We met a Dutch guy in Thailand while heading to the airport for our final flights home; at first, he came on a little strong. He was a little too outgoing, heading to Australia for his 7th time to buy a camper van and work over the internet while travelling abroad at his leisure. Sounded pretty sweet; his reasons were that he loved Australia, he was sick with the boring lifestyle back home, he could avoid taxes, and he could work and play at the exact same time. Somewhere during the story Kristin and I both realized that ironically, we were starting to get excited about the exact things he was starting to detest; routine, home, friends and family, familiarity, rules and some sort of a system. We were excited about our lives getting back to NORMAL. We left him at the airport and we realized that although we were in different places in our lives, he was actually quite a swell guy. One thought stuck with me throughout the flight home however, and our time and Vancouver, and our first week back at home. At one point he said "what is NORMAL?" When he was bashing his home for the things that pushed him away, he kept mentioning "is it NORMAL to have twenty-four hour electricity, plan parties 14 days in advance, have hot water at the turn of a switch, spend $75 on a birthday present, drive everywhere we go, walk by friends' houses without stopping in, see family only twice a month, throw away a camera when a better one comes out, have 24 hour grocery stores, drive 2 hours a day to and from a job, exercise to lose weight, have a 'cereal isle' in a store, do your banking online, text someone instead of talking to them, throw out old clothes, eat fruit from the other side of the world, build houses that are way too big, or take a shower every day...?" And so I've been asking myself this question all week; is this life NORMAL? Or is where we have been for the past 8 months MORE NORMAL... places where people grow their own food, where they know everyone in their community and work together to get things done, where they walk or bus everywhere, where they don't miss good friends' birthdays because they have another commitment, where they do all their cleaning during the 4 hours of electricity in a day, where they stop what they're doing if a friend comes by, where a celebration lasts all day, where they go to a store because they like the owner, where they eat the same food everyday, where the children have as much responsibility as the adults, where refrigerators are used as shelves because there's no power, where family spends hours together just sitting and talking, where they live in rooms not houses, where business comes second and people come first...? Maybe this is actually NORMAL; maybe, after being in the places that we've been, we can try to make our NORMAL lives a little more NORMAL, by changing some of our habits to be more like the rest of the world.
And so, after being away for so long, we are very glad to be home, and are excited to get back to REGULAR LIFE, but of course, never forgetting what's NORMAL. Thank you for sharing our adventures with us. Can't wait to see you all,
Love K and C