Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Sweet Home California

Posted from Culver City, California at 4:45 pm, June 12th, 2024

Yesterday our 13-hour (alternate unit of measure: 4.5 movies) flight from Sydney to Los Angeles departed at 9:30am, and through the magic of the international date line we completed the journey across the Pacific and landed in Los Angeles three hours before our departure time at 6:30am. Since then it’s been weird being home again after three months away – I had to figure out where I’d packed my house keys, remember how to work the microwave, attempt to not kill anyone driving on the right side of the road, and re-learn a few other habits that I’ve never had to think about before.

On a positive note, I didn’t realize how nice it would feel to no longer be living out of a backpack; I unpacked things and put them into drawers with tons of available space, and did laundry without having to wonder whether the clothes would be dry before I needed to re-pack them. Similarly, for the first time since March I don’t need to figure out how to ration my two plug adapters when multiple things need to be plugged in, and I don’t have to remember to flip a switch to turn on the outlet when I need power (seriously, why do they make you do that overseas?). It’s rather surreal to be home again – even more so because I’m fighting through jet lag and hugely sleep deprived – but it’s nice to sleep in a familiar bed and sit out in the garden, even if I am going to miss the adventures that took place 7500 miles away.

Below are a few pictures that didn’t make it into past journal entries. I may post a few more as I go through trip photos and find others that didn’t make the cut originally, but otherwise this entry likely marks the last journal for the sabbatical. It’s been fun, if at times challenging, to keep a daily record of events, and it will be nice to have a written account to re-live the trip in the future. I appreciate everyone who has mentioned that they’re following along, as experiences really are more meaningful when they can be shared.

Fairywren, Tasman National Park

A fairywren in Tasman National Park. These fearless and pretty little birds visited us in several places throughout Australia.

Crater Lake, Cradle Mountain National Park

Crater Lake in Cradle Mountain National Park. I’ve not got much cartilage left in my knees, but on this particularly day I decided the views were far too good not to clamber over the rough trail and sacrifice what little soft tissue remains.

Black Currawong, Cradle Mountain National Park

Black Currawong in Cradle Mountain National Park. Audrey LOVED these birds. They’re similar in appearance and behavior to crows, and won’t shut up, making loud, cat-like calls incessantly that echo around the forest.

5 responses to “Sweet Home California”

  1. I remember after a previous trip back from Australia the hardest thing was getting the windshield wipers and turn signal levers right again!

    1. In Australia we got some rental cars with the turn signal on the left stalk and some with it on the right stalk, so I haven’t confidently signaled a turn in three months. Since getting home I’ve turned on the windshield wipers while turning twice, and I haven’t managed to sleep through the night yet. It’s going to take a while to figure out how to not be in Australia anymore.

  2. Welcome homw…thanks so much for the adventure….so fun to read along with ya’lls adventure & see such amazing creatures and landscapes as you encountered them. This has been fun and I can’t wait to actually see ya’ll and hear all about it first-hand!

    …..I love this fairywren…too much!

    1. I like how you showed up every few weeks throughout the trip with a half dozen comments. There were several nights where I commented to Audrey that Nancy was back, and we both laughed at your running commentary as you caught up with everything we’d been doing. Come visit soon, or else we’ll need to come up there to see you.

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