It seems like a lifetime ago that we decided to 'maybe go travelling' and now when I think back it was so nearly something that we didn't do. The decision to leave good jobs in the current financial climate was looked upon by some as shear lunacy! The decision to rent out our homes and leave all our family and friends behind and to live out of a backpack with 1 pair of trousers and 4 pairs of pants for 6 months was insanity! BUT, tough decisions were made and plans began to evolve and before we knew it we were on the plane leaving the UK for the start of our adventure and what an adventure it was.
Looking back on it now it was THE most incredible thing that either of us have EVER done.
Since we have returned we have felt truly blessed. So many people have supported us through the difficult transition of returning home and we have both ended up with our dream jobs after only a matter of weeks. Was it destiny? Was it luck? Was it just fantastic planning? (lol - doubtful!) Or was it the fact that the trip opened up our minds to the possibilities that life has and taught us to grab them when they present themselves, regardless of how crazy that might seem?
It is of course impossible to tell but one thing is for sure, the trip certainly didn't do us any harm!
So my advice is this. If you have the crazy idea one day to travel the world, start a new business or just shake things up in your life with spontaneous acts..... DO IT! Don't sit back and say 'That's not me' or 'I'm scared I can't do it', because you will always think back and torture yourself with the question 'What if....'.
So here is a run down on things we liked\hated, did well/failed etc.. ENJOY..
Chris - It has to be Vietnam. The place was THE most difficult place to get around, communicate with people or avoid the hordes of scammers. BUT, I have always wanted to go there and it didn't disappoint with it's beautiful views, amazing caves and some of the most friendly and amazing people (when you can find them!). It was also the most exciting with its feeling of 'Anything goes' or as we called it 'No Rules!' policy. It truly was an amazing month travelling through there and somehow the most rewarding!
Jayne - New Zealand: Stunning place – so easy to travel around and incredibly beautiful. We had so much fun in Hector the camper and really enjoyed all the walks – we will definatly be going back there at some point – probably to do some more walking and maybe some winter snowboarding or some summer cycling. I can also see potential in doing some long runs on some of the less challenging walking paths! The roads where empty and the scenery was amazing yet you where never short of somewhere to stay or a supermarket! If you like driving/motor bikes/cycling or walking then you will love New Zealand!
==Most Memorable Moment==
Chris There are so many that it's hard to pick out one. Skydiving over the Whitsundays and swimming in massive caves in the pitch black spring to mind along with hundreds of other awesome moments from the trip. But I guess for me it was being stuck in the Jungle in Malaysia. At the time it seemed a strange situation to be in, but now it seems like a weird dream! An amazing experience that will truly never be forgotten!
Jayne Jumping of that bloomin bridge in New Zealand! Bungy jumping = got to be the closest thing to commiting suicide. Flipping stupid past time – never again!!
==Most Scared you have been==
Chris Again there were a few of these! But I have to pick skydiving. I actually thought when I was sat on the edge of the plane with my legs dangling out about to jump that I was going to have a heart attack! (That said, it was amazing! And I would definitely do it again!).
Jayne For me it was being stuck in the jungle. I actually for the first time in my life, couldn't think of a way out and couldn't see the positive side of it. I have never felt so vulnerable and I was really scared for all 3 of us. If we had got sick/injured, if any of those trees had fallen on us, or if the water hadn't have gone down so fast that day I really don't know hat we would have done. Also if Chris hadn't have packed the water purifying tablets or we had been stuck there one more day - we would have been in a lot of trouble.
==1 Place I would love to go back to==
Chris Easy - NEW ZEALAND. The place is simply stunning. The variety of landscape, the ease of getting around, the very friendly and ever helpful locals all make it a great experience. There were several of 'The Great Walks' that we missed out on due to lack of time so this would be the first place I would head back to. (Cambodia was also very friendly and amazing and I wish I had seen more of it)
Jayne Humm, difficult, NZ would be the obvious answer but I DID feel like we had done a good job of seeing it all, whereas Cambodia I loved and really feel we whizzed through it too fast and there was a lot more to see. And it supprisinly easy to travel through – well, once you had got used to the SE Asia way of life anyway!!
==The most useless thing in your rucksack==
Chris Hmmm.. there were a few things that barely got used. I'd say in the top spot would be the snorkel and mask. I used it a few times in Fiji (although they had their own you could borrow anyway) but apart from that I just carried it around for 6 nearly months! In fact I did go to try and use it once in our last few days on the Thai island and the mask had broken!! So I threw it away!
JayneIt's got to be the stupid walking sandle things that never fitted properly, scoped up sand, stones and any other vegetation and just looked hideous anyway. If it looks ugly when you buy it in this country – it will still be ugly when you are 35,000 miles from home. I finally threw them away when we at the MuayThai camp in Thailand. 1 pair super comfy beige Animal flip flops and 1 pair of black Asics off-road trainers where all I ever needed and they made it all the way around the world!
==The 1 thing in your rucksack you couldn't live without==
Chris Close call between the netbook and my travelling trousers. The netbook was amazing for keeping in touch with people, writing the blogs, watching videos on, researching and booking accommodation or travel to name but a few uses. Most places we stayed in did however have internet and a computer so you could get away without one (although it would add a lot of hassle and cost). So I guess it has to be my trousers! They were brilliant. They zipped off at 2 different lengths so were used as shorts as well as mozzie protecting trousers. They were used almost every day in some way and never broke, tore or fell apart. I would definitely recommend buying a decent pair if you are going to rely on them. (FYI they were Crag hoppers 2 x zipp-off Mozzielife trousers).
JayneLots of things:
My fab flip flops (see above)
My green Fat Face shorts that I pretty much wore every day until they died a death and got replaced in Vietnam.
A pair of leggings – great when it's cold to wear under shorts, or to cover legs in conservative coutries or to wear as night clothes in dormatorys
Light and holds loads of books, really saves space in rucksack – gutted it died during the whole 'jungle thing'
Torch – SE Asia doesn't really do street lights at night, also great when rummaging around in dormatories, or in Hector or when reading Kindle at night without disturbing people!
Loo roll – seriously, the rest of the world doesn't deem it important!
==What annoyed you the most about the trip==
Chris The travelling!! Now for those of you who haven't been on a trip like this that might not make sense, but if you have then you know what I am saying! The constant early mornings to catch a 5am coach or being rattled around on a shelf in a train for 15 hours ISN'T glamorous or comfortable! But it is essential and the sleepless uncomfortable nights on public transport pale into insignificance at the amazing sights you get to experience because of it.
Jayne Apart from the dreaded 'budget calculator', it has to be actual 'travel'. It didn't start to annoy me until we were in Vietnam (after about 4/5 months) not sure why, probably the state of the roads over there and the uncomfortable journeys squidged in the back of mini-buses and on dodgy trains. We started to send much longer in places instead of travelling around every couple of days, but I was still done with it by the end of the trip! A lot of people seemed to take a long break of a couple of weeks or more in one place halfway through their trip to recharge – especially if they where travelling for a year or more.
==What was the best thing about the trip==
Chris I'd have to say the people. From the friendliness and generosity of local people who don't know you and will give you their last piece of food or drop of corn wine to the advice and support of fellow travellers. We have made some great new friends from all over the world, some of which I know will be friends for life.
JayneThe time spent with my Christopher – It will be a long time before we can spend that much time together again, enjoying each other's company and pushing each other to do daft things! I don't think I ever would have known Chris so well if I hadn't been stuck in a jungle with him, or seen him jump out of a plane, or watched him bartering (badly) with the locals or running around in his pants catching spiders the size of his hands. There was obviously I few times I happy would have thrown him off a bridge with no bungy, but they were suprisingly few and far between. I can't thing of anyone else I would rather have travelled around the world with and I love him all the more for it! x
Total spent while travelling £12,200 (not including tickets and insurance's totaling approx £3000) and worth every penny!!