I’m not sure what kind of post this will be as we’ve haven’t had any great ideas but thought I should remember how we’ve been away for a year.
Can you believe it?! It’s been a year today already. In some ways it has felt like a long time as a lot of things have happened back home as we’ve missed various things like – hanging out with family and friends, friends getting engaged, having babies, new jobs, moving to new homes, our nephew and nieces growing up not to mention all the crazy stuff happening in the world. Just over half the UK voted to leave the EU before we left last year (we ended up losing 15-20% of our savings due to the shit exchange rate that followed) and now the Torys have teamed up with the DUP. Insane.
Have we changed much during this year? Picture on the bottom left was at Southampton train station and on the right is in Tokyo in May. By the way I swear it’s not the same top I’m wearing, I threw away the grey jumper and at some point replaced it with a grey shirt. Hah. Neutral colour clothing is more versatile on the road…
Anyways I’ve never been one for holidays and travelling. To me whilst I was growing up, it meant 1 holiday to Majorca with my family and I was bored out of my mind when I finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (FYI it’s 20 years yesterday/today since the first book was published!) after 2 days and holidays to Hong Kong once every few years to see family there. The interest in travelling started when I met Chris all those years ago and we started holidaying together.
Slowly it culminated in a desire to go and see more places and learn more about the country rather than rush through it in a week or two. And over the last couple of years before we left in 2016 we thought more and more about it and decided to go for it. Life is short and we’re lucky enough not to have responsibilities like a massive mortgage or children and were comfortably well off with our jobs. I didn’t want to wait until I retired before doing fun stuff as who knows what may happen and I think it’s important to live in the now and enjoy it.
Finally on June 27th 2016 after a lot of stress leading up to this point, it was time we got on the train to Gatwick airport to fly to our first stop – New York. The first night was terrible actually, our flight was delayed by several hours or so and we got to our airbnb past midnight walking in the pissing rain from the station in Queens.
Chris was excited about going away and didn’t miss home and I think I was more of the opposite as I missed home and friends but now I think we’re switched roles. I’ve become more comfortable with being away and Chris is missing home. However I do miss home and family and friends and look forward to coming back but for now we’ll enjoy our travels.
It’s been an interesting year with new experiences, we did some activities that we wouldn’t have ever done before if we were just on holiday. Some of these are are:
- Housesitting in New Zealand (this is an achievement because Chris is a bit weird about staying in other people’s houses). It was great and I fell in love with one of their cats, you may think I’m weird but I often think of Griff.
- Wwoofing in Japan – learning about Japanese culture, family life, language whilst helping your host family with farming activities. It was an amazing experience and we’ve got more lined up.
- Camping – I was never keen on camping and in order to keep costs down in America, we camped. I actually enjoyed parts of it although not the time when the temperature dropped and I shivered all night trying to sleep and on the other end of the scale the time when a ton of desert dust was blown into the tent and I was already angry about the heat. The best bit of camping is the campfire and meeting fellow campers. The day we discovered S’mores from fellow campers was a great day.
- Overland border crossings – I don’t love them but it’s certainly an experience being accosted by various people such as officials wanting ‘extra payment’ for stamping you out. Chris’ favourite 2 was from Vietnam into Laos as it was a scenic trip through the remote countryside and from Thailand to Cambodia – the Poipet crossing is infamous for travellers being ripped off in every way possible.
A few other random thoughts
- We have seriously awesome family and friends (and new friends) who support us in various ways, from putting us up in their home/meeting up with us on our travels to skyping/sending us care packages. Thank you so much.
- Bum guns and japanese toilets with a bidet function are amazing. I don’t know how I’ve lived without it before. Washing of the buttocks is seriously underrated.
- We both think Vietnam is an amazing place for food, before we weren’t sure about it as we’ve never been to a place like this before. I mean you’ve heard of pho – Vietnamese noodle soup but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- America was better than I expected, an unexpected highlight and they do amazng home made lemonade.
- Chris has put some weight on. Hah!
- We wished we didn’t bother booking all our flights in one go back in Jan 2016. I mean as you travel, you’re like ah this place is nice I want to stay longer or vice versa. Plus it seems insane to book your flights so far in advance, we’re not feeling the excitement for India our last stop…
- I’m surprised I haven’t killed Chris yet. Let me explain – if you don’t know me very well you’d think I’m an extroverted friendly person well not really, I’m the opposite and pretty grumpy. I like to spend time by myself and that’s difficult when you’re travelling and there’s only 1 room. We’ve actually done better than we thought we would.
Well it’s not over yet as there’s more travelling to come and you know people keep telling us that this trip is a once in a lifetime thing but I sure hope it won’t be – I haven’t even hit my mid-life crisis yet!
(By the way, I’d to add that I’ve almost finished Book 11 out of 14 – Wheel of Time series, I might actually finish this series for once (considering I started about 10 years + ago) and for all before we come back home! )
I end on a beautiful montage of our travels.