After 476 days, more than half of them at sea in a 44-foot sailboat, my younger daughter Hannah returned home last night.
She began her travels by flying to Trinidad. There, she met the two friends she would sail across the Pacific with. From Trinidad, the trio sailed north to St. Maarten to provision their small craft. And then from St. Maarten, they sailed west, through the Panama Canal some thousands of miles of open ocean across to Fiji.
Hannah's travels included time in New Zealand, three months of running a dive shop in Fiji, back to New Zealand, then, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Croatia, half a dozen cities in Italy, Ghent, Belgium, then South Hampton, Liverpool and London in England.
I worried with Hannah that on her return she would feel toward the human race like Gulliver did on his return from his travels.
In all the lands Gulliver visited, the only civilized beings he came upon were the Houyhnhnms--a race of exceptionally intelligent and democratic horses who ruled over the people of the land--the Yahoos (no exclamation point, in this case.) The Yahoos were inelegant, stupid and dull--beasts of burden, deserving of little consideration or respect.
Gulliver was so disgusted with people--Yahoos--on his return to London, that he decided he would rather sleep in the stables with the horses, with whom he could converse. He couldn't bear being with people.
It seems, however, Hannah is still fairly well-disposed toward humans. The doormen hugged her, and she hugged them back. She hugged my wife for what seemed like 15 minutes, and even hugged me.
Her acceptance of my Yahoo ways were tempered, I'm sure, by my paying for some fairly good Chinese food, which she devoured in a way that would put many Yahoos to shame.
Hannah's in the tub as I write this. Happy, it seems, to have a nice soak (with bubbles) and then a freshly made queen-sized bed to sleep in.
It's not all about accepting humans and human ways though.
I think Hannah was happiest, after all, to see Whiskey, her golden retriever, who, it appears she's missed most of all.