In the beginning we said ‘be it a day, a month, 6 months, a year … it only matters that we begin the journey’.
Yesterday it didn’t seem that easy to believe that they were our own words.. Yesterday was a huge day…. in every sense of the word…. and both of us are still trying to come to terms with a decision we would rather not have had to make. but alas it is what it is.
In different parts of the hostel here in La Paz, and in our own thoughts.. we are slowly coming to terms with the decision that we have had to make. Rather than re-write history.. our thoughts are below.. raw, un-edited, un-cut.
Today has been one of the hardest days of this whole journey. Not because something bad happened, but because I realised I need to look after my body. Today, I decided I need to return to home, be that Canada or Australia. It’s been over a week since I dislocated my patella and I am still having a lot of difficulty getting around. After a couple of attempts by my ever supportive travel companion Janine, to try to get this knee more stable and functional, I have realised this is not going to be a quick or short term problem. Having had this injury before, although not this severe, I know how unstable a knee remains if it is not properly rehabilitated.
Although knowing this deep down for a couple of days now, I have tried my hardest to convince myself I could continue. We have discussed at length our options, including ways to remain on our journey, but I feel I am not doing myself or this trip any justice by continuing.
This morning, despite knowing the answer, I did some research online (I know, not the smartest thing) in an attempt to find some answers that were contrary to my knowledge. The reality is, 2-4 weeks of healing time, followed by 3-5 months of rehab to get my knee as close to fully functioning as I can. For those of you who travel, you know how long a day or a week on the road can feel, let alone when you are not able to leave your accommodation for longer than an hour or two at a time. Even though I know each day will get easier the thought of not being able to enjoy the activities we had planned due to my physical limitations for months is devastating.
For us, this trip was about pushing our boundaries and pushing ourselves individually to achieve more than we ever thought we could, both physically and mentally. This was never designed to be an easy, relaxing trip but rather a challenging one. It is possible for us to switch gears and change things up to accommodate me but I feel as though we would both be missing out on what we truly wish to see and do.
Personally, I am also very concerned about the long term impact of not dealing with this correctly. For those of you who know me, you know I have trouble with both knees from similar injuries as a teenager and that walking for any length of time irritates them. You also know that when I get tired, I tend to limp as a result. I can not afford for my knees to become any more unstable or painful on a chronic level than what I already deal with.
I have therefore decided the best decision for me, and my body long term, is to return home and go through the process of appropriate rehabilitation. I am not saying this is the end, and I am trying hard not to see it as giving up. I prefer to look at it as a ‘not now’ rather than a ‘not ever’. Who knows what the next few months will hold for us both, but we are certainly keeping the door open to continue to travel together in the coming months. Whether that is in the same way or whether we decide to change it up will depend on how both out lives play out.
For me, seeing and knowing the impact this has on Janine and her dream is harder than the impact on my own dreams. So much planning has gone in to us starting this journey, that to rip that out from under her is one of the hardest things to do. Janine, I am truly so sorry for everything that happened that has led us to this point. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything, and I mean everything, you have done to support and look after me. Without you I am scared to think where I would be or how I would have gotten through this. You are so important to me and I value you so much for the remarkable person that you are. Thank you for being my friend xo
As we hurtle on down the road in western Arizona, the sandy, cactus ridden plains around us and the mountains looming in the distance, there is plenty of time to reflect.
Three weeks ago we were both at home in Australia, our emotions were high as we prepared to leave our families for the unknown of what lay ahead. It was a difficult and painful time for us both, made worse by the uncertainty of when we would be returning.
Landing in our respective Canadian ‘homes’ the internal turmoil continued, for me at least. It’s a gut wrenching and terrifying feeling to leave behind two families and lives in two countries and all the potential both can bring to my future. How lucky I am to be able to feel at home in two completely separate locations and have the love and support of multitudes of people, some blood and some bond. Neither are easy to leave, you are constantly in my thoughts and I miss you all daily.
Two weeks ago, I left St Catharines uncertain of my decision to leave but determined to at least begin this journey. One day, one week, one month or one year. The length is irrelevant, we started and that’s all that really matters.
We crossed into the US and began driving south as we started to live the dream. We have averaged about 8hrs of driving a day, with the exception of the days we spent in Florida and the Bahamas. We will soon reach San Diego, California having driven the entire length of the US from North to South and then East to West.
As the landscape around us has changed from the late winter barren of St Catharines, to the beautiful blossoms and buds of spring, down into the full foliage and greenery of Florida, the wet terrain of Louisiana, to now the dry desert of Arizona, so too have our hearts and heads.
Slowly as the days and miles roll on, thoughts and feelings are processed over hours of silent reflection, the road and ever-changing landscape a reminder of the incredible opportunity we have created for ourselves.
Janine and I are wonderful travel companions, both comfortable in our own minds and lost in our own thoughts. Singing poorly, but regularly, as the iPhone shuffles my music collection, we find conversation is minimal but frequented by laughter.
Thank you all once again for sharing this journey with us and supporting us from afar. Your love and encouragement is appreciated and carries us through the good times and the hard. We love you xo