Coming back after a long trip can be an experience in itself. We’ve been back in the US for 2 weeks now after spending 6 months in Argentina and Chile.
Buenos Aires is a drama queen–she cried the day before we left all day (AKA it rained). Seattle welcomed us in the only way it knows how: 5 straight days of rain. Awesome.
Luckily, things have improved since then and so far, we really like it here.
It’s a little weird being back in the US…
Probably the weirdest thing is how big the cups are when you order a drink and just general food portions – not hard to understand the underlying cause of the obesity problem here.
The second weirdest thing is that pretty much everyone is speaking English all the time. Even after 2 weeks we still have to stop ourselves from speaking in Spanish when encountering strangers (e.g., “permiso” instead of “excuse me”). Not an issue when in a real conversation with someone we know, but we’re just so accustomed to assuming that all strangers are Spanish speakers that it may take awhile to adjust.
Also, it’s quite a bit more expensive here, but we expected that.
Good news: It doesn’t really feel like being ‘back’…
There are several reasons why it feels like we are basically still on our crazy adventure despite being back in the US:
- We’ve never lived in Seattle before, so are really enjoying exploring a new city together (it doesn’t hurt that Seattle is pretty great)
- Much like in South America, we still don’t have our own place to live and are bouncing around in temporary housing (special thanks to my sister and Jen’s parents for giving us places to stay!)
- We are still wearing the same clothes and living out of the same suitcases – due to poor planning, all of our other clothes are still in storage in San Francisco
- We are still gainfully unemployed – unsurprisingly, this makes quite a big difference in one’s daily schedule and level of stress
- We decide what we do each day – We still get to spend tons of time with each other, wake-up whenever we want and do whatever we think we’d enjoy each day
It’s pretty cool actually… While we will obviously need to address the unemployment thing in the near future (or at least the income thing) and would like to have our own place to live and some clothes without holes in them, our goal is to keep the general feeling of freedom and enjoyment of life going indefinitely. I wasn’t sure what to expect upon return, but at this point, I’m extremely optimistic that we can make our change in mindset and lifestyle permanent.
So what have we been doing….?
We spent the bulk of the last 2 weeks driving around, getting to know the different neighborhoods of Seattle and looking at apartments. At first we were looking for short-term furnished apartments, but we quickly discovered that for the most part short-term furnished options are either very, very expensive, or very, very crappy and sometimes both. So, instead we started looking at real apartments and we found one that we absolutely love.
As of Oct. 12th, we are excited to say that we’ll be living just off Green Lake – only a block from my sister! My sister and I haven’t lived in the same half of the country since high-school, so it should be really fun to be neighbors. She just moved to Seattle in August, so we will get to explore the city together.
Did we mention that housing in Seattle is like half the cost of San Francisco??? This super-modern 2 bedroom right off of the lake with a patio and washer dryer in one of the pricier Seattle neighborhoods will cost significantly less than the small 1-bedroom we had back in SF. I understand the value proposition of living in the Bay Area less and less (though ask me again after it rains here all winter).
Other than looking for housing, we’ve really enjoyed spending time with Jen’s parents and my sister and her new puppy Murphy.
What about getting a dog…?
We’re still absolutely planning on getting a dog and having lives that allow us to keep it alive (was a major consideration in our housing options). That said, spending as much time as we have with Murphy has altered our perspective on it a little bit… Murphy is a 5 month old Golden Retriever puppy and is unbelievably cute and fun.
Murphy is one of the most gentle and well behaved puppies we’ve ever met. Nonetheless, Murphy is an unbelievable amount of work and we have the utmost respect for my sister who works incredibly hard every day to keep him healthy and happy. After some puppy-sitting, our view on getting a dog has changed in two primary ways:
- We no longer feel the same degree of urgency – we’ll still get a dog sometime in the next several months, but no longer do we feel the need to get one immediately (it helps that we will only live a block away from Murphy)
- We are no longer dead-set on getting a puppy – while Murphy is unbelievably cute and it seems like a really cool thing to be able to be with a dog as he/she develops, spending more time with Murphy has also opened our eyes to the many potential benefits of getting a slightly older and already somewhat trained rescue dog. We’ll see…
What about job stuff…?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Actually, Jen has been having lots of networking meetings and even had her first interview earlier this week (ironically, it was for a consulting firm… but a very, very different type of consulting firm – more on that later).
I will continue to play with start-up ideas at least through the end of this year and will likely write more about some of them as things progress (which will be much, much easier once we have our own place to live!).
What about friends/social stuff…?
So far so good. We haven’t been super focused on this yet as we’ve been mostly running around trying to find a place to live, but we’ve reconnected with a few old friends that live here and are already making some new friends.
We were lucky enough to get an email from Warren and Betsy from http://www.marriedwithluggage.com who read our last post that we were coming to Seattle and wanted to connect to introduce us to some folks here before they left on their own long-term trip (after 2 years of planning, they are finally leaving today for 3 years!). It turns out that they were the Seattle hosts of Meet, Plan, Go! which you may remember from our earlier post. They had been running weekly happy hours for people that are interested in getting together and talking about career breaks and/or long-term travel and we were able to attend one. It was great meeting Warren and Betsy (and we look forward to keeping in touch while they are on the road and following their great blog) and it’s also really exciting to get in touch we such a dynamic and eclectic community of people interested in travel here in Seattle – a great first step to making sure we have a diverse social network. We are eager to attend future happy hours.
We continue to enjoy life while we settle ourselves into Seattle and co-create our new lives here together. Exciting stuff.
p.s. stay tuned – we promise to get back to a more regular blogging schedule and still have tons of stuff to say about Argentina and Chile and Career Breaks and long-term travel and other stuff too.