Ecuador - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 407 (217)

Flight to Miami - LAST LOG ENTRY

Tuesday 19th April (2005)

It’s late evening and we’ve just arrived here in our former hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. Since we are here to visit with friends and former neighbours, we’re technically no longer travelling any more. As such, I consider our trip to have now formally concluded. The one remaining flight that remains ahead of us is that which will take us home three weeks from now. In doing so, we will then have completed our global circumnavigation of the planet. As far as the travelling itself is concerned, however, we’re done. This epic exploration of new places and cultures has finally come to an end and this will be my last log entry. It feels surreal to be back here in Jacksonville. I feel like it was just yesterday that we left this all behind to embark on our new lives as worldly travellers. In a sense, then, we’ve come full circle.

I suppose I should really reflect on the trip as a whole. The problem is that there are now so many new memories to draw upon that I feel strangely disoriented in a labyrinth of emotions and experiences that I couldn’t possibly begin to summarise. I think it’s fair to say that Both Sandy and I have enjoyed being travellers immensely. After more than seven solid months on the road, however, we have both recently been starting to feel like the time was right to complete the trip. We’re ready for a break.

I can remember in vivid detail the first night of this leg of the trip. It was at a small, nondescript hostel not too far from Heathrow airport near London. We opened the door to that very first hostel room and peaked inside to see what it was like. As we walked inside, we crossed the threshold not just into the room but also into the world of the independent traveller and our journey was begun. We’ve now returned back over to this side of that threshold and will soon be putting away our trusty backpacks, kit bags, travel clothes and accessories. It may be some time before we are once again exposed to new cultures, architectures, landscapes, sights and sounds. We will miss that adrenaline rush that keeps us going when our bodies are tired and jetlagged from the long journey that takes us to a new place.

Travelling has conditioned us to a certain extent. Now that we are back into a developed western society again, I find that I’m noticing the little things that differ between here and many of the places we’ve travelled through. Silly little things like not having to use toilet paper sparingly for fear of clogging the ancient and inadequate sewage system; not having to deposit the toilet paper into a bin next to the toilet for the same reason; being able to open the hot water tap and finding hot water actually coming out; seeing road users observe the traffic signals and markings on the road; sleeping in a comfortable bed with a warm duvet. The list is as endless as it is obscure.

I’ve learned a lot on this trip. There are so many different cultures and peoples around the world that I did not know existed. It just isn’t possible to understand another culture through books or any other form of media. I now realise that TV and film are just about the worse means of educating people about the world around us. The world isn’t anywhere near the dangerous sort of place that the news media portrays. There have been several countries, for example, that I’ve been genuinely apprehensive about visiting because of my limited and warped understand of what to expect there. Without exception, each and every place I’ve been to has shattered my previous preconception of what I thought it was going to be like. I’ve also felt safe in every country we’ve been to.