Year of Wonder – Epilogue

Wedding Day (18 months after the Year of Wonder) San Francisco

So that’s it. Our Year of Wonder is over. Thank you for tuning in and following along with our adventures. I don’t think Christi and I could have done more in the time we had; perhaps you could argue we did too much. It’s only now, looking back that we can begin to take in all the amazing experiences we had. One of the hardest tasks was actually breaking free from the clutches of society. You’d be surprised at how far the rapacious claws of society penetrate into each of our lives. The important thing is that we did it and we got to explore a world beyond our understanding. There is no doubt we were uncomfortable at times, had no clue what was going on most of the time (an advert for learning a second language), but through the kindness and patience of many locals we got by. I am also keenly aware that many of the countries we visited underwent dramatic and violent change not long after we left (notably Mali and the countries of the Arab Spring). The political landscape in Africa is forever changing and I doubt whether we could repeat our route given the current upheavals. Which brings me to another point. Christi and I had a great time on our Year of Wonder. I hope you enjoy your own unique experiences on whatever journey you choose. 

Our travels did not entirely end with our arrival in Barnstaple by the way. Within a week we were in Poland visiting family and then spent several days exploring London, culminating in a trip to Stamford Bridge to watch my beloved football team, Chelsea. We even won the game. Christi’s family live in Los Angeles so that was our next stop. And that was an emotional reunion. It was around this time that our bodies crashed. Adrenaline had kept us going for about 99% of our Year of Wonder, but with no buses to catch, mountains to climb, jungles to hike through, or photos to take (and we took thousands), our adrenaline levels plummeted. For our first few days in Los Angeles all we did was eat, sleep and revel in the good fortune and convenience of living in a westernized country. We finally moved back to Northern California at the end of August, but even then not to San Francisco. I mean the real north of California. We house sat for a month at Christi’s Dad’s place, while the tenant in our San Francisco condo reluctantly moved out.

It’s around this time that we realized we needed jobs. We were not destitute (I’m too good a planner for that), but this was the next step in our reintegration back into society. Christi was offered a job within two weeks of starting her search and returned to UCSF in mid-October. With zero pressure on me now, I enjoyed a more relaxed return to the workforce landing my current job in a few months. In early October we moved back into our condo in San Francisco and recovered our cats from various family members. I don’t think Rembrandt and Witch Hazel quite embraced the Year of Wonder in the same way as Christi and I did, but I think they have finally forgiven us for abandoning them. Our engagement (I proposed on the summit of Kilimanjaro, if you recall) turned into marriage 15 months later and nine months after that (we really are very good planners) Alexander David Phillips arrived. He is of course a gem and we are grooming him for a life of travel. And amid all this chaos, I also found time to write and publish my debut novel, Weary Heart, a gut-wrenching tale of love and test tubes. Feel free to pop over to Amazon and pick yourself up a copy. It’s not bad, even if I do say so myself.

People ask us, knowing what you know now, would you do it again?

Absolutely, we had a fine time.

(By the way, Alexander has just told me he wants to go traveling, so the planning truly starts now!)

Blog post by Roderick Phillips, author of Weary Heart – a gut-wrenching tale of love and test tubes. 



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