travel for a year

A sort of homecoming

by Larissa on October 22, 2012

We’re back in the USA. After 400+ days, 6 continents, 31 countries and 100,000 miles we’re home . . . sort of.

Our goal was to get away from a destructive family situation, using time and miles to help us heal. Our plan: travel for a year around the world. As our mascot Little Rocky would say, “to go the distance.” We’re happy to report that we have indeed been there and done that.

Now what? In the short time since our return we’ve begun to reconnect with friends and family. After more than a year of totally new and different people, places, sights and sounds we’re enjoying the comfort of familiarity, the ability to put our senses on auto-pilot and just hang out for a bit.

Larissa Michael Rocky statue

Little Rocky is finally reunited with the Rocky statue.

It’s great to be back, but we’re not really home. Technically we don’t have a home, since we sold our house and gave away most of our stuff before we left. Renting a house or apartment and resuming our lives as before could remedy that easily enough.

But that’s not going to happen. The place we once called home may be more or less the same, and very comfortable, but we’ve changed. As the world became our home our need for personal space shrunk, and we no longer have a need for all the stuff we used to have. We learned to adapt to new environments and situations quickly and to revel in soaking up new experiences.

We’re not going back to our former careers. Instead we’ll keep traveling, keep learning, keep writing, and keep providing tools for others to “Just Go Already.” There are still many stories and travel tips to share and we’ll be writing here, for the Philadelphia Inquirer and other media outlets. We’re also writing a book about our experience. (Anyone know a book agent or publisher?)

So stay along for the ride. The trip may be over, but the journey has just begun.

And you hunger for the time
Time to heal, desire, time
And your earth moves beneath
Your own dream landscape.

—A Sort of Homecoming by U2

PS. Long-time readers may recall that we started out at the base of the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia and would run up the steps when we returned. Well we did:


Many thanks to our friend Paula for taking the photos and video. She had a remarkably steady hand!


Katja October 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

Yay! I’m so excited for you. Can’t wait to hear about your continuing journey …

Jeff October 22, 2012 at 8:46 am

Congratulations. So happy you got video of the event!

Mary Lou Tucker October 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

Well done you guys. I haven’t commented for a long time but have followed your journey. It’s addictive the travel thing, isn’t it? Nice to have a change of clothes and shoes though I’ll bet!


Merryl October 22, 2012 at 8:49 am

Welcome “home”. I really enjoyed reading your posts and, at times, felt like I was traveling with you. I’ve learned so many fascinating things about places & people that I never would have discovered had it not been for your great adventures! Thanks.

Joel Chusid October 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

Welcome home! I knew the travel bug would bite you. It bit me at age 16, but everyone reacts differently. Glad our paths crossed over the Pacific and in Buenos Aires. Did you ever get to the Armenian high school dinner?

Andrea October 22, 2012 at 9:26 am

Glad you’ve decided to continue travelling, I knew you wouldn’t be able to give it up! I hope we’ll cross paths again soon. 🙂

Schub October 22, 2012 at 10:03 am

Welcome back guys!
Although I have not commented back, as often as I should have, I have enjoyed following you through your travels. I was not looking forward to an empty travel mailbox from you both, so it’s great to hear that you will be continuing to travel and write.
I hope the time was cathartic and wish you the best in your travelling future.

MissElaineous October 22, 2012 at 10:09 am

Hooray! Good for you guys – and still fit enough to run up those steps!!! G;ad you’re back – look forward to witnessing the journey ahead.

Rose October 22, 2012 at 10:19 am

Welcome back home. I did not think you would be able to stay in one place for any length of time after your wonderful 400 days of travel. I look forward to your next adventure! Stay tuned……

Fran Kuber October 22, 2012 at 10:46 am

Welcome home – as much as you travel – there is always a home! I have been following your site from the beginning – and enjoyed every post – may God bless you as you move on to new things. Thank you for sharing your adventures. xo

Elise October 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

welcome back! what an adventure you have had! thanks for letting us live vicariously through it! xoxo

Fred Allen Barfoot October 22, 2012 at 11:10 pm

So, you’re passing through? If you’re around a while, I’d love to see you — back in your old temporary neighborhood. If you’re still moving, keep me in the loop. Cheers — and welcome to one of the world’s most livable cities.

Doz & Amanda October 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Congratulations on getting there and back again! 🙂
It was a pleasure to spend time with you on your travels and to play a tiny role in the adventure.
Good luck ‘settling in’ after that, we think it’s the hardest part 🙂 I bet you’re already planning the next trip!
You are an inspiration to us all!
D & A

Michael October 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm

HI Jeff,

You inspired our video skills.



Michael October 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Hi Joel,

Never made the dinner but had plenty of other adventures in Buenos Aires. Thanks for the tips.

Michael October 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

We’ll still be writing so keep on checking in.

Michael October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm

It was a whirlwind visit to Philly. We’ll let you know when we return.

Michael October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm

When will we see you in the US?

Barb October 24, 2012 at 12:20 am

Hi Michael & Larissa,
I know, everyone goes back to where they left. But, I really cannot imagine you guys just jumping back into your former lives. You have grown in new ways. I honestly felt that the door was just opening instead of closing.

Great as to see you guys on the museum steps. It makes me nostalgic…
Carry on my friends!!

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Yep, the wanderlust never goes away. . . so we’ve got to get all the writing done and head out again!

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Looking at the clothes I left behind was like going on a shopping spree! Although I wonder why I kept many of the things I did. I’ve already donated a significant amount of clothing that I had in storage.

Definitely fun to try on all my shoes, though 😉

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Lots more that hasn’t been told yet. . . so stay tuned 🙂

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm

We’ll definitely stay in touch–we may need advice for road trips in Europe!

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Definitely cathartic, and we hope to hold onto that feeling with continued adventures 🙂

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Fortunately our friend Paula did a great job of videotaping the event–not sure we’d have made it through “Take 2”.

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Keep reading along, and let us know if there’s something you’d like to see. . . 🙂

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Happy to share, and glad you’ve enjoyed them–there’s plenty more to come!

Larissa October 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm

You’re right Barb, the door is indeed opening. . . we’ll keep moving and keep reporting! 🙂

Will L. October 25, 2012 at 7:39 am

Welcome home (sort of, right?)!

Congrats! I see the joy of traveling in that picture on the “Rocky Steps!”

I think you made a good point about “changing” – how can such experiences not change you? People that have never traveled will not understand until they do!

BTW, the Rocky video made me laugh! Nice song!

Michael October 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

Thanks Will,

Glad you liked the music on the video. It’s certainly a different take on the Rocky theme.

Take care, Larissa & Michael

Kathryn October 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm

This is my first visit to your site and I’m really looking forward to following your on going journey. Happy travels!

Michael October 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Thanks Kathryn,

And we look forward to having you along for the ride.


Richard Needham October 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I am in Shanghai today, near the Jing’An temple where we met last year for a photo-op with Rocky. Briefly,I will go back there this morning as a remembrance and maybe buy a donught at Donut King! I will soon be back in Philly but then we drive across the US to or new home in Redwood City, CA. We are back in Philly in Jan. to hopefully get our house ready to sell and hope to connect with you then. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, and best to you.

Jan October 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Enjoyed the video!! I have lived vicariously through your adventures this past year. Especially loved the food videos!! Might be on to something there. Take care & best wishes for whatever you choose to do next.

Michael October 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

Definitely get together before you leave for good.

Michael October 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hi Jan,

Thanks for following the journey and the tip about the food videos. We should do more of those.



Cindy Papazian McHugh November 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Good for you both! As for stuff, less is more (so cliche, but true). I haven’t been able to keep up with your journey as much as I’d like to, but I do check in here and there. If you keep traveling, Armenia is still a must :). Take care.
Cindy and Tim

Michael November 7, 2012 at 12:54 am

Thanks Cindy. Keep following the journey!

Bernard McNamee November 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

thanks for sharing.
an inspiration for all.

Tim November 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm

What an incredible journey! Good luck as you continue on.

Steve November 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. When does the book come out?

Michael December 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Hi Bernie,

Thanks for that.

Michael December 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Who knows, maybe it never ends. Thanks!

Michael December 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

We are working on a book proposal right now. If any of our readers know an agent or publisher who might be interested in working with us please let us know.


Sib December 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

You guys are very inspiring. That takes gut to do that.

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