Well, as quite a few of you already know, I may have told a little fib.
Instead of what I said down there, what actually happened is that a few weeks ago Courtney let me know that Sonja had hurt her leg while playing. She took her to the vet and the vet said that most likely she had a ruptured CCL in her knee and would require massively expensive surgery to regain use of her rear left leg.
After that was all confirmed, I decided I had best come home. The surgery was supposedly around $3,000 and that would eat up the last of my travel funds. I still needed a plane ticket home and I needed to not be broke when I landed. So, a few days before I left Tokyo I bought a plane ticket home and decided to continue down to Kyoto for a few days and then head home.
The rest is basically as written down there except that on Tuesday, instead of staying in Kyoto I took the shinkansen back up to Tokyo, took the Narita Express to the airport, sat and waited for a long time and then flew to LA. There I had another large layover, flew to Denver, found out my flight to KC was canceled, laid around for 5 or 6 more hours and then finally flew home.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I worked on getting life started back up. Turn on phone, get car, find clothes, that sort of thing. Courtney had planned dinner with Adam and Jo for Friday night (without them knowing I was to be here) and that is where the Big News thing came in.
See, when I first posted that I had Big News my intention was to tell you all I was coming home. Then Courtney told me she had already planned dinner with Adam and Jo and that it would be fun to surprise people. So I had to come up with a different story about the Big News 🙂
Friday night was fun. Courtney met Adam and Jo, Clint and Colleen at Old Chicago at 7:00pm and then I drove over separate at 7:30pm. I parked at Walmart and snuck into Old Chicago and made it all the way up to their table before anyone recognized me. I hopped into a seat and said “Hi!” and it was awesome. Nobody even said anything for a solid 10 seconds and then everyone was just totally shocked. It was great.
Saturday Courtney asked Lake to stop by to pick up a present I had sent to him and I got to surprise him too. We all went out and had some yummy lunch at BDs and caught up a bit.
And here I am! The big adventure is over and I am settling back into normal life. All told, I was gone for about 1.5 months and only made it to three countries and two continents. Much shorter than I had planned but I had a wonderful time and learned a ton. I am not sure if I’ll go back to Australia but I definitely want to go back and spend a lot more time in Japan.
I learned that I suck at living on a budget, but I got better by the end. I learned that my dream of “dropping out” isn’t going to happen if I leave dogs, friends and a girlfriend behind. Not to mention hundreds of dollars in monthly bills.
I learned how to enjoy being hungry, and how to not overeat, which is serving me well now that I am back. I learned that I need a lot less stuff to get by, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to have a bunch of stuff. I’m not saying that money buys happiness but I will readily admit I missed my toys.
Most importantly, I think, I learned that traveling the way I did is not a vacation. It looks and smells like it, but the novelty of not working quickly wears off and so does going “sightseeing” every day. I think that in the future I will enjoy traveling more in shorter bursts with a healthy dose of normal life inbetween to remind me why I went away in the first place.
So that’s that! I am back!