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Posted by on Dec 5, 2013

A Primer for Our Re-Entry Onto U.S. Soil


We will be returning to the States in just 10 days. But much like the wrongly-imprisoned Amanda Knox, a kidnapped Elizabeth Smart or even an astronaut returning from space, our re-entry into your society probably will not be a smooth one. Therefore I’ve come up with a list of Dos and Don’ts when meeting with us to make the transition easier for both of us.


1. Throw us parties, large get-togethers or parades. Since it’s been mostly just Jill and I traveling together we frighten easily among large groups of people.

2. Ask us if we want another piece of pizza. Of course we do. Just put it on our plate.

3. Only ask us what our favorite country was that we visited (Japan for Jill, Cambodia for me) when talking with us about our trip. I admit, this is probably the one thing I would ask someone who just returned from a year-long trip, but it was really about so much more than that.

4. Ask Jill if she wants more ice cream. Of course she does. Though she prefers gelato to ice cream (Italy is running low after our visit there).

Yes, I will have another cone. Thank you!

Yes, I will have another cone. Thank you!

5. Ask what we plan to do next. Sure, it was something we were going to figure out over the past year, but we were too busy doing fun stuff. We’ll figure it out eventually.

6. Ask why in our pictures we were always wearing the same clothes. There’s a downside to trying to pack light for an around-the-world trip.

These shirts, and this scarf, are soon to be retired. They have seen so much of the world!

These shirts, and this scarf, are soon to be retired. They have seen so much of the world!

7. Tell us what happened in the most recent season of: Homeland, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Parks & Recreation and Three’s Company (I assume Jack and Chrissy hooked up, but don’t want to know the details).

8. Ask if we want another taco. We do. Because of the scarcity of Mexican food elsewhere in the world (though surprisingly it’s growing), we haven’t had good Mexican food for quite a while.

Quite possibly the last time we had Mexican food - it was in Cambodia!

Quite possibly the last time we had Mexican food – it was in Cambodia!

9. Be deceived if we look relaxed and stress-free. Traveling is highly stressful and takes a lot out of you. Just the other day while we were lying on the beach along Turkey’s coast I asked Jill if we had to wait until noon to open a bottle of wine. She said we didn’t. It was a relief to not have to worry about that.

See? Traveling is really stressful.

See? Traveling is really stressful.

10. Ask if I’ll be watching _____ sporting event. After a year away from the U.S. I’ve come to realize sports don’t really matter and there’s so much more to life. Hah! Did you really believe that? Yes, I will be watching ______ sporting event. Anything but soccer.


1. If you see us in a bar, feel free to buy us a beer. You can say something like, “I don’t think they had this IPA when you were in the States, why don’t you give it a try?”

2. Ask a good follow-up question to the “What was your favorite country” question. Something like: Were there any countries you didn’t like? How was your volunteer experience? What country were you surprised you liked? Are Japanese toilets really that nice? Since Jill and I are often forced to make things up to have conversations, these are some of the questions we’ll ask each other. Be creative!

3. Feel free to give us hand-me-downs. See clothes-picture reference above.

4. Ask us for advice on wines to buy from New Zealand or Australia. We’re always happy to talk about wine and did enough “research” in those countries to feel somewhat knowledgeable.

Don't let all this good knowledge go to waste!

Don’t let all this good knowledge go to waste!

5. Ask if we want to babysit. Doug pays $12 an hour to watch his kids. Sounds reasonable. Please have pizza or tacos and ice cream in the house (see above). We’ll bring our own booze!

See how good we are with kids??

See how good we are with kids??

6. Let us know if you hear about any paid government research studies going on. I’m looking for something with hair replacement, while Jill wants to participate in one of those “Is chocolate really healthy for you?” studies.

7. Have Boys/Girls Night Out. We could use a little time apart.

8. Ask us how you can do a trip like this yourself. Actually, this should be directed at Jill since I have no idea how she did it even though I was present for all of it.

It will be good to see everyone when we get back. But use your time with us wisely, you never know when we might be off on our next adventure!!!



  1. My gift to you – free Breaking Bad episodes! I’m hooked!!

    I know what my favorite country was…okay, it was my only country, but it was fun. Looking forward to seeing you guys! Enjoy the cruise.


  2. Re:#5 – Done. Please let us know your availability for every Saturday night starting in January. And Wednesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. We will have the pantry stocked (when isn’t it) but the rate is cut in half on the days that you only have Sloane because Anna has a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

  3. I’m in for doing/asking/watching with you on all of the above. Our kids do need a little “time with Uncle Dave” so Beth and I are planning our around the world trip this weekend. Forget $12 an hour, how about use of a good shower and nice house plus all the Lou Mal’s you can eat???

  4. This is useful. Instructions on how to interact with you. Phew!XOXO

  5. Dave:

    Surprisingly enough–somehow I have managed to save a 12 pack of Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA.

    Babs is out buying gelato.

    Love you guys. See you soon!!

  6. I wonder whether #8 (Do’s) will begin to answer #5 (Don’ts).

    ps Jen + Brad will be a wealth of information and support on successful re-entry I have no doubt 😉

    Have fun! xxx

  7. Jill and Dave are on a cruise home and in deep digital detox without access to the Internets. I’m sure they appreciate your wise and witty comments.

  8. Welcome home Dave and Jill. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your trip! I ran into Dave’s parents one year ago and Mona sent me the link to your blog. Little did I know how much I’d enjoy your stories, the pictures are terrific. So, thanks and enjoy your next odyssey. All the best.

  9. I will study very carefully!
    Saving a few bottles of wine we picked up through the year! Yes we will ask your opion (but something tells me we won’t have to ask).
    Also a little guy is waiting very patiently to meet his Aunt and Uncle, I am sure you can babysit anytime!