This whole “coming back slowly” is working out very well. Maybe I’ll trademark that term, or build it into my advice for fellow travelers. The problem that most travelers are confronted with when coming back home is a feeling that nothing changed but them. And people get used to your reemergence much faster than you would like to believe. By making stops along our way home, we’ve artificially extended our return, and succeeded in making it feel more natural.
Bolt Bus is a super nice option that a lot of people should consider when traveling on the west coast (and east coast for that matter – I think that’s where it started). The buses are comfortable, with wifi and power outlets, and you can find really cheap fares. We paid only $7 each for a trip between Los Angeles and San Jose. That amounts to about $1/hr, or the same price we paid in Ecuador. Outside of Bolt Bus, inter-city options are sadly lacking, and complicated to sort out. I spent a lot of time figuring out Caltrain, BART, Golden Gate Transit and Sonoma County Transit schedules before eventually borrowing a friend’s car to get ourselves between San Jose and Santa Rosa… In South America, there would have been a direct bus, leaving every 30 minutes, for about $3.
Being in people’s homes is wonderful and fun. We like seeing how different people live. How they decorate. What size their home is. It shows what is important to them and I feel like I’m seeing a cross-section of America.
We have continued our trend of not doing much. We just sort of chill in people’s homes and chat and cook and hang out, really. It’s been nice. The prospect of having to get up early and do things all day doesn’t sound like much fun.
Questions we’ve heard the most: Did you get into any dangerous situations? This is an easy answer: no. We never felt in danger in any way that you might be thinking in your head. I think it’s mostly because we spoke the language, and we’re too old to get blitzed in a new city and walk down a bad street… Did the trip change you/anything you got used to or liked during the trip that you will continue to do here? I’m not sure yet. Certainly we are overwhelmed with returning to the realities of western living (i.e. closets full of clothes, fast food). Maybe we’ll be able to hold onto that feeling, and continue to do with less. It doesn’t feel like that would be a bad goal.
Sheena on getting our stuff back: “it’s like we were given only a small scoop of ice cream every day for a whole year, and now we have a 20 scoop bowl in front of us.”