Day 269: December 5, 2018 Again

Flying in to Vancouver got me really excited. I started bouncing in my seat once I saw the Canadian coast. There was something about seeing a piece of Canada. There was so much openness and wilderness. Exhausted, we landed in Vancouver around 10:30 am. Neither of us got any sleep on the flight.

View of Canada from the plane

We didn’t have very much time in the Vancouver airport. We had to go through immigration, collect our bags, drop our bags, then find our gate in only one and a half hours. That may seem like a lot of time, but anyone who’s done a lot of travelling understands that it really isn’t.

As we handed over our immigration form the officer asked where we were traveling from. We both replied, “Seoul”. He then asked for how long and we replied, “Five days”. “Were you anywhere before that”. Danny replied, “We were in Vietnam. We’ve been travelling for ten months”. The officer then looked questioningly, “Are you employed?” To which we had to reply, “Not currently”. He then asked how we paid for the trip. I replied, “With our savings”. The officer then nodded and motioned us to pass. I was worried that could have been a lot longer of an exchange. During our immigration exchanges I didn’t like bringing up that we were unemployed or how long we were travelling. I think it made us seem suspicious, but I guess there are quite a few people like us.

We went to our gate with about half an hour to spare. Surprisingly, we passed no Tim Horton’s walking through the terminal! I was a bit disappointed. Instead we went to one of the mini marts to get some water. I also picked up some Ruffles All Dressed chips. I had been craving some really good chips while we were away. They were everything I wanted.

Canadian chips

Looking around the terminal I realized how Canadians have a certain look. There were a lot of hoodies, jeans, camo, Carhartts, hi-vis jackets and baseball caps. You don’t see any of that elsewhere, especially in Southeast Asia.

We got on the plane more excited than ever. On this flight our exhaustion overcame us and we fell asleep before we had even taken off. We landed in Edmonton around 3:00 pm. We had to use the washroom before we exited into the arrival area. Even the Edmonton Terminal felt like home. It was all familiar.

My parents were waiting in the arrival area. My dad looking at the board, wondering where we were as our flight had landed awhile ago. It was so nice to see them and I gave them both huge hugs.

We drove out to my parents acreage that is about an hour outside of Edmonton. It is crazy how much open space we have in Canada. You take it for granted when you are surrounded by it all the time.

Danny’s parents were waiting for us at my parents’ place and we gave them big hugs as well. For supper we all share “Chinese food” which we now know is not as good as actual Chinese food.

December, 2018

The next couple of days of our return we spent trying to figure out how to sleep normally. Our systems were so turned around. Every time I woke up I had to remember where I was.

We both kept our vehicles stored at our parents so once we put full insurance back on them and updated our registration we were able to get around. I thought it would feel odd driving again after 10 months, but it was just like riding a bike. I had really missed the freedom of driving. We both also feel we are much more chill about driving now. After seeing the lack of rules of the road in the other countries, we feel less upset when someone slightly cuts us off.

Since we’ve been back, we’ve really noticed the friendliness of Canadians. The door gets held open for you and if you hold the door open you receive a thank you in return.

The open space and fresh air is still a wonder to me. The first couple of times Danny and I went for a walk outside, we couldn’t get enough of taking deep breaths and staring in amazement at the wilderness.

Our Christmas and New Years were spent with our family. We both agreed that this was one of our best Christmases yet. We both were so thankful to be back and really able to be present and mindful of what we have.

January, 2019

Danny is back to work now and absolutely loving his job. He says work is just him getting to hang out with his friends all day. We have moved in to my parents’ condo in Edmonton for awhile to save up some money for a house outside the city. We still have a spare room so if anyone from our travels wants to come visit we have the space! After travelling for so long we would love to show someone else our beautiful country.

Jasper, Alberta

When I think back now to our travels it all seems like such a dream. Did we really just travel for 10 months around the world? We have so many amazing memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything. We made so many new friends that I feel so close to even though we only met briefly and are now oceans apart.

Recently, when I’ve watched the news, everything seems closer and I relate more to it. When the story of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister being ousted came out, I thought of our GAdventures CEO, Udi and the family we stayed with in Negombo. How did they feel about this change? When news comes out about North Korea, I think of our guides, Miss Chang, Miss Rim and Mr. Ri. How are they doing? Marta, our Airbnb host in Slovenia and Catherine, our guide in Beijing seem to come into our conversations quite often. Marta, we think of her kindness and hospitality. Catherine, we think of her spunk and energy.

For now, its about trying to get back to normal after being away from so long. I already can’t wait for our next trip. It probably won’t be near as long though.