Travel Challenges

Blog entry created by: Jennifer

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For the past four and a half months we have been traveling around the world. We have faced many challenges and had many joys along the way; our experiences have been breathtaking, frustrating, exhausting, and exhilarating. Lately I have felt more run down than usual on the trip, and fankly, some things have been getting to me.

Unexpected Isolation

The hardest thing for me on the trip right now is that I often feel isolated from other people. My friends have gone to college and are leading busy social lives, and I often feel like I have no social life left. I can’t wait to go to college, both out of the anticipation to learn new things and a desire to make new friends. I am glad that I’m on the trip, and I know I am seeing amazing things, but sometimes it is hard to think of how much time I have before I’ll be back home. And despite being in constant contact with my family on the trip, I sometimes feel extremely lonely. I am used to being able to bounce my thoughts off of and develop through my friends, and not having personal contact with them is hard.

Home Sweet Home…Where?

Another challenging thing about being on the trip is not knowing where “home” will be when we return to the US. Since we’ve sold our house and my mom has left her job, parts of our future are still mysteries to us. I don’t get worried about us having a home or my mom getting a job- I know that both of these things will happen. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to imagine being at home again when I don’t know where that will be! Luckily, I’ll be entering a dorm when I get back, so I do know some of what I can expect for when we return.

What to do When I’m Feeling Down?

I am learning to occupy myself when I start feeling down, and it has been easy to do on our mini- vacation in Zanzibar. The beaches here are absolutely beautiful, with sand the color of porcelain and water as warm as bathwater. I’ve spent a lot of time collecting shells and walking along the beach, and yesterday we went on a day-long snorkeling trip. When we’re not in such glamorous places I dedicate myself to writing, reading, drawing, and pushing myself to do more when we’re volunteering. The most important thing I have learned is to get active if I start feeling gloomy.

Is it Worth it?

All in all, though, I am still glad that I embarked on this journey, and would not change my decision if I was given another chance. Although it is sometimes very hard to be traveling all of the time, I know that the experiences I’m having will enrich my life so much that it is more than worthwhile. Already the trip has changed my outlook on life and opened my mind in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. Nothing is perfect, and our trip is most certainly not perfect. But I know that we are helping people, having the experiences of our lives, and learning new things every day.

An Unstable (and Wonderful) Environment

There have been many people who have felt that our decision to go on this trip was a bad one, that it would be creating an unstable environment for Alex and Bella especially.

Yes, we are in an unstable environment. Any environment full of such constant change can be considered unstable. But change is essential to human development, and every day I see us, especially Alex and Bella, developing in new and beautiful ways. Alex is becoming more and more social, and taking part in activities that before he wouldn’t want to do. Bella is blossoming as a young woman and her writing skills are giving me a run for my money, thanks to all of the posting she’s been doing. We do fight sometimes, we do get lonely and upset sometimes, and once and a while we wonder why we’re doing this crazy trip in the first place. But above all, we still love what we are doing- and that is why we’re still doing it. It would be easy to get on a flight home and raise the rest of the money from there if we wanted to.

Are we Still Dragging the Kids Along?

The point is, we all want to continue the trip- all of us. Even Alex, who famously said that he “didn’t have a choice” about going on the trip, wants to continue it. If we were unhappy, we wouldn’t be dragging ourselves around the earth for another seven and a half months!

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Posted on: December 21, 2010 | Categories: looking back - home friends etc, Tanzania, Why We Are Doing This



  • David Manglass says:

    A man sits as many risks as he runs…HDT.

  • Mary says:

    I’m really glad to read your honest assessment. I spent 2 years – long ago – in the Peace Corps in Nepal, and loneliness became an issue. Mostly all I did was go somewhere private and have a good cry. I’ve been expecting, especially at the holidays, that your trip would start feeling “endless”. Years from now, though, you won’t think that. So face those demons, enjoy the people and places, and realize that your friends and the life you wish to lead will all be there when you return. Blessings to all of you.

  • Terry Manglass says:

    Jenny, don’t ever forget your family back in the states waiting for you to come home. We miss you as well but we have also come to realize what a once in a lifetime experience this has been for you and your family. Everything will fall into place when you get back home and don’t forget that we will always be here for you. What a wonderful family you have! Enjoy this learning time together. God Bless all of you and have a Merry Christmas. We will see you soon! Enjoy you visit with yor Dad; we know how much you love each other. LOVE……………

  • AJ says:

    Insightful sharing, one thing I know at 63 years old is how fast time really does not by, it may not feel like it right now, but your trip will go by fast. Then you will have the wonderful memories of the amazing time you had for the rest of your life. As a child we moved many times and when I felt lonely I did lots of reading. Your beach adventures sound wonderful we are having lots of ice, snow and cold weather here. Peace & Joy,

  • Emily says:

    Love you whirly-girl and look forward to seeing your sweet face again. Hold your breath when passing feathers drift by…

  • Kayla B says:

    Hey, I’m glad you’re doing good. I’m also jealous of the fact that you’re having all of these amazing experiences and going to places I would never even dream of going. College is fun, but what you’re doing is so much better.

  • Looking back you will be so glad you achieved this goal and made so many people happy.Your college life will benefit greatly as a result of all your experiences.

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