I know I’ve been missing in action this summer and wanted to apologize for not updating the site, but I’ve taken some time away from writing for some much needed rest and relaxation.
Jim and I had a great summer! We spent time in the cities we love with people we love even more.
We partied in Sacramento for my best friend’s wedding and my Dad’s 65th birthday, celebrated the fourth of July in Chicago with Jim’s good childhood friends, and traveled to my family’s favorite summer vacation spot in McCall, Idaho; we visited Jim’s family in San Diego and spent August with them in the place where we would love to call home one day, Hanalei, Hawaii. And I just spent a weekend with my best college volleyball girlfriends in Chicago this past weekend.
It has felt so good to be with family, eat foods we like and can digest, and speak English with strangers after being in foreign places for almost two years.
The questions we’re asked most is what we took away from our travels, did we accomplish what we set out to do, and what’s next?
I don’t think we had a real goal in mind when taking off—we didn’t want to “find ourselves” or discover the meaning of life. But we did come back with a new outlook and with a deeper sense of gratitude for where we come from.
For example, the slums of Mumbai where plastic bottles and cow feces pile up in the streets, where privacy does not exist, and where families struggle to feed themselves, made us realize that anything we perceive as a problem or struggle is nothing compared to the way some people live. Traffic, technology glitches, a rude person, or a rainy day aren’t things to get upset over. We have more patience and compassion in our daily lives.
We are grateful for the small things: toilet paper, clean water, grocery stores and restaurants with any kind of food we want, time spent with family and friends, fresh air, comfortable beds, washing machines and a common language. It’s comforting to share a smile with a stranger and ask how they are and to be able to understand them.
We learned about different cultures and ways of living while abroad; we tested our resolves hiking in Nepal and on the Great Wall of China, and we also tested our immune systems in India.
But we’ve decided to put our long-term travel adventures on hold for now and settle in Chicago for the next phase of our lives.
Our plan to stay put for a while came about for a few reasons:
1. We are tired.
Although we loved our experience, it took a ton of energy to get from place to place not knowing how we were going to get there, when we were going to eat, or where we were going sleep. We’ve been in a new bed, on average, every five days. We’ve taken over forty flights this year. We want a place to come home to where we can cook with our pots and pans and sleep in our own bed.
2. Energy and excitement for future travels.
We canceled our tickets that would have brought us to South America for a few months this September because we just didn’t feel like heading out again. Although we both want to see and experience many places on this Earth, we don’t have the energy to explore them quite yet.
3. Time to save.
We were comfortable burning through our savings because we planned for it, but we’ve gotten to the point where we want to start building again and not worry about rent, food, or fun things we want to do.
4. Going back to school!
I’ve decided to go to medical school and pursue my doctorate in natural medicine. I’ll be attending a four year program at one of the nation’s premier institutions for health science education starting next fall, and will be finishing my science pre-requisites this coming winter and summer.
Natural health has always been a huge interest for me, particularly after healing my rheumatoid arthritis with natural therapies. I want to be part of the change in our health system as it moves toward patient-centered integrative healthcare.
Stay tuned for more updates and maybe even a new blog based on what I learn and healthy tidbits as I progress through school.
I’m so excited!
“Dr. Rachel Nelson”—I like the sound of that…