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Dreaming of Trader Joes and Other Signs of the Homestretch

It’s official: We purchased our return plane tickets and on June 12th, shop we’ll be back in San Francisco after a one year tour around the world. Now in Brazil, ambulance we’re on the homestretch. With only a four hour time difference, see home doesn’t feel that far off. We’ve noticed a major shift in our mentality as we wrap up our last two months of travel.

What are the signs that we’re ready to come home?

I’m dreaming about shopping the produce section of Trader Joe’s: After ten months of trying to find safe dining places where you won’t have to take antibiotics after consuming a piece of lettuce, we can’t wait to cook our own food. We’ve started renting apartments with kitchens so that we can cook ourselves: Better for our budget and our bodies.

We’re going Insane to come home in good shape: Since our travel experience includes eating anything and everything in a given country, Jenni and I have gained a combined 12 pounds. On my 33rd birthday on March 2nd, I started the Insanity fitness program and have been consistently power-squatting and jump-tucking my way across Rio. We’ve also started limiting ourselves to one empanada a day (you don’t even want to know how many we were having before). When we began this trip, we had dreamed of coming home in the best shape of our lives. Now, we’re just trying to get back to the same size we were when we left.

We’re phasing out the safari-wear:While the quick-dry cargo-shorts look worked perfectly for the Serengeti and the Himalayas, you’d look pretty silly in your NorthFace gear at a club in metropolitan Rio de Jainero or Buenos Aires. Every time we go out for a night in town, I stare forlornly at my limited clothing options (should I wear flip-flops or sneakers?) and wish desperately for access to my closet at home. Meanwhile, Jenni is so sick of having bad hair that she has sacrificed travel minimalism to buy a hairdryer.

Jenni is planning the interior decoration of our house: Believe it or not, Jenni and I never lived the lesbian dream of playing house, raising pets, and making homemade hummus. We delayed the whole U-Haul thing and had two separate residences up until we left. Now that we’re returning to one home, Jenni can’t wait to start filling it up with all the furniture, kitchenware, and furnishings that she always wanted but didn’t have space for in her little studio. We explored furniture stores in Brazil looking for ideas. We bargained with several Indian carpet makers. We debated about numerous Cambodian paintings. We haven’t been able to agree on anything and have only concluded that we have completely different tastes. But we talk about our new home all the time now.

We’ve become terrible tourists: Jenni and I had lots of ideas about places to visit in Brazil after arriving in Rio. But then we never left Rio. Packing, unpacking, and planning take a considerable amount of effort (not to mention money), and we’ve lost some of our energy to race around the globe. Based on our experience, we’ve learned to stop when we’ve run into a good thing. And with it’s samba clubs, gay beaches, and delicious street food, Rio de Janeiro is a very good thing.

We’re starting to think about getting back to a 9-5: Of course, the biggest transition to life back home will be returning to a job. Jenni restarts her role at eBay in July. I’m currently reading “What Color is My Parachute?” and gearing up for the big job hunt. Our project with Out & Around has kept us from becoming useless sloths this year. We’ve kept a pretty regular 10-2 “work” schedule and have gained lots of new transferable skills from our project such as marketing, networking, web development, writing, and filmmaking. Our time off this year has given us new energy to pursue our careers once we get home. Work isn’t a bad thing. And after seeing how much of the rest of the world lives, we feel incredibly grateful to have opportunities and resources waiting for us at home.

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4 Responses

  1. Wow, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover you guys! I’m enjoying going back and reading old posts at the moment 🙂 I’d be ecstatic to be coming back to Trader Joe’s, I think even yesterday I mentioned to my girlfriend that I though moving to Europe for awhile would be interesting…but I’d really miss Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

    Thanks for this amazing blog!

    1. We love your blog too! We recently just read the book Food Matters, and have been trying to eat less meat and more vegetables. Very hard to do when you are in Brazil and Argentina. Just checked out your amazing vegetable recipes and can’t wait to get into a kitchen. We’ll be following your blog closely.

  2. How to make homemade hummus:

    1 clove garlic
    1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, half the liquid reserved
    4 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons tahini
    1 clove garlic, chopped
    1 teaspoon salt
    black pepper to taste
    2 tablespoons olive oil

    In a blender, chop the garlic. Pour garbanzo beans into blender, reserving about a tablespoon for garnish. Place lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt in blender. Blend until creamy and well mixed.
    Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans. Enjoy

  3. lisa you’re such a great writer! thanks for keeping me in tune as always with the fun and quirky sides of your travel and experience as well as the serious. can’t wait to see you in june!!!

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