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On returning home

Editorial: This month I returned home after six months travelling in Asia and day-to-day life has struck me hard. This should not have come as a surprise. I sold my house before I left and put all my stuff in storage, other than the car that I abandoned in a driveway and when I returned it would not start. But I have been living out of a weekend suitcase for a long time with a relatively uncomplicated everyday life. Undirected mail and unfiled income tax were not things I thought about until I landed in Canada again.

That, of course, is why extended travel is such a gift. It’s what you do when you feel too boxed in and looking for some real space. Spontaneity becomes your friend. My itinerary was entirely unplanned and the path that I followed simply became evident as I went along.

Travel in Southeast Asia was surprisingly easy and, hey, everyone should do the Thailand-Laos-Cambodia-Vietnam loop at least once!  I visited eight countries, the last one being China, and the people and cultures in all of them were fascinating and really made me THINK. The weather was perfect everywhere. I got from place to place on many airplanes, one train, several local buses, a number of tourist vans and cars, and many, many tuk-tuks.

My first thought when landing back in Canada was how incredibly beautiful the Rocky Mountains are. My second thought was: Wow, has this country become more materialistic or was it like this when I left?

A new battery and alternator (along with a $205 towing fee) got the car back on the road. I found an apartment for my furniture and me. Tomorrow my cat, Kali, will be back. When the guy came to hook up the cable and Internet I was hauling 35 bags of topsoil;   the temperature may have been 34° c but the plants that I had brought from the cottage for a new (and essential) garden were gasping so there was little choice.

That’s when it struck me that in my part of world it was the first day of summer—June 21—and I had only done a couple of articles for this issue of Riding the buses. So with a few keystrokes I changed the June issue to be the June-July issue to give reentry a bit more time.

The garden I made is small and only a couple of perennials and bushes got anything resembling a ‘good hole’. In the middle of the garden I placed a tall, rather lightweight metal stork.  The soil is so shallow that the stork wouldn’t stay upright so I found some fieldstones to place on its feet to weigh it down. Perhaps by late fall I, like the birds, will be ready to take flight again.

Sylvia Fanjoy

© Riding the buses 2012

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