07 October 2009

Days 132-

Tired, Coming home, originally uploaded by Ryan Runs Europe.

Whatever it is, I'm measuring it in miles from here on out!
The past few days have been very busy, just as the past few months have been and I'm sure the next few months will be...but all in very different ways.
In the very early morning, Vicky drove me to the Athens airport and I checked in for my long flight. According to the person running the check-in counter, I was the only person on the flight without checked baggage. Strange considering that I was coming home from over four months of traveling. It was just me and the same twenty dollar blue backpack that has been with me through so many crazy days and nights.
The whole flight home thing was a very last minute arrangement. Throughout the middle, and up until the last several days of my journey, I had always wanted to try to find a ship back to the United States. I figured that I should take the slow way across water, as I had taken a pretty slow way across land and gained a lot from it. As I got near to Athens however, I got wind that my brother was planning to visit my dad with a few mutual friends in the coming weekend, so I started daydreaming about a sudden reunion. I talked with my mom and my friend Alex from school, and we worked out my ticket back to Seattle, and his ticket there from the east coast as well. I would fly into Seattle, meet him, my mom and sister at the airport, spend the night in Olympia (Washington, not Greece!) and then drive down to my dad's ranch in northern California the next morning...where I would surprise him with my arrival, and my brother and some more friends would meet me soon after. It all seemed a little bit impossible...seeing much of my family and friends halfway across the world in a matter of days, and at such short notice. It seemed almost too crazy to try, and while I'm sure I could have spent a little more time in Greece and making my way home, I was starting to get a little bit tired. I missed a lot of things back home. Some things that are obvious, some that I wouldn't have ever thought of before leaving. I wanted a real American breakfast, a burrito, to run without a backpack, to eat ethnic food, to go up to a stranger and know that they could speak my language, to wear deodorant and an outfit that didn't consist of the same two t-shirts and two pairs of shorts that I have been wearing for 132 days, to make something with my hands, to work in Rhino/CS/CAD/Processing, and to see a face or a stretch of road that I had seen before. These things were waiting for me in my home, the United States of America...and that is where I was going.
A stop in Madrid, and a stop in Chicago. 21 hours of travel time, and amazingly everything went according to plan. In one day I traveled several times the distance that I had traveled in over four months. I met my mom, sister and college roommate at the airport, and about 24 hours later I knocked on my dad's door. He sure was surprised to see me: it wasn't long before that he had heard about my arrival in Athens. My brother came in the next morning, and the past few days have been spent living the life in small town America. Waking up early, eating a good breakfast, shooting guns, riding horses, drinking, arguing and laughing. I've gotten a couple easy runs in as well. It feels a little strange to be back home...but not as strange as I had expected. It seems like I've been here forever...but every time I take off my shirt and see that ridiculous backpack tan line, I'm reminded that I just got back from one very long adventure.
So, what are the plans for the future? Well, I'd like to say I've got it all covered, but really I've only got the vague outlines at the moment. Kind of like having an itinerary of European towns but nowhere to stay. I'll go back to Washington for a few days and visit with friends, and then I'll make my way back to the east coast. All of my stuff is in a storage container in downtown Manhattan. I've got to go there and very quickly find some sort of job that will give me enough money to pay the rent in a cheap room (that I have yet to find) while I finish my architecture portfolio and do all of the work for my applications for graduate schools in architecture. Those are due in December, and after that I'll be looking for a more committed job in what will hopefully be an insane design firm. If everything goes right, I'll be going back to school next September. Three more years of that, and then...well...something else more exciting.
I expect to keep running, and I'd like to eventually train for a real marathon and get back on the track. For now I'm happy to think that I'll at least be running with other people once again.
Wherever I go though, I've got a lot of new friends and experiences to help me on my way. I'll try keep in touch here and post an update from time to time with somewhat relevant changes.


  1. I'm so happy you were able to have a great family reunion! Mama is the best! Good luck to you and your next adventures in the States. Thanks for still keeping us posted. You have a large internet family here, so don't forget about us.

  2. So happy things went okay going home. Sounds like the next few years will be like every day in Europe; winging it, waiting for something amazing to fall in your lap which, if this trip is anything to go by, something definitely will!

  3. There's no place like home, right?

    Thanks for taking us along on your amazing adventure, we had a blast!

    best of luck with those applications! :o)

  4. Please do update from time to time. I don't want to quit cold turkey!

    Congratulations again.

  5. Ryan, that was just plain epic. You rule. If you drop by NL again sometime, let me know!

  6. if u decide to do a run of Cali... let me know, there is a spare room to rest your bones....

  7. I followed your run through Europe;
    I enjoyed your take on things I knew, and things I didn't even more. I love your wandering spirit. Bon voyage, on the many more miles of your life, take care

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