We’ve been calling our trip ‘Around the Balkans in 37 Days’ after the classic Jules Verne story of Phileas Fogg and his valet Passpartout. We’ve visited seven or eight countries depending on who is counting and had ten or eleven stops, again depending on how we count, and have used planes, trains, ferries, hired cars, rental cars, buses, taxis and our tired feet to cover well over three thousand kilometers in the Balkans and an additional fifteen thousand getting there and back. Phew!!
We are glad to be returning home, anxious to see what awaits us that we have missed. We would be excited but we lack the energy for that. We have been winding down for the past several days, finding more fault with everything and everyone than we ever would have in the majority of our trip, perhaps as a way of separating from the adventure in order to accomplish the return. We are also creating a readiness to separate from each other as we have been these last five weeks. We are on the cusp as we wait in the airport for our long flight home.
It has been a classic hero’s journey, setting out from our ordinary world to explore and discover new places and people, learning as we go, meeting the challenges set before us, and returning home different than we left. We had only a very loose plan so we have had to craft our way along. We have been lost many times, surprised many times, and awed and delighted by what we have seen. We have learned about the history of this part of the world, the long interconnected road that has led to this portrait of the area. We have been humbled by the strength and courage of the people, and enjoyed their consistently friendly helpful natures.
We return with the gifts of knowledge and experience of the diversity, the beauty of the Balkans, and with a renewed appreciation for the riches of home. It is all zelo dobro!