After two months abroad, we are home. Our trip home began with a four a.m. alarm in Paris, a taxi ride to the Orly airport, a 2.5 hour flight to Lisbon, a 3.5 hour layover followed by a 9 hour flight to Chicago, culminating with a four hour drive home. Over 24 hours of continuous travel with very little sleep. In the airport before our first flight, we had a bathroom incident and fortunately still had clean clothes with us to make a change. On the first flight, another of the kids was motion sick and filled up two rows of motion sickness bags and covered his clothes. This necessitated a purchase of athletic pants sporting the Lisbon soccer club logo and new shoes.
With the long day of travel, we decided to spend a little more to choose our seats with extra leg room. I admit on our flight to Europe, the cheap seats in the back were very cramped and had little leg room. I remember thinking halfway through the middle of the night flight, that I guess we would be living in Europe because there was no way I was flying back. It was probably one of the worst flights I’ve experienced, mentally and physically. However, no one else in our group seemed to feel the same, so it must have just been something I was working through….Either way, I knew something had to be different on the way home.
Even with the extra leg room and clear line of sight of the entry/exit door, the last three hours of the flight were brutal as I fought a migraine and nausea. When I wasn’t sick in the bathroom, I was hiding under the provided blanket seeking the darkest space possible. Landing helped the nausea subside, and when we exited the Chicago airport to biting cold, whipping winds and fresh air, I finally began to feel human again.
We are now on day three of mild jet lag. We are in bed by 8 and up bright and early at 5. I personally prefer this to not being able to sleep at night like when we first arrived in Europe. The kids have enjoyed having access to all their legos and toys and own beds. At the moment, I feel like I can never grimace about laundry again after using minimal capacity washers and having no dryer for the last two months. Our software engineer is working much quicker with our hi-speed internet.
Two years ago, we made an extremely difficult decision to leave a school we loved to homeschool and travel. Homeschooling has its ups and downs. Travel has its highs and lows. But, we dared to make the choices to live the life I dreamed of for many years. Right now, I don’t know how long this will be our path to travel, but it doesn’t matter. We take each day step-by-step with gratitude for the home and family we have and the adventures past, present and future.