.

  21. Bethann

    So sad to see your worldwide travels ending but so excited to see and read once y’all are settled and speak to what has changed you as a result of your travels. Love the Conroy quote and the idea that parts of ourselves are contradictory.

  22. Marla Taviano

    Sending love & hugs & prayers from Cambodia.

  23. Dana at Happy Little Lovelies

    So it’s about 1:23am Thurs on the west coast right now and since I’m on the east coast feeding a newborn, I just wanted to jump in and say WELCOME BACK!!! It was a joy to follow your travels and it’s a joy to follow you here. Prayers for peace, adjustment and clarity with each new step. Congrats on a fantastic adventure had and more to come. Now get some rest. 🙂

  24. Hillary

    Thank you for your honesty and insight. I can’t wait to learn more about your choices and family direction now that you’re back.

  25. Bethany

    Completely understand this.

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