REFLECTING BACK ON 500 DAYS OF TRAVEL
We’re headed home. Our flight back to Brisbane left today and now we’re on our way back to Aus and the “real world”. We’ve been on the road about 9 months this time around and have been from China to Scotland; the French Riviera to tropical Japan; ultra-modern Singapore to sleepy corners of Portugal. And it’s been amazing!
It’s been an amazing trip and we’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to see so much of the world, but we’re actually ready to go home now and resume the mantle of “regular life”. After 2½ years of basically not really having to be fully functional adults (i.e. not having to worry about things like bills, mortgage repayments, and serious work responsibilities), we’ve both reached the point where we miss having meaningful work, a stable home, and a more consistent social circle.
We first decided to leave our jobs and set off on an epic adventure in 2013. At that time we were both ready for a change and felt like we needed a break from the demands of work and modern life. Our solution? Sell everything, travel the world, and take some time to reassess our priorities!
Since first departing Australia on 1st June 2013 we have travelled for about 500 days*, and been to 50 countries. Along the way we’ve met some amazing people, seen some incredible sights, and eaten some truly delectable food. We’ve also had our fair share of sleepless nights, physical discomforts, and bathroom-related misadventures, but it’s been worth every moment.
*We came back to Aus for a little while between trips to top up the travel kitty.
We had never travelled long term before but have learned that we actually LOVE Being on the road for months at a time. Short term holidays (i.e. 1-4 weeks) are good too, but It’s a different experience. On holiday you don’t get to settle into the “travelling mode” as much; you still have “adult” stuff to worry about. When you travel long term, however, a lot of that day-to-day stuff gets left behind which frees you up to just lose yourself in the travel experience. And for us it was an experience we loved and are keen to repeat.
For now though we’ve realised we actually really like our lives in Aus and are happy to go back there. We’re both working in fields we love and, having had a bit of a break, have a clearer idea of what we want to do next. So it’s with joy that we prepare to reestablish ourselves in Aus, just bringing lessons learned from travels back with us.
What did we learn from all our travels? A lot. Much of what we gained is difficult to articulate, but the main things would be:
• We don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy. In fact, the less possessions we own and the simpler our lives, the better.
• Stuff is replaceable, time is not. We need to be far more conscious of how we spend our time because it really is the most valuable commodity we have.
• Work is important but it’s not the meaning of life. We need to balance time and energy spent at work with time and energy spent playing, exercising, having fun, and exploring the world.
• Travel feeds our souls. Discovering new places excites us in a way nothing else can, so we need to keep travelling.
We have always enjoyed travelling, and these last 2½ years have just highlighted how MUCH we love it. People that don’t enjoy travelling don’t understand our passion – we had quite a few people deride our choices to take a break from “real life”, people that told us we’d be better off saving that money and doing something “useful” with it. For us, however, the time, energy, and money we have invested in travel has been well worth it. We will never regret the time we’ve spent seeing new sights, tasting new foods, meeting new people and peoples, and learning about different cultures, histories and religions.
Our travels have expanded our horizons and helped us see how we fit into the greater fabric of the world. It has helped us appreciate the good things in our lives more, and shown us how we can reprioritise things to make what was already a great life even better. We’ve also become far more confident – day-to-day life is rarely as challenging as travel and you rarely see how much you are capable of until you’re out there in the big wide world with nothing but yourselves to rely on. Through our travels we’ve definitely discovered previously untapped depths of resilience, humour, and generosity in ourselves.
To anyone contemplating a sabbatical, or a break from “real life”, we would say” DO IT! The world is amazing and there is always a new adventure to be had if you’re willing! We’ll certainly keep travelling (and blogging about it), but for now there’s a new chapter of our lives to begin…