Gift #4: Closer to Family and Friends

Earlier, I wrote about the first 3 of 5 gifts this trip has given us.  The first gift is having the luxury of time to explore and meander.  The second gift is being able to take the long way around and discover the road less traveled.  The third gift is the shared passion Timm and I have for this journey.

The fourth gift is we have become emotionally closer to our family and friends.  This was a surprise and the opposite of what one might expect because we are physically very far away from everyone we love.

The Hoctor Family

How and why have we become closer to those we love?   We simply miss our families and friends now that we are far away, giving credibility to the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  Also, we’ve gained a deeper understanding of how short a time we each have on this Earth, which draws us to cherish our time with those we love.  And, there is the obvious fact that we have more time and fewer distractions, so we think about our families more often and can reach out to them more frequently. 

Similarly, our loved ones call or email us more frequently.  They call to hear about our adventures and share the joy we feel.  They also worry about us on the road, wandering around the countryside.  Strangely, the conversations are deeper, more meaningful, and less on the surface.  I’ve learned more about several of my family and friends in this past 7 months than in many of the prior years combined.  As we talk about our trip, our family and friends sometimes share their favorite travel experiences.  I’ve learned about places they’ve been, things they’ve done, and their most happy moments.

Zadee, David and Stefan taking time out from helping me pack to eat a picnic lunch Stani packed for us.

Recently, I returned to the Cincinnati area to close on our house.  I was able to visit several (but not all) of my family and close friends.  Each interaction was longer, deeper, more substantial and lasting.  It felt different to me, much more in the present, without distractions and a wandering mind.  It was almost as if there was more awareness that our time together might be our last.  Perhaps this is how it was always supposed to be, where we deeply cherish our time together, fully conscious that there is no guarantee of another time to be together.

Who would have thought a lengthy trip far away from our family and friends could bring us closer to them?  Sometimes, you have to strike out on a new path to find that it leads you back home to those you love.

Evie and Theresa play dress up with the dogs using Grandma's clothes.

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