After 19 months of travel through 24 countries across five continents we’re returning home to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Our flight is now booked for Wednesday, April 10th – a 24 hour travel day that starts mid-morning in Hanoi and ends in Ottawa just before midnight of the same day. If you have been keeping up with the blog and in particular some of the comments, this shouldn’t come as any big surprise. But many are wondering, what’s next for us. And some of our more dedicated readers are wondering what they are going to read with their Monday morning coffee once we come home.
You may recall that this odyssey all began when I questioned how I wanted to spend the next fifteen years of my life before retirement. I wrote all about it in the “Getting Ready” section so I won’t restate what has already been said. I asked myself the big question: What’s Next? I hoped that travel would broaden my horizons, open my heart and mind to new experiences, introduce me to new people from different cultures and walks of life and that somewhere along the way, I would find my answer.
I did find an answer when I walked the Camino de Santiago last June. The idea of returning to school and pursuing a new field (organizational psychology) is still very appealing to me, but in the months that have followed, I have entertained other possibilities as well. Chris and I could flip houses: buy fixer uppers, renovate them and sell them for a profit. We could own and operate a B&B or a small resort. Or we could start another type of business. We could do contract work in our field with 4-6 month travel stints in between contracts. It seems the possibilities are limited by our own imagination, and of course the amount of capital we have to get something up and running.
They say there are lots of opportunities to earn income online, although we haven’t quite figured that one out yet. After our short foray into online advertising with Google Adsense which ended in our embarrassing withdrawal from the program, we considered just putting a “donate” button on our website but thought that was just a bit too crass. On the other hand, while Chris’ photographs are selling around the world, they are not exactly flying off the shelf. Chris’ fantasy of sitting by a pool in an exotic location sipping fine champagne while the money rolled in hasn’t exactly been fulfilled. His income over the past six months ($12.81 CAD) won’t even buy a decent bottle of wine.
Right now, I don’t have an answer for what’s next. To be honest, I have been struggling with this for the past few months, feeling deeply disappointed that this adventure has not led to something new, has not brought clarity to my life path. If this was a Hollywood movie, there would be a tidy, inspiring ending to this story. But this is real life, my life, and the story isn’t over yet. Once I realized that, I accepted that the past year and a half has simply been another chapter in my life story, and the way in which it shapes my future remains to be seen. I can live with that.
For now, we have a six month housesitting job lined up so we have a place to live. Since our travel funds are dwindling we must find work in short order, not that either of us is too eager to go back to the cubicle world. But it is a necessary evil, so for the short term we will both look for a contract in our respective fields. We’ll need to find a place to live long term so house hunting will be a priority too.
Now you know all there is to know about our return to Canada. We still have three weeks of travel ahead of us and we plan to enjoy every minute of it and we hope you do too.