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On The Rocks — Unshaken, Deeply Stirred

Having looped the globe, we've now returned to the more intimate circumference of Cape Ann. For the time being, we'll limit our travels to our seasonal migrations around our beloved “Rock” from summer homes to fishing cottages.

Our year off specifically included two months set aside at home to decompress from the trip. When we designated this time we only had a vague notion of how we would spend it. We looked forward to enjoying the ocean that we've generally known only by its sound in the dark when we returned home from work. We would adjust our lifestyle, cook more, exercise more, and continue to enjoy spending every moment together. And, of course, we would mostly spend this precious time reflecting on the meaning of our amazing adventure…whatever that meant.

Our dear friends and hosts in Folly Cove, the Wittkowers, kindly let us leave our things in their cottage over the winter, and instructed us to just “open the door when you return.” They could not have made it any easier for us to physically settle back in, allowing us to get down to the slow business of mental adjustment.

So we spent the summer growing gills in Folly Cove — swimming, fishing, kayaking and sailing around Cape Ann. We spent our days on the rocks in the sun staring out to sea; our nights on those same rocks by the bonfire, staring up into the stars.

We caught up with family and friends, but sometimes not as quickly as we would have liked. We will always be grateful for their understanding and patience as we slowly emerged from our post trip daze.

“So how has the trip changed you?” A good, simple, straight-forward, and heavily loaded question that we are asked and we ask ourselves frequently. We did not experience our epiphany on a mountaintop. No booming voice revealing our true calling in life. Nor have we been able to just tick off the countries on our checklist and move on. Somewhere in between transformation and continuity, many subtle changes have taken up residence deep inside the Rousmanieres. We can't articulate any mass change, only the feeling that our year off will in no small way influence how we chart our lives in the years to come. Time will tell.

In the meantime, we'll continue to cook more, exercise, recycle as best we can, waste less, be more welcoming to strangers and try to leave some mark on the world, but only gently and temporary, like footprints.

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