We're staving off the wanderlust as long a possible.
Today marks the one year anniversary of my last day at work before we set out on our crazy trip around the world. We didn't succeed in getting to all the places we wanted, but we saw some amazing things through South America, Antarctica, and Europe. Our last post 'The End' posted nearly 4 months ago, I said that we'd have future updates. While this post technically counts, it isn't quite what we were expecting.
We found it difficult to work up the motivation to work through those last 1,500 or so pictures. We got caught up in scheduling flights and attempting to squeeze the most out of our remaining time. Then there was re-entry into the US and the culture shock that it entailed. While Jordan seemed to handle things well, I had a meltdown when she came home with a box of clothing. It was too much, I said. It turned out to be not nearly enough.
We spent some time re-acclimating, Jordan studied for her Washington state pharmacy exam, and I began the arduous process of blindly applying for jobs in Seattle and surrounding areas. An opportunity came up to work in downtown Chicago for my old boss (at a different company) and we went for it. We've now got a beautiful apartment with a view of the lake and I've just finished my second week of work.
In hindsight now, Chicago was the right choice for us. It would have been very stressful to move to a new city without any jobs or contacts. We didn't own anything and therefore had to buy everything. We spent the first night in Chicago sleeping on the floor since we didn't have a mattress. What ensued was a buying spree of epic proportions: a couch, chair, bed, mattress, dining table, chairs, desk, nearly 180 hangers, and other various and sundry household items. The hemorrhaging of money has finally ceased and I was paid yesterday for the first time in nearly a year.
We've just finished up our pictures, you'll find links to the flickr sets below. I'm actually quite proud of some of the photos towards the end of the trip. Turns out, if you shoot nearly 29,000 photos in 8 months, you improve.
Some numbers for you: We spent a total of 241 days on the road. We visited 13 countries (14 for me with Japan), an average of 19 days per country. We completely missed our goal of $80/day, ringing in around $165/day. This is a little misleading though, as it includes Antarctica and our flights home. Without Antarctica, it was a much more reasonable $92/day. I'm confident that if we'd spent a long time in South East Asia we could have driven the average without Antarctica back down to our $80/day goal. We were picky about the photos we kept - 5,811 (or 20%), of the the 29,000 number above.
Thanks to everyone for following along. We'll try to post a few times per year, as we did before the trip.
P.S. Here are flickr links for the sets we haven't shared via the blog. A special treat, we started taking pictures of people taking pictures with iPads (called "iPadography").
We're coming home on the 16th, that's right, in less than two days we're headed for the USA.
This has been a while coming, I'll explain a bit, but first, I'm sure you have questions, I'll try to preempt them.
Question: Is something wrong?
Answer: Nope. It is just time for us to come home, see explanation below.
Q: Has Jordan got the preggers?
A: No progeny are forthcoming.
Q: Did you run out of money?
A: Nope, we still have over 30% of our budgeted cash left (even after buying plane tickets home).
Q: Don't you want to visit [insert country name here]?
A: Probably (unless of course the country is Cananda, who wants to visit Canada?), but not right now.
Jordan has had lost some of the luster for travel since we've been on the road so long. Turns out, traveling for longer than 8 months isn't for everyone. We're both still very excited to see more of France, England, Ireland, Russia, India, China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Australia, .... the list could go on and on. However, we need some time at home, some 'normal' time, before we see more. Not to mention, now that we're better traveled in South America than in the US, we need to do some serious travel in our own country.
In reality, I'm pretty certain we'll never do it quite like we did it this time again. We'll probably keep our house and travel for a few months at a time. To start with, we'll be traveling only a few weeks at a time. This isn't to say that we feel like it was a mistake, in fact, it was absolutely the right thing to do, but we'll do it differently in the future.
We had an amazing time while on the road, our time learning Spanish in Ecuador, hiking in El Chalten, eating ice cream in Bariloche, visiting Machu Pichu, seeing hundreds of Macaws in the Bolivian rainforest, taking a cooking class in Florence, and visiting the Harry Potter set in London were all amazing experience we wouldn't trade for anything. There are countless experiences that we'll remember forever.
We're currently making preparation to return home. Jordan is flying to Florida to visit her mom and I'm headed to Japan to squeeze just a bit more travel in. We'll both be back in Zanesville by the 23rd of January. We're looking to move to the west coast, specifically, Seattle. We'll be job hunting (tell us if you know of anything interesting).
Thanks to everyone for following along with us as we've blindly found our way through this amazing experience. It has been a ton of fun sharing the experiences with everyone. We'll probably have a few more trip related posts coming, but Jordan and I will be very busy with re-establishing ourselves as well.
 Dear Canadian Reader, this is known as sarcasm, who wouldn't want to visit the icy cold tundra of a country that you call home?