(insert inspirational title about traveling for 2 years here)

Apr 02, 2016


Ahhh the two year mark. It's hard to believe it's here. As is the nature of time in so many circumstances, these last two years were like an eternity that flashed before my eyes in an instant. And in that eternity have been an infinite number of experiences. Matt and I talk all the time about how hard it is to explain what we've seen and done, when virtually every waking hour (not to mention some sleeping ones as well), has been new. So much new in fact, that even the newness of it became old sometimes. 

Look, everyone has this fairytale view of travel because of the perfect photos everywhere of gorgeous young people frolicking through fields, or jumping into pristine water, or the absolute classic of someone looking off into the distance of some stunning view. It's romanticised to the extreme. And while yes there are countless numbers of those moments for sure, little do the people at home know that in order to get to that field where you will frolic, you rode a 12 hour hot and sweaty bus where you had someone leaning against you the whole time because of overcrowding, and you saw a grandmother assist her grandson in pissing into a plastic bottle and then throw it out the window. Nor do they know that there was a burning garbage pit right next to that pristine water that you were jumping into. Or that the person stood there taking and retaking that perfect looking off into the distance photo until it was actually perfect, only to finally move from that spot so that the next person in line could come and take the very same photo. I'm more than guilty of this sort of thing too mind you...I'm just saying.  Budget travel is a gritty, dirty, rough, infuriating, sometimes painful undertaking that is WORTH EVERY FUCKING MOMENT. It is those moments that I think I enjoyed the most, the ones where you couldn't help but start laughing because of the absurdity of it all. Some of my fondest memories are of driving in whatever the hell passes for a vehicle through some new city or town, holding on for dear life, and watching all the scenes as they pass, undesirable as some of them may sometimes seem to those back home, but so damn beautiful at the same time. Or the memory of having a breakdown in the middle of a flooded estuary with freezing water up to my waist in pouring rain, knowing that I had to keep going to get to our stopping point for the night.

So what have I learned? What sage piece of wisdom have I gained from all these experiences? The answers to these questions are almost as hard to answer as some ancient mathematical equation that has remained unsolvable. Not to mention, they always sound contrite. But I will say this: there is no limit, and no full explanation of how much travel can teach you. There really isn't. It sounds so cheesy but it's true. So just do it. And I PROMISE you that everything seems much scarier before you step foot out your front door. Once you're in it, you're in it, and you figure it out and you adapt. It's truly not as impossible as it seems. Nothing is. 

Also, I'm just saying that my crossword puzzle skills have become exponentially better! No joke, I now have so much more random knowledge than I used to because of the things I've seen and the places I've been. Travel really does broaden the mind!

I digress...

I tried not to think about how long we'd last on the road when we left two years ago. But I sort of had the image of Matt and I choosing to settle down somewhere else for a while at some point along the way. I didn't think for a second that our money would last as long as it did, and I couldn't have even dreamed of doing all the things we've done. I never imagined I would have gone for a 5-day hike in New Zealand, or driven motorbikes around in Vietnam and Thailand, or gone sledding down a volcano, or spend time with good friends in Japan, or played around on a glacier, or seen Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal, get chased by a water buffalo in Vietnam, see so many astoundingly beautiful sights that I've lost count, or get certified to teach yoga in India! Any of it. I didn't expect any of it. And I think that's important to note here because what I noticed about this whole long term travel thing is that almost every single bit of what I did expect, didn't turn out how I expected it to. Seriously almost none of it. But that is by no means a bad thing.

Sure, when I think back on the past two years, there are plenty of things I wish I had done, places I wish we hadn't skipped, photo series I wish I had thought to produce (i.e. a picture of every single toilet (loose term) I've used on the trip), I wish I had practiced my ukulele more and not been so shy about practicing in front of people, I wish we had volunteered more, I wish I had not allowed myself to become so effected by negative people and situations, I wish I had practiced much harder to become fluent in Spanish. But the biggest lesson I've learned from this experience, is that those sorts of wishes, which I would have once viewed as regrets, aren't that at all. Rather they are simply plans for the future. 

Speaking of future, what lies in ours? Well Matthew and I are ending this little adventure of ours and moving home in one week. One week and I'll be squeezing my nieces so tight I might never let go. When we touch down in NY, it will be 2 years and 1 week to the day since we left on this trip. Since then, we haven't been home, seen any of our family or friends (except 3 who visited us in Japan) in over 16 months. For us, the pull to spend time with them has become a little too much to bear, so we are instead starting a new adventure, just one in a familiar location (for now). What does this adventure consist of exactly? Well once we figure it out, we'll be sure to make it public knowledge.

And no, we are NOT pregnant, as many people have suspected. Laughing


P.S. I did battle with this website for over 2 hours trying to add pictures to this post and lost, so...sorry, no pictures.


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