We have now been on the road for just over 6 months so we thought it was about time to sit down and summarize what we have done, where we are and what we are thinking about for the future.
We left England on the 20th November 2016 for New Zealand, where we spent almost three months exploring the north island, mostly outdoors and with our tent as our home base. We walked and hitchhiked around everywhere and lived off noodles, tinned tuna and drank water from the rivers through our filtration system. We were breathing fresh air every day and feeling that we were traveling in our own unique way.
Two weeks in Fiji were warm, humid and obviously not as tent friendly. This was the first time we stayed in a hostel – quite an okay first experience – but we didn’t realise hostel life would soon become the norm. We enjoyed the days under the tropical sun next to the beautiful blue sea but were also quite confused with our new routine sharing so much space with everyone else.
Vietnam came up next where we volunteered as English teachers. We lived for free and shared bedroom and dinner table with the other teachers. Unfortunately, the sun never managed to fight its way through the thick, dusty smog but we gained a lot of experience from teaching and living with the locals and fell in love with the city of Hanoi and will always tell people it is worth visiting. Again, we never had the opportunity to use the tent so we started considering the possibility of sending it home.
15 days in Bali felt like they were over just as quick as they arrived. We had a wonderful time here with family at a luxury villa. Our own bedroom and toilet, breakfast and dinner served daily in the garden and a swimming pool right next to it. We took the decision to send home our tent and sleeping bags with the family and headed towards Singapore.
Singapore was big, futuristic, clean and expensive compared to other Asian countries. We walked many kilometres every day and explored most of the city in our four days. There was always something interesting to look at around every corner but at the same time we couldn’t escape the constant feeling of emptiness after saying goodbye to family members in Bali.
A bus took us over the border in to Malaysia where we are today. Enjoying it for most part but feel like it’s time to leave southeast Asia soon. It is starting to feel the same everywhere we go. We have visited a few places already and feel like we have started to get the hang of the whole ‘backpacker’ lifestyle thing but in all honesty, it really isn’t our cup of tea.
When we were planning to travel the world we never really pictured it being the way we are doing it right now. We always pictured ourselves being outdoors, in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere and far away from any tourists. Yes, it might sound silly or selfish, we are tourists too, but it doesn’t mean we want to see them everywhere we go. We want to feel like we are visiting a new, different country or landscape with a unique culture without the feeling of just being back home with all the other westerners and gift shops and fast food chains. Maybe that’s just all about the experience too but in our own heads we always pictured ourselves away from the rest of the pack, exploring each country in “our own way”. Right now, we are following everyone like sheep along the tourist trail from town to town or hostel to hostel. So, at this moment, we are a little confused and are discussing how to continue this trip. We have done very well with our budget so far, so that is not a problem to us, we have no other time restrictions or commitments. The questions we are asking ourselves are, where do we go next and how are we going to “do it” there? We have flights booked to Myanmar and (via 5 days in Bangkok) South Korea but after that, who knows. Wherever we go next, we would like it to be a little further away from the “tourist trail” so we can feel some of the same freedom we felt back in New Zealand all those months ago.