Blogger’s note: I wrote most of this on our flights back to the United States. We’ve been back for about a week so stay tuned for our most current update coming later today!
I’m on our first flight heading from Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam to Japan. It’s a five hour flight, and then we have another 12-13 hour flight from Japan to Chicago. The only solace I have is that this is our last long haul flight for a long time. After spending most of the last 3.5 years overseas- mostly in Asia, we’re coming home for good. I have so much more to share about our time in Vietnam and our vacation in Cambodia and Thailand, but I had a special request to also blog about this transition time for our family, so here it goes!
For those unfamiliar with our unique situation, here’s a little background: My husband accepted a job where we lived in Chicago for two years, and then started traveling full time. That meant we moved out of our rented townhouse, put all of our belongings in a storage unit, and lived out of a few suitcases. We got rid of our cars and extra possessions. Due to our basically giving our fate over to the company for years, they provided hotel, transportation, a food stipend, laundry and gas money- basically everything we needed except clothing. We were assigned to projects all over the world, with a few weeks to a few days notice before leaving. Before traveling, I was an obsessive planner. I liked to have everything planned out weeks in advance and hated when plans were derailed or changed. For several of our assignments, we packed, had tickets, and woke up the morning of our flight prepared to travel that day and then Austin would receive an email to change our flights to a week later. With only a few hours notice! It was so difficult for me at first, but now I’m used to it. In fact, I’m so accustomed to plans changing that I don’t really like to make plans too far in advance anymore. It’s going to take a little while for me to re-train my brain to make plans in advance!
In some ways, we have not really had to be part of the real world for the past several years. We’ve been floating around from assignment to assignment, not worrying about house payments or car maintenance or work (for me). There are plenty of other worries, like making sure our kids don’t drink the bathwater and get terribly ill, but no “normal” worries. I imagine that with our traveling job, we were floating around in outer space, just having a fun time and exploring around, but now it’s time for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. We’re equipped for it, but there are risks and I hope that we don’t crash and burn as we try to navigate this transition.
I’m excited for this next chapter of our lives, filled with all the things most people call a part of “normal” life. I’m also a little apprehensive. We’re landing in Chicago in the afternoon on Thursday. We have everything prepared to hit the ground running in our home and car search. In order to get Landon in school as soon as possible, we need to find a house and get under contract. So, we are landing and working with our real estate agent all weekend. We are also looking for vehicles and then we’ll need to start on finding more furniture to put into our house. We currently don’t have car insurance or renter’s insurance, so we need to find insurance providers for our home and cars as well. WAY too much adulting!
I hope that all of our internet research will pay off. I hope that we will get enough rest to make good decisions in these first days back in the U.S. I hope that we’ll find the right house for our family, and good cars for a good price. For years, we have been saving money with this goal in mind, and now the time is here to spend it. I’m feeling reluctant to spend the money, but we need cars and a house to live in this country. There are so many things that we are looking forward to, like cooking whatever I want and a fenced backyard for our boys to play in. There are also things that I’m going to miss, like having someone come clean our room every day and exploring new places. I know this is what’s right for our family right now, but it is still hard to face so many changes with courage and patience. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on our journey into real adulthood!