Mid August marked the six month milestone for my year off. I spent the first quarter of the year at home in Baton Rouge enjoying my city with a new level of freedom that was a good transition into this experimental year. We spent the second quarter mostly traveling and planning all the logistics around trips. So far in this third quarter we’ve made some of the last of our planned trips and we’re starting to build a routine. The month was a time for a lot of reflection on where the first half of the year had taken me and my family and also on where we were going with the second half of this journey.
We have had an uncountable number of great experiences together and, as always, learned a lot. Lots of new people to meet, new things to see and interesting stories to hear. All from being in a new place and and from regional travel. The high frequency travel portion of our year has, however, substantially ended after the South Beach camping trip. And with the start of classes at Village Home, the focus is now shifting to learning and enjoying our time together in different ways.
We stayed good on our tight budget for the first half of the year, but in September we essentially went off budget. It was somewhat of a vacation month. I had read many other people’s stories on long-term career breaks and many suggest taking a vacation inside that time. We did that with our trips in September and with our day to day undisciplined spending. As odd as it might sound to take a vacation within the year off, it really is important to still take a step back from the new norm. A vacation, however it comes, is a good way to change perspectives and see things differently again.
There were no routines yet this year outside Kelly’s Monday cooking job, and now we’re up to four days a week of part time class schedules. Our commute together is a lot of fun now on the buses and trains to get to class. Everyone is taking to the change with a lot of enthusiasm and joy. It’s great to see.
The weather out here, being so different from Louisiana, is still fascinating. We have already lost five hours of daylight since late June and we are only midway between the summer and winter solstice. We’re in late September now and we have had hardly any rain all summer, only brilliantly clear blue skies. So many days with no trace of clouds. But now it’s turning grey, misty and cool and I expect that is what the next many months will mostly look like. Everyone talks about the long, grey, rainy winters here that are only mildly cold. I’m looking forward to seeing it first hand. Still cautiously optimistic that it will be a comfortable winter here.
We covered a lot of ground in the first half and I’m sure this next half will be just as rewarding and transformative to us all.