Finding the words...

Friends, Readers... we swear, there are some fun wrap-up posts ahead to tie a nice little bow on our adventures. We're so grateful to those of you who followed our trip, it made us feel a lot closer to home and kept us reflecting on our experiences. Posts on deck: Some of the stats of our travels, organized photo libraries, and fun video content. But right now, back to "real life" for just a few weeks, we're finding that looking back at all our adventures is kind of... sad for us.  So we'll write those posts when we feel ready to enjoy them. Soon, I hope. 

Now, the unavoidable adjustment back to regular life is upon us. This part of the journey is distinctly less fun than all the other parts... even those crazy last two weeks in NYC before our trip when we were packing up our apartment, arranging a complicated move, transitioning our jobs responsibilities, seeing friends & fam before we left, buying gear, packing, and taking care of a giant list of to-do's that couldn't wait six months. That time seemed so intense, but in hindsight, it was really part of the fun of it. 

This part hurts. 

We're past the initial high of coming home sweet home, and getting all the hugs, and seeing everyone we missed so dearly. Now we're up to the part where I'm job-seeking, Chris is jumping back into his role, and we're apartment-hunting in a super inflated NYC market. And we're wistful for our travels. It's hard not to be. 

But, we're also so grateful for the experiences we had. While traveling, we met many international friends and learned much outside of the Ameri-sphere. Like the many words in other languages that just don't have an English translation. I love that facet of language... one little word in German may have the equivalent meaning of no less than twenty English words.

My favorite one of those words is the Norwegian term of "friluftsliv". The literal translation is "free-air-life", but the real translation is so much more: 

Friluftsliv:
the feeling of freedom and happiness that comes with
a life spent exploring the wonders of nature.
— Norwegian word

Ahh, how great is that word?! We gobbled up friluftsliv by the fistful on our journey.  Our mutual pursuit of friluftsliv is a huge part of our life together, and was well before we ever met. My parents were my original friluftlivers (this isn't a real word, but it should be)... they told me to go play outside all the time, insisted on nature walks even when we protested, allowed me to explore the freedom of the woods, and introduced us to wondrous National Parks. Chris is also a friluftsliv junkie. From a kid riding his bike all over his Long Island neighborhood to an adult climbing mountains, only he could spend two weeks living in a tent on a glacier and think that it is the bee's knees.

So one of the best gifts that our journey gave us was this concrete word... "friluftsliv!" which explains just how we feel in this world. Thanks, language. 

The other word I learned (and love) is the Danish term "hygge", which is the feeling one gets when you combine coziness and camaraderie. My Dutch friend told me it can apply in all situations, but it's most used with some reference to cold and warmth. 

Hygge:
the ritual of enjoying life by creating a cozy atmosphere
with good people and simple pleasures.
— Danish word

It's the feeling of being in a warm cabin with six dear friends drinking wine and laughing. Or the way it feels to spend a sunny winter morning with your best friend, drinking coffee and playing Scrabble. Or the warm fuzzies you get sitting around a campfire with your family, roasting marshmallows. You get the idea. Well, here's the thing: Because Chris and I were gone for the entire winter, we pretty much missed all the hygge in our life this year. We traded in hygge for some shiny friluftsliv. 

And we realized this is a serious conundrum: How does one truly achieve the exhilaration of friluftsliv while still being close enough to enjoy those blissful moments of hygge? And what makes us happier? What makes YOU happier, friends and readers... friluftsliv or hygge? 

So, not only did we gain so much life experience from our travels, but we gained a whole new vocabulary in which to reference it.

Then, today, I stumbled upon a website, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Oh, internet, you're so weird! I'm not sure if the "conditions" are real of fake, but some of the words (check 'em out below) struck a huge chord in me and made me realize once again how complex some feelings really are. I liken this to the feeling you get when out of nowhere, one little section of a song sends a punch straight to your stomach or makes your heart feel like it might burst, and you think geez, where did that come from?! 

So it turns out, there are WORDS for this coming-back process. Real or not, they describe it damn well. 

Monochopsis (#3) was the first and most prevalent feeling we had upon our return. That's fading slowly, thank GOD. Right now we're in some hard core rückkehrunruhe (#18). It's  amazing how quickly things just go right back to the way they were before we left, except they're also kind of all different. I never knew that onism (#20) could be a thing; this is tied to the frustration of friluftsliv vs. hygge. Why can't we be all the places all the time?!  

Our trip did a great job of opening up our world view. But now we will only inhabit this one tiny little pinpoint on the earth for a while, and the reality of occhiolism (#23) is a little depressing. But most of all, I'm terrified of nodus tollens (#19). I hope the grip of nodus tollens does not take hold of us as we make important choices for our future life here in New York. Some days it feels like it might. And, really, we were so darn happy with our lives before we went off traveling. So if all that wonderful friluftsliv just left us turned totally upside down... was it really worth it? 

The answer is, of course, YES. It's hard verbalize exactly how or why we know it was worth it, but somehow we just do. Maybe there's a Japanese word for that?