Can it be a month already? We sit on the back patio tonight, watching lights wink on around us. It's been an incredible adventure to pack ourselves up and go for the month. We dove headlong into the challenge and the beauty of adventuring as a family. And I'll admit, sometimes we were in over our heads. Some days, the goal was to survive. But on other days, many other days, it was sublime. And mind-expanding. Even as we settled back into city life, there's still so much to see. I'll confess to a guilty pleasure: strolling through the neighborhoods, peeking above stone walls and through wooden gates to hidden garden spaces, peeking into home interiors, admiring tin roofs (five colors in view just outside this window). Now my son joins me in this fantasy game. Which house would you want to live in? What's your favorite door/garden/bicycle? Couple that with a promise of an ice cream cone and I have a co-conspirator for hours. We work our way through the city like this. In our herky-jerky sort of way, we end up seeing a lot more.
And yet, despite my fantasies of running away to European countries, I know we're at the end. As darkness creeps back in to our days, life back home creeps back in to our reality. There is the rest of my life waiting for me, pieces I love and miss and need to get back to.
The little ones have (finally!) giggled themselves to sleep, enjoying the new normal of shared bedrooms and even beds. Jake and I reflect for a moment in the welcome quiet and even now, in the thick of fatigue and sleep deprivation, we are overwhelmed with gratitude at having this opportunity. It's too easy to think of all the things we couldn't do the way we were used to as travelers. But then, I think about the little boy who is learning to love travel and beginning to understand how much world there is beyond his city, I think about how we've learned to be together as a family, I've seen a little girl discover that, while she still hates baths and showers, she rather likes geothermal pools. I've seen the start of the friendship between siblings that hopefully will last a lifetime. And that's in addition to volcanoes, glaciers, whales, puffins and geysers. And, oh, we've gotten to see a lot of those. Just a few more photos to tell the story of the last few days of our road trip from Myvatn to Rejkyavik. Like paradise. If your paradise runs on the icy, volcanic side, that is.