Home vs. Away

The summer has passed since we returned from "Our Small Adventure" but five months away has fueled  almost an additional five months of blogging. Online it looks like I'm still abroad as I've caught up on posts about Provence, the Dordogne and Paris. 
We loved our trip, Portugal was magical and we could barely pull ourselves away from Lisbon so we'll need to return if we're every going to make it to Porto or the south. Paris is captivating even during the worst spring weather on record. "Oh dear" -what more can one say about that! It's incredible to liberate your life, to feel the possibilities of upping and going. To go from  one month trips abroad to settling into a place, orienting yourself to the local markets and neighborhood restaurants, not just the well known sites. It's more relaxing to see a place over time, there's a luxury to revisiting the museums as I did in Paris. There's a sense of accomplishment when you realize you're  really getting to know your area of town.
However five months is just a taste, you're a sojourner not a resident. It's long enough to see the local side of life, to meet a few people, to get the sense of what your life could look like somewhere else. However, it's a simulacra of a life, it's not enough time to fully establish friendships or to know a place but it's glimpse, an opening, a beginning. Whether we go back to Paris or Lisbon, or whether we continue to do the same thing elsewhere, the experience has changed how we travel
When we were away I learnt a lot, as you do when you're in a new environment. We took advantage of the museums and galleries and surrounded ourselves with history. When I think back on our time away I think about the time I spent actively learning and walking. When I arrived home to the west coast I thought I needed to recreate that here. That I should be walking around my  own neighborhood and learning about the place. But now that I'm home I realize I do different things at here. I spend more time creating, sewing (see the curtains below!), cooking, gardening, more time at the theater and more time with friends. The engagements are different, not better or worse. It's a symbiosis, the time away is shaped by the reassurance that home is just around the corner and the experience of home is enriched by the possibility of escape.

Now it's time to move on. I'm losing steam talking about the past and I'm gaining momentum for our upcoming trip at the end of the year. Lots more about that soon, I hope you'll follow along too.