Two months ago today, I landed in Boston, coincidentally at a domestic terminal as I had cleared U.S. customs in Dublin.  I had just enough time on the ground there to publish my last blog post, drink a Guinness and board the last flight home.  My seat mate was a young girl who had been an au pair in Germany for the previous 5 months and we commiserated about the reentry that we would both be experiencing after our time away from the U.S.

I mostly wanted to write this last post to let everyone know that all of my pictures are now online.  If you click the link to the right where it says “Photos” you can scroll through thousands of images from my five months of travel.  They are organized chronologically and separated into albums by countries (or parts of countries for Nepal).  I have spared myself hours of time by not labeling them but if you have questions, feel free to contact me.  You can either see the thumbnails or click on any photo to see the enlarged version and click through from there.

Many local people have asked if I will be doing a slideshow of highlights from my trip.  I suspect I will but it will probably be later, maybe in the winter when images of steamy Cambodia or flowers in Hawaii will be most welcome.  I’ve also heard lots of comments about writing a book.  Who knows about that one?

So how has it been to return to life in Vermont after a year of travel?  I’ve barely had time to think about it.  It’s been a whirlwind of a summer so far.  I was at school 3 days after I arrived home to register my next year’s class, followed by a very fun college reunion the weekend after I returned.  I’ve really enjoyed connecting with friends and family here and in Maine.  In June, my grandmother (who died while I was in Nepal) was buried here and despite the sadness of the occasion it was a pleasure to see family who gathered for the weekend.  I was able to pull off a century (100 mile) bike ride the end of June which meant that I have spent a fair amount of time on my bike getting myself more or less ready for that ride.

And there have been challenges.  We are selling our house and that entails cleaning out over 20 years of accumulations and getting it ready to go on the market.  It is a wee bit easier to let go of the “stuff” after living so simply on the road.  I’ll be happy to know another family will be living here at some point (or at least that’s my hope) while I find a smaller place to settle.  Not knowing how soon that will be, I haven’t looked around much yet but I’m planning on staying in town.

The other terrible challenge is knowing that my Belgian friend, Debbie, with whom I shared my hostel room in Nepal, my language classes and my trek met a horrible fate.  She was trekking alone her last week in Nepal and was killed, most likely by a serial killer.  She was with me when the boy died in the mountains and it is a terrible twist of fate that she also ended her life in Nepal.  I’m still trying to come to terms with her death.

In the meantime, life goes on here, still blissfully summer in Vermont.  I attended a wonderful conference about literacy and picture book art a couple of weeks ago that has helped me make the transition back to my kindergarten teacher life.  I need to reclaim my classroom and get ready for a new school year. My travels will certainly affect my teaching.  Already I have purchased more multi-cultural books for my students and I have new chimes I picked up in Bhutan for indicating transitions.  The effects of my time around the world will continue to make themselves known to me as time goes by.  All I know for sure at this point is that I need to find a way to get back on a plane again sometime before too long.  It was a truly wonderful adventure.


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  1. Liz Samenfeld-Specht

     /  August 1, 2012

    Hi Ellen, I have been wondering how transitioning had been going. I am so sorry to hear about your friends death. It sounds as though life is very busy for you, but I am hoping that at some point we can have a mini reunion. Take care of yourself and good luck with the house. Love, Liz S-S

  2. Barbara

     /  August 3, 2012

    While it was wonderful to see the world through your blog, it has been even better to have you home! Can’t wait to look at all the pictures…….and read the book!

  3. Margaret Di Stasio

     /  September 28, 2012

    Hello Ellen, I chanced upon your blog on a travel site and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures. I’m Australian, in my 50s and was bitten by the travel bug while teaching for a year in Kuwait. Isn’t it just the most exhilarating experience to dive into a culture so different from our own, becoming braver with each risk we take. Well done, you are an inspiration.


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