When we returned home, people asked us the Question: “How was your trip?”
“Good,” I would blurt out. “Fun. We learned a lot. There were goats.” Goats are relatable. Most people are content with this answer, and we can move on with our conversation.
As usual, I have a laundry list of places we went— national parks, farms, visits with family— and things that we learned— basic spinning with cashmere, beekeeping, farm management, cherry-juicing, wine-making, four-wheeling, basic acro-yoga, raising meat chickens, plus all the workshop topics at the Mother Earth News Fair— but these are merely elements. They don’t sum up what our trip was like. But sometimes they’re the best I can do.
This trip was certainly one of the most unusual, involving so many different elements and experiences. Some of the best moments weren’t particularly blog-worthy, such as eating freshly-grilled corn at Gary’s house while cheering on Chris Froome in the Tour de France, or walking through the neighborhoods in Vancouver talking and dreaming about what we wanted life to be like when we got home. It was beautiful, and sometimes boring, and often very intense.
I wrote this in my diary as we were headed back from our Utah trip:
You always think trips will change you. How could they not? When you’re in the middle of picking raspberries for the first time, or toasting marshmallows with fifteen German guys, or trekking with iron legs up your hundredth mountain in a month, or holding a thousand bees on a frame in your hands, you think, this is going to change me. There’s no way I can go back to the way things were before.
Then you come home. And the house is the same, the city is the same, the people are the same (although some of them have longer hair than you remember). And in a day or two you realize that you are the same too, and it’s alarming but it’s also a relief.
When people ask you, “How did you change?”, if you’re honest with them you say, “I learned that if you push down on the tip of a banana it breaks into three even pieces, and now I will think about that every time I eat a banana.” Because it’s one of the only tangible things that you hold onto once you are home.
And you sigh, and you stop noticing that you’re still the same, and months or years slip by.
Then one day, you plant raspberries in your yard, and when the first berry ripens and you tuck it into your cheek, your memory bursts open and you’re back to where you began, and you remember who you were then and who you are now, and you see that they are the same— but as a seed and an apple tree are the same.
Coming home from a trip is a lot to process, and I feel like I’m still finding my feet. But in short, I’m so glad we went... and I’m so glad we’re home.