For many an unbroken silence can be an awkward experience, but somehow the silence between Laura and I is not uncomfortable, nor is it uncommon. It’s an unspoken language that only the two of us seem to understand. A respect that even within the confined spaces of Faith, (a 5 door Ford Focus station wagon) we both understand each others space and the need to process the events of the past few days .
In some respects it almost feels like it was months ago that we both agreed to turn Faith around and head back to the great white north, but in reality it was less than 5 days ago. In that time we have crossed the Sea of Cortez , bid farewell to the unknown excitement that lay ahead of us in Mexico and further south into Central America and travelled almost 2,500 klms across the United States.
They have been big days, not only in driving terms, but also in events and in the inner sanctum of our very own minds.
There are many times in our lives that we are thrown a curve ball. When everything that you had planned out, doesn’t work out, or when dreams are turned upside down or simply ripped out from underneath you.
Apparently they call it life.
Over the last few days I would have liked to call it a number of things, but none of those should be repeated here on this blog.
But as the rolling green grass and trees of Illinois filter past my passenger side window, as have done the farming lands of Mexico, the desert landscapes of Arizona and New Mexico, the dust bowls of Texas and the ranch lands of Oklahoma and Missouri, my mind is beginning to wonder to the possibilities that lie ahead.
It is hard not to forget what has just gone on, nor to continue to question why, but something within enables us, or teaches us that life will continue. Or perhaps this is just a lesson that my Mum taught. I’m not sure.
What I do know is that I have witnessed my Mum and many others just like her, pick up the pieces when absolutely everything has felt lost. For me at least she did not let me see her dwell on the past, or question too much why. For I am sure that she did. I am not saying for a moment that what Laura and I, or at least I have been through is anything as great as the loss of your husband, your partner or the father of your children, what I am saying is that it is still a loss.
A loss of an unknown future, of unknown dreams. Of challenges that scare and excite you. When that is your whole world, and has been your whole world for a period of time, the grief process must still be worked through. And slowly, in our own ways I think this is what this return journey is all about.
For me the next step is to return home to Australian soil. To be with my family that I love so much and to concentrate on plan b.. Working for myself.
Plan A still exists.
It will always exist and remain entrenched in my heart. Now, however it will also grow. It will be developed further and refined by better knowledge and better understanding. It will be researched further and further and new adventures and challenges will be added.
One day, I’m not saying when, but it will become a reality.
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
I’m supposed to be working, but at the moment my mind cannot concentrate on superannuation or investment matters… or simply the calculation factors of an asset mix. Everything in my head is spinning. Not at snails pace, but at a frantic force that begs the question ‘Why?’.
Over and over in my head I keep playing scenario’s for how this could work out and how it can continue. But the truth of the matter is that it is not a decision that only I can make.
For the week and a bit now it has been since Laura first dislocated her kneecap, I have watched her hobble and struggle with the simple everyday things that we all take for granted.
Simple things like walking down the street, sitting down at the dinner table and even simply sitting in the car as we transverse through this amazing Mexican landscape. Each and every step that she takes. Each simple bend that she makes, each vibration of the car, as much as she tries to hide it, the pain is reflected on her face. And it’s not just the pain.
The pain is fought with the frustration that she feels at not being able to do these everyday things. Not being able to live the ‘dream of the big adventure’ as we officially nicknamed it when we first thought up this gigantic feat. A life of relaxing on the beach. Of undertaking activities as we felt like it. Of immersing ourselves in the culture of the countries that we visited. And most of all simply living life as we wish we could live it.
And somehow now we are at that crossroad. The crossroads of turning back. Of looking forward down a path that we thought would bring us both much happiness and enjoyment and of looking back on a road that we are both not willing to return to, but that we know, in reality, is the only choice.
How do you simply turn your back on a future that appears so close, within your grasp? But at the same time, how do you continue forward to a future that now has an uncertainty, not only personally and mentally, but also physically? A future that has the potential to become tainted and not all that we have dreamed about?
I learned the lesson young that you need to take care of number one. That you only have one life to live and that you need to make the most of every opportunity you get. And that’s where I’m at at the moment.
In my heart I know that Laura needs to rehabilitate her knee, not only for future travel purposes, but for life in general. Can she rehabilitate that on the road? Possibly yes. But at what point do you ask yourself if it is worth it? Do we spend time and money staying at a place in the hope that the rehabilitation only takes a couple of weeks? A month? And then at what point do we then return to this crossroad we are at now? It’s emotionally and physically draining to say the least.
It has not been a simple decision. Between the two of us we have talked through a million scenarios, and I’m sure that each of us have thought about a million more. Am I tempted to stay on and do it alone? Of course I am.. but that is not the point of this trip. It was a dream that we shared together and a dream that I hope, somewhere, someday, fate will allow us to fulfill…so for now we regroup, enjoy La Paz and plan our journey home.
If someone can have the Tequila, lemon’s and salt lined up when we get home… that would be great..
It’s a surreal feeling waking up and knowing that for the next unknown months of your life you will be waking up to your own time. Treading your own path.
What started as a dream in Veradero, Cuba yesterday become a reality and we are now living the life that so many others only dream about.
After packing our lives into Faith (very nicely too I might add), running a few last-minute errands and taking in a quick tour of Lake Ontario, we hit the road. Destination …… south!
Crossing ‘Rainbow Bridge’ at Niagara Falls, ON life continued for everyone else like it does day in, day out. Hundreds of visitors lined the viewing platforms on both sides of Niagara Falls, while others took a closer look from the water on the ‘Maid of the Mist’ boats as they closed in under the thundering falls. The mighty sound of falling water from both the US and Canadian falls carrying to the bridge were we sat idle enjoying their majestic beauty. Waiting to cross the US border.
With passports in hand we edged closer and closer, before finally being approved and allowed to enter the US.
Hello to our new lives.
Laura and Faith all packed and ready to roll
Local’s enjoying Lake Ontario
One of the Lake Ontario Light Houses
Views of Lake Ontario
Views of Lake Ontario
The View of Niagara Falls from Rainbow Bridge
A View From Rainbow Bridge
Overlooking Niagara Falls
Waiting patiently to enter the USA