It’s been over seven months now that we’ve been slowly weaving our way across the great landmass of Eurasia. In that time we’ve passed through nine countries. Not one day is the same, I’m constantly in awe of how varied the earth is. One landscape might remind me of another but always there is something new, something different, the variety within nature seems infinite and is quite astounding. There are in fact very few things which remain constant for us. The changes we experience as we cross another border I find quite phenomenal. Like the wardrobe to Narnia we literally walk through a building and into a vastly different culture with different foods, currency and accompanied mental arithmetic, new written and spoken language, road signage, social norms, driving styles, architecture and building materials, means of energy production, plug sockets, clothing, the list could go on. Our travelling world is dynamic and all this change can send our minds into somewhat of a dazed turmoil as we quite suddenly give up the old that has became semi-familiar and work at adapting to the new. All a great part of the adventure. All taxing stuff!
With all this change and constant unfamiliarity I find myself taking great pleasure and comfort in the little familiar things. Slipping into my snuggly down jacket, sitting down with a good book, settling into the well worn bike saddle for another day, firing up the stove to cook another evening meal, my evening diary writing session, or even the simple routine of brushing the teeth!
Yet the finest and most comforting routine is without a doubt crawling into our beloved tent at the close of another day. 98 times now on this journey we’ve enjoyed this simple pleasure. Surely the most valuable asset we brought with us, our home away from home. Once inside and the zip is closed our world suddenly shrinks into a small cocoon of familiarity. Nothing changes in this little orange dome of homeliness, it’s bright yellow lining brings brightness to any situation. Everyday is sunny inside a yellow tent!
We’ve dived inside, shivering cold and sodden wet, caught short by electrical storms in Kyrgyzstan. We’ve leapt out of it, overheating in the early mornings of high summer in Tajikistan. We’ve not wanted to leave it and head out into driving sleet high on the Tibetan Plateau. We’ve clung on to our Big Orange as it’s been almost ripped off the ground during a particularly memorable midnight weather onslaught in Greece.
I remember fondly some of the interesting spots our little home has stood upon in these 98 nights, they are varied but the inside of the tent goes unchanged. Orchards and vineyards, petrol stations, cafes, hotel balconies, gravel pits, beaches, river banks, police stations, lakesides, playgrounds, ancient fortresses and castles, road roundabouts, public parks, front lawns and backyards, on mountain tops, amongst yurts, and even inside hotels.
Given to us nearly three years ago as a wedding present by my family, our little tent has become much more than just a shelter. It is the one thing most familiar to us as we journey. It is our mobile home for these days. It is a daily place to retreat to and the feeling as we zip up the door, lie down and pull the sleeping bags up tight for another night is always one of happiness! As I write the rain is drizzling, the goat bells (that’s right, not cow bells) are chiming, the distant dogs are barking and the wind turbines are humming, and I’m tucked up all cozy and getting those happy vibes once again.
Thanks Whanau for our little home of 2013!