A friend of mine referred to 2013 as my "Walkabout Year". That really helped to put my adventures into perspective. As I wind down my time in France and my prepare to return to Canada I find myself reflecting on the past eight months. What have I been doing all of this for? Is there a bigger purpose? Travel in itself is never wasted but what have I learned from this experience? I'm sure I won't really know the extent of it until I get back home into the environment where I am familiar and comfortable. There I'll see how much I've changed. I do know that I know now more than ever that world is a big place and there is so much to see. I also know that I am Canadian and no matter where I live, that is home. Georgia was wonderful and France is amazing but I'm ready to get back to the middle class rather socialistic society (free healthcare!) that I am used to.
I'm also very ready to get back to church on a regular basis. That has definitely been the biggest struggle for me yet I find that rather than pulling away from God and just living as I please I am even more determined to return to my church family and the encouragement that comes with attending service regularly. It has been good for me to realize that. As someone who was born to Christian parents and raised in church it's nice to confirm that I attend church for me, not just out of habit or because it's something I do but because it is truly my hearts desire to be there and be part of that community.
Another friend asked if I'll be "done with Europe" when my time here is over. I don't think I could ever be "done" with Europe. There's just too much to see. Too much to discover. In fact if all goes well I hope to be back here next summer but that remains to be seen. The bottom line is I've made friends here and connections and I certainly hope I'll be able to return.
But in the meantime I have memories and stories and a deep assurance that I am on the right path with my life. Wherever it takes me.
Ha! I'm editing this to add that about five minutes after I posted it my boss was lamenting the end of summer and said "But you are ready to go home right? Three months is enough?" I replied that yes I am very ready to go home but more so because it's been eight months total. Not just three. Three would be fine. Eight has been hard.