One year ago today we boarded a plane in our adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, bound for Boston, Massachusetts, the first city of our year-long trip around the world. Since then we visited 5 continents, stepped foot in 22 countries, slept in 71 beds, and traveled 41,000+ miles. Today, we’re glad to still be traveling, but this day marks the beginning of the end. It’s the culmination of our dream, birthed eight years ago, to circumnavigate the globe.

In this Toothbrush Talk, we look back at the trip and the mark it has left on us.

One year later

Štrbské pleso (tarn), High Tatra Mountains.

Lindsay: As we began our trip around the world one year ago, I imagined what it would be like to be at the end. I had a whole 12 months of travel ahead of me, 12 months of new places and experiences, so it was difficult to imagine myself where I am now. I suppose I thought I would feel like one year was not enough. In reality, it feels like exactly the right amount of time. I don’t have any regrets about going home, maybe because now I know it’s possible to make another trip happen.

Peter: It took us years to prepare and, more importantly, save for the trip. It felt like a long time, so much so, that when the departure day came around, it felt a bit unreal. I remember almost floating in a bubble of disbelief and awe at what was happening, at what we made happen. Many times during the trip I caught myself in that same mindset of having to pinch myself mentally to make sure it’s all real.

Now that the final days of the big trip are nigh, I keep pinching myself but I know we did it and it was the most amazing year of my life.

Lindsay: I’m so glad we did this trip. It was definitely the most exciting, rewarding, and crazy thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’m inspired to do more exciting, rewarding and crazy things with you.

My outlook on my life has completely changed on this trip. For one, as a writer, I’m proud of our blog and how well we’ve documented our journey. Before, I used to be so intimidated by the idea of creating for an audience, of trying to grow a website. Just like the trip itself, working on our blog over this past year has made me realize that I can make a project like this happen.

One year later

Ammoudi Bay, Oia, Santorini, Greece.

Peter: The best part is, we’ll continue writing the blog. The trip has changed my outlook on what it means to be a traveler. I now believe travel is a mindset: I can be a traveler anywhere, any time, whether I am parked somewhere for a day or for a year. I can’t wait to continue documenting our travels in/around Portland, Oregon, California, and elsewhere while we prepare for the next trip.

Speaking of, that’s another significant life change. While we both enjoy traveling, a year has indeed been enough. For now. We’ll stay put in Portland for a while, get some rest, and prepare for the next round-the-world trip. Will work to travel—I like that as our motto.

Lindsay: As nice as it is to be going home and seeing loved ones and familiar places, I’m also excited to start dreaming up the next trip. We’ve learned a lot on this adventure that has prepared us for budgeting better on the next journey, perhaps allowing us to travel for longer next time. And we have a feel for what is the right amount of planning and the right amount of spontaneity for us.

There are places we know we want to return to (Patagonia, Greece, Serbia) and countries we saved for the next trip (China, Iceland, Vietnam). There’s still so much more to see.

One year later

Coming to Railay Beach, Thailand.

Peter: For now, we’re going home. Actually, it would be more accurate to call it Home, or home-home. Because as pioneer Toothbrushists we can make ourselves feel at home wherever our toothbrushes are, we have many homes around the world. But Portland is our home base: this is where we started our first RTW trip, this is where it’s ending soon, and this is where the next one will begin. And so, while I may, from time to time, feel bitter-sweet about the trip ending and about going back to Portland, Home is just another stop on the journey.

Lindsay: What about reverse culture shock? I’m personally not too worried about it. We’ve had to make a lot of mental and emotional adjustments over the past year. Culture shock was never really a problem for us to begin with, so I don’t worry much about having to adjust to being in the USA.

The biggest shock will be having to adjust to a work schedule again, and not having as much free time. But just as we learned to adjust to the rhythms of travel, we’ll adjust to a new rhythm. We’re not returning to our old life, because after this, life will never be the same.

16 Responses

  1. Jane Pellicciotto

    Nice recap you guys! Of course, you’ll have to go gently on us. You know how it is when someone returns from abroad and they go on and on about what America lacks so you feel like a dope for living here. Actually, I know what America lacks! What am I saying?

    Reply
    • Peter Korchnak

      Thanks, Jane. Lots of places around the world lack things and vice versa, every place has a lot to offer. We are returning to the U.S. to live, after all…

      Reply
  2. Carmel

    “I now believe travel is a mindset: I can be a traveler anywhere, any time”
    Absolutely. I feel very similarly. I’m ready to go home in a lot of ways (ok, I *will* be ready to go home), but I’m not really sad because I know we’ll continue to prioritize travel in our lives. We probably won’t leave for an extended period again, but 1-2 months at a time is our goal. I think the hardest adjustment will be the transition to a schedule, you’re right. We haven’t skipped around as much as you have, but we’ve definitely grown accustomed to some amount of culture shock. Can’t wait to see you again!

    Reply
  3. Emily

    I love ‘Will Work to Travel’ as a motto!

    We are nearing the end of our South American leg and so have a lot of similar thoughts, even though we’ll be continuing our travels for a bit. Once you get back in the groove you’ll have to share the ‘post-trip’ feelings/reality!

    Also, any micro-brew MUSTs for Boston? We have a few days layover there before we fly to Europe!

    Reply
    • Peter Korchnak

      We’re definitely going to keep writing post-trip.

      As for Boston, we’d just left Portland when we were there, so we weren’t really seeking out craft beers. Instead we needed (and eventually found) a bar showing the Stanley Cup Final game, but I can’t recommend that place. So I can’t help you there, sorry. I see a few good lists of Boston beer bars online, though. Keep us posted!

      Reply
  4. Catherine

    It sounds like an unforgettable trip, experience and year. I dreamed at one point of doing an around the world trip but I don’t think it’s in my cards anymore—which is fine with me. We do smaller and more local trips, but I agree it’s all about the adventurous mindset!

    Reply
    • Peter Korchnak

      It was indeed. We know or know of several families traveling around the world, and we also know there are many, many more. Keep the dream alive!

      Reply
  5. Ivana

    I’m really for you guys 🙂 To read that the road has changed someone’s life is always a pleasure and motivation. Although we missed each other in Chiang Mai, the world is small and we are all nomads, so hopefully our paths will cross one day 😉
    Enjoy Portland and keep blogging 🙂

    Reply
  6. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    It’s really great to see how much you have managed to accomplish during your year away and to read your wonderfully enlightened thoughts before returning home. I don’t think you can embark on a journey like this and not be changed by it at the end of it so it’s nice to see you attempt to verbalize the transformations you have undergone.

    I agree that you can really be a traveler wherever you are, so long as you don’t lose your curiosity with the world and are invested in celebrating your life. That’s really what trips like these are really about, aren’t they?

    Reply
    • Peter Korchnak

      The road changes you in ways you never imagined. Becoming a perpetual traveler is one of those changes that I did not expect. From what you’ve been saying on your blog, the same (or at least similar) thing happened to you. Enjoy your return Home!

      Reply

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