Homecoming – we are very close to our one-year anniversary August 8, 2014 to be exact is when we made the final pack of the bags and headed on the first leg of our trip to South Africa. It’s a year later, the kids are probably a foot taller and I am sitting here under an overhang while it’s pouring cats and dogs in Tokyo – There is nowhere else I would rather be at this moment. I felt bad because a very enthusiastic, friendly and energetic Aussie tried to engage me in some morning conversation and I kind of made a run for it outside. I usually enjoy travelers small talk but today, I had a goal, which involved a cup of coffee, the rain and this overhang. I made it.
To be honest, I feel like jumping on a bullet train with my JR Pass and seeing how far I can make it in a day, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we promised the kids we’d take them to Tokyo Disney. I figured it is the least we could do as they have been pretty great sports over the last 2 weeks as we traveled to the Japanese countryside, explored Shinto shrines and slept in exotic Japanese style homes (by exotic I mean 3 mats on a floor). It has been wonderful here in Japan not simply because of the hospitality, but because we have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with other families with small children. This is built into the budget travel experience in Japan, it is well worth the effort. Japan has been a proverbial “icing on the cake” for us and we are leaving with more energy than when we arrived… a good thing!I am going to miss this life on the road, as my wife said: I am not going to miss Bookings.com or Agoda especially during high season travel which can be very disheartening at times. But we always made it work, we never had a bad stay, we never had a bad day, we did have a bit too much bickering at times and moments where we all could have used a bit of space, but heck, we have been together for a year every day, all 4 of us, in small spaces and shared beds, and we didn’t kill each other. Speaking as a man of half Italian heritage this may be a miracle in itself 🙂
What I have learned is that the world is extremely safe, people are so beautifully friendly, kind, helpful, loving, generous and interesting. The world is so full of wonder, mystery, life, and everything around us is constantly growing, changing and reacting to how we react to it. Prejudice and hate are byproducts of a very tiny world view, or the consequence of a personal trauma. I believe we can overcome this, by injecting more compassion, listening, and reacting with understanding and non-judgement.
I have learned that material things will never provide the same satisfaction as a good cup of coffee and great conversation, friends are everywhere if we are open to accept them, sadness, grief, loss are part of life that are necessary to experience joy (thank you “Inside Out”) but we shouldn’t spend too much time there, most of this can be remedied by a hug or a large Chang beer 🙂
The kids are sad to leave the trip, which makes me happy, despite our bickering we have grown closer as a family. I know this because at dinner we raise or glasses and the kids cheer “to the Pasquini’s”. We never did this before.
We have accomplished something together, overcame many obstacles together, made it to day 344 together and it feels great. Now, my friends, I am off to Disneyland in the rain… Wish me luck!!!