It’s been two weeks since we finished the Notre Dame Trail. Since then, both my boys have started school, we’ve watched two ND football games, I have traveled to South Bend (and home) for Monogram Club meetings, my husband has traveled to Barcelona (and NYC) and back, and we went away with friends over Labor Day weekend to celebrate the end of summer. Oh, and I’ve done about 27 loads of laundry.

In other words, just a regular two weeks in the life of the DeMaria family.

And yet, life doesn’t seem as regular as it did before the Trail. I’ve had many, many people ask me, “How was it?” And my answer is always the same: It was awesome.

There were 32 of us who travelled the entire ND Trail; all 320 miles. The 32 core pilgrims have a group chat: GroupMe, an app where we communicate daily; often hourly. For 32 strangers who became family over two weeks, it was a stark contrast to no longer talk to each other after 14 days of constant conversation. So the group chat has helped us re-enter regular life, while holding on to what we can of the Trail.

In one group message, a pilgrim said that he always answers, “Awesome,” when asked how the Trail was, because – as he said – “how can you explain two life changing weeks in less than two hours?” I smiled and laughed when I read this. Because this is my answer too. It was awesome.

And it’s hard to describe and explain to others what it was like. But what I do know is that I feel a calm that I didn’t before. With the laundry and work and travel and stressful football games, I am a little more peaceful with a little different perspective.

This is what I call the Blessings of the ND Trail; those moments when you feel differently and can’t exactly explain why. When you know you are a bit changed, but you can’t always articulate it. I just know it was awesome.