“So… how does it feel to be home?” asked, well, every single person I know, when we returned from our 11-month round-the-world family adventure.

At first it was: “Great!” Seeing family and friends, eating all our favorite foods from home, going to our favorite shops – where we knew exactly what we could find and where to find it, sleeping on our own perfect-degree-of-firmness-and-softness mattress, not having to share one single bathroom for the four of us. We drank it all in and savored every minute of it.

And then it was: “Pretty good, I think….” We had been so proud of ourselves, purging our unneeded stuff before we left, trimming down the contents of our 2400 square foot house to fit into a 195 square foot storage unit. And then we managed for 11 months of long-term travel with just a small suitcase and a backpack for each of us, and there wasn’t much that we missed (other than cute shoes). And now we were facing boxes and boxes and boxes of…”why on earth did we keep this?” We took two carloads of stuff straight to the thrift store for donation.

Still later it was: “Can I get back to you on that?” The day we got the keys to our house back, we met our favorite plumbing team, there to jackhammer through our kitchen floor to replace a collapsed sewer pipe under the concrete slab. They damaged more floor tiles than they expected to during the process, and we had to hunt down some replacement tiles. Which are no longer being manufactured. So we’ve got a big chunk of plywood in the kitchen where our shelves would normally go. And the shelves and the 10 boxes of records that live on those shelves are still stacked up in the middle of the living room. Which is just as well because we gave away or sold all of our living room furniture before we left. We are discombobulated.

So then we settled on: “[….]” After the frenzy of doctor visits, teeth cleaning, car shopping, cell phone buying, new school, new sports, old friends and lots and lots of trips to the grocery store, we finally have some time to breathe. And think. And pinch ourselves to be sure that we didn’t dream that whole last wonderful year.

That is actually the strangest thing to me: now that we’re settled back into our house and school and work, it almost seems like we never left. We have to remind ourselves not to fall back into the same bad habits we had before. I was reminded, by one of the treasured friends we met on the trip, to really ask ourselves whether we needed to buy two cars right away. Couldn’t we get by with one? Or even none? I don’t think the latter is an option where we live in the suburbs of Washington, DC; I normally spend several hours a day in my car, shuttling children to school and activities. But since my husband and I both work from home most of the time, we might be able to get by with one car.

So in the end the answer is “Yes, but….” But we may still need some time to process it all. But I do miss the togetherness we had on the road. But I wish I could never ever drive again. But I am already planning the next adventure.

A blue and yellow version of Milwaukee Airport's "Recombobulation Area"