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December 15th 2011
Published: December 17th 2011
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Have we mentioned that time flies? We’ve been back home for 10 days now and we’ve been busy catching up with friends and family and getting our “normal” lives back in order. We’re currently staying with Jordan’s parents until we figure out whether we want to rent a condo as we did before (perhaps even in the same building), or if we’re ready to take the plunge into home ownership in this real estate obsessed city. Fortunately we both managed to get jobs back with the same companies we worked for before the trip and we’ll be starting those on January 9. We even returned home to the same cell phone and vehicle that we’d left behind. Same city, same jobs, same car, same phone number…honestly it feels like we never left. 500 days, 18 countries, ancient temples, awe-inspiring mountains and landscapes, primitive cultures and modern emerging global economies; everything we have seen and done over the past year and a half. Can all that really be reduced to nothing but fading memories after a week and a half back in the city we call home? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? The more things change, the more they stay the
Machapuchare by moonlightMachapuchare by moonlightMachapuchare by moonlight

From Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal
same. But something is different. We have a new appreciation for the world outside of our little Canadian bubble and it’s fascinating, confusing, frustrating and enlightening all at the same time. What that does for us, I have no idea and how it will affect our future remains to be seen. This is all just getting a little too deep and dramatic…

There are a few adjustments that we’re in the process on making to make to our lifestyle here. For one thing, it’s winter time and it was obvious from the start that our travel clothes just weren’t going to cut it. So it was off to the mall to buy some clothes that are a little more weather appropriate and Jordan needed something nice to wear to the office so he could go and beg for his job back. Ordering food is no longer as simple as pointing to a menu item and saying “two”, as we recently discovered at Tim Hortons. Small or large? White, brown or bagel? Cheddar or swiss cheese? Drink? Side? So many choices! Another little habit we’ve picked up might be slightly harder to shake. Having spent 24/7 with each other for the past 500 days we’ve adopted some very strong opinions on certain topics and we’re very vocal with each other. There is no internal filter; we say what’s on our minds. We’re not used to the fact that now everyone around us speaks the same language as we do and they can understand everything we say. We’re doing our best to keep our feet out of our mouths.

As is customary with concluding travel blogs, we’ll list a few favorites/highlights. We've also re-posted a few of our favorite photos.

Trains:
Trains were our favourite way of getting from A to B. Whether it was from Vienna to Istanbul on the traditional Orient Express route, anywhere on China’s extensive rail network, the bouncy narrow-gauge colonial era trains in Myanmar, or the marvellous modern high-speed Shinkansen trains in Japan.

Natural Wonders:
It’s no wonder that Nepal and New Zealand are consistently in our top 5 countries we’ve visited. The Himalayas have no equal, and New Zealand has some of the most beautiful un-touched beaches and rugged volcanic landscapes we’ve encountered. Not to mention that Australia has a few respectable coastlines of its own.

Temples and Man-made Wonders:
A
Young monk in the rainYoung monk in the rainYoung monk in the rain

Mrauk U, Myanmar
person can only see so many temples before they all kind of start to look the same, but it’s pretty hard to beat Myanmar in this department. China has no shortage of man-made wonders, and the Great Wall is at the top of the list.

Roof-top patios:
This has been a favourite place of ours to relax and watch the World go by. Nepal has particularly embraced the concept of roof-top dining and it also makes for a great vantage point from which to enjoy the latest earthquake.

Food:
We love Asian food. Favorites include the Sichuan style hot pot (our Christmas dinner in Kunming comes to mind), dumplings/momos of all kinds, som tam (green papaya salad), Thai hot and sour soup, Indian masala curry with naan bread, Japanese Hida beef. There’s too many more to mention.

So was it all worth it? Absolutely. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it is the memories, relationships and experiences along the way that shape our lives. These things cannot be purchased, amortized or sold for profit, but travel is the kind of investment that stays with you forever.

We want to say
Canal Rocks SunsetCanal Rocks SunsetCanal Rocks Sunset

Margaret River, Australia
thanks to everyone who has followed along and sent us comments as we went. We’re glad that we could share our experience. As much as this blog was intended for family and friends, we’re always flattered and amazed at the connections we’ve made through this medium with complete strangers and other members of the travelblog community. Until next time…

Jordan & Kathie


Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


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Varanasi streetVaranasi street
Varanasi street

Varanasi, India
HorsesHorses
Horses

Kazakhstan
WrestlingWrestling
Wrestling

Kyrgyzstan
Durbar SquareDurbar Square
Durbar Square

During the Indra Jatra festival at Kathmandu, Nepal.
Bodhnath StupaBodhnath Stupa
Bodhnath Stupa

Taken from a roof-top patio seconds before the earthquake hit.
Christmas hotpotChristmas hotpot
Christmas hotpot

Kunming, China


17th December 2011

Thank you for sharing ;-)
It was a pleasure to read your stories and admire great photos;-) Good luck in Canada! B&T
17th December 2011

Wow
Hey guys! Amazing final blog...perhaps there will be another trip in the future? Your trip is/was very similar to ours and you're also from Calgary! We're currently in Nepal, then India, then Myanmar, Phillipines, then China....eventually ending up in New Zealand. Going home is something that is so hard to explain to others who do not travel, we totally understand all the changes! After our first year away, it was more foreign to us to be at home than on the road. Hopefully Calgary isn't too cold right now! Enjoy the holidays. Dariece
17th December 2011

500 days, really??
Glad to hear you're starting to adapt to the life 'back home'... I think that's the most difficult part. I'm now looking forward to your next adventure, I love reading your blogs and your pictures are always amazing! Good luck with everything, guys!
17th December 2011

lol
welcome home guys, life will never be the same for you two. You have seen the world..
20th December 2011

Nice to have you back!
Hey, Kathie & Jordan. Thanks for letting me 'come along' on your adventure - I read every post and it was a great temporary vacation for me every time! I look forward to catching up in person next month. :) Tamara
17th January 2012

just finished your at home blog
I'm a month late on reading your last blog, but enjoyed it thoroughly! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, photos, and an inspired lifestyle with me, I greatly appreciate it! There is also one picture from your earlier travels, that I would love to get my hands on;) I'm glad you are both home safe and sound, albeit to the same everything, change is good! Cheers

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