It’s Our 6 Monthaversary!!
It’s hard to believe but it’s been 6 months since we boarded the plane to India that kicked off our ‘Around the World’ adventure! Some days it feels like we’ve been traveling for a couple weeks and some days our ‘old lives’ feel 100 years away. Luckily on most days, like today as we explored our newest home – Amasra, Turkey, we love the turn our life has taken and often find ourselves taking moments to stop and appreciate this amazing journey.
While we know we still have a lot of learning to do, and a ton of new experiences ahead of us, we thought it would be fun to take a moment to reflect on the trip up to this point. Since we are writing this blog as a couple we figured the best way to reflect was with a “He said, She said” post, so here we go…
What has been the biggest surprise about the trip?
Danielle: For me it’s been the roller coaster of emotions I’ve felt. Because our lives are totally up in the air right now I find myself speculating a lot about our next year and my ‘ideal scenario’ keeps changing drastically. Some days I want to declare victory for achieving this dream and pack up and go home to San Diego to open up a B&B (although this has been happening less and less). Other days I find myself brainstorming ways in which we can keep this trip going forever. I never knew having the option to do whatever you want every day could be so stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I love it more days than not!
Adam: That’s hard. The biggest surprise for me has been how much I like sitting still. I thought when we set off that the whole point was to travel to as many places as possible and keep on the move. But I actually find that my favorite times are when we stumble upon a place that we fall in love with and try to live a “normal-ish” life in that place, even if just for a week or two (see our Essaouira posts).
What has been the biggest disappointment?
Danielle: The biggest disappointment for me so far has been myself. I knew the fact that I was out of shape would slow us down a little, but it has gotten in the way of more things than I realized it would. Even if I wasn’t physically prevented from doing anything my nervousness about my ability to hike or climb prevented me from trying. A lot of this is made worse by my leg injury, but I just have to suck it up and do other things to get into better shape so I don’t keep holding us back. Today officially kicks off my 100 push-up challenge!
Adam: My biggest disappoint so far has really nothing to do with the trip. Right before we left in January I injured my feet and so I haven’t been able to run for the last 5 months. That’s been really hard since my favorite way to explore a new place is through running. The good news is that I’m back to 100% and my running shoes will be arriving at the beginning of August with my Dad when he comes to visit us in Istanbul.
As far as an actual trip related disappointment that would probably be going all the way to India and not getting to see the Himalayas. While I loved our trip to Rishikesh and don’t regret the time we spent in the Ashram, it still haunts me a bit that we got so close. It was my own fault though since I didn’t realize how much I actually wanted to see them until after my opportunity came and went. But we can always make a trip to Nepal!
Side Note: Man between me complaining about being out of shape and Adam talking about his feet we sound like a decrepit old couple.
What do you miss the most from home?
Adam: I don’t miss a lot. Sometimes I miss the infrastructure of the US. It’s easy to take things for granted at home like our highways, utilities, reliable internet, etc. Plus, after spending 6 weeks driving through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in a manual (which I learned to drive along the way) I really miss automatics being the default. Although now that we’re in Europe until November I should probably get over that. While all those things being less available are sometimes what lead to the best parts of our trip, I do find myself missing them every couple of months. And of course I miss my friends and family.
Danielle: I miss being able to wake up and not put any thought into what I’m doing that day. While it’s amazing to be on this adventure you never get to really disengage your brain, even if today is a ‘relaxation’ day we most likely have a travel day right around the corner and decisions need to be made (check out my early on planning crisis). That was the case today when our ‘lazy day’ began with four hours of logistics planning (sad trombone). At home I can pretty much go into auto-pilot whenever I want. Oh and I miss my hair straightener.
Side Note: Adam has just informed me that he finds it hilarious that all of my answers relate to stress/anxiety…like he’s new.
What do you miss the least from home?
Danielle: The busyness and self-importance. I was so tired of how “busy” everyone always was and how everyone felt like victims of their own lives. I don’t miss listening to people complaining about their jobs, spouses, money, etc. I realize that may sound harsh but for most of these people their stress and troubles were self-inflicted and they had lost the ability to recognize how amazing their lives actually were.
As we’ve traveled I have met people who are actually busy and actually poor but they managed to lead happy, joy filled lives. They don’t sit around dwelling on self-created drama and have a much better sense of what is important in life and what is a waste of energy.
Also, living out of backpacks has really allowed us to appreciate how stuff weighs us down, literally and figuratively, and what little money and space we actually need to be fulfilled. So to boil it down I don’t miss the fear-induced, self-important craziness of it all. Don’t worry, be happy and just breathe.
Adam: The busyness for me as well, but I mean the chaos of it all. Being around people who have a need to constantly feel or look busy makes me tired and drains my happiness. So I’m glad we don’t have to do that anymore. Politics and cable news is probably at the top of the list as well. It’s the same as the ‘busyness’ in peoples’ lives but at a meta level. The 24-hr news cycle is toxic and is more often than not filled with garbage and in turn fills everyone’s head with crap.
Do we have any tips for other long-term traveling couples?
Adam: Work your strengths and divide up tasks accordingly. Especially when you’re tired and frustrated, working on something you already don’t like will just add to that stress. With us Danielle mostly does the cleaning, packing and laundry and I handle all of the practical logistics like getting a working phone number, tracking our budget and managing the back-end of the blog. We tend to take turns researching our upcoming destinations but I tend to focus on the practicalities of how to get to each place while Danielle focuses on the fun stuff like where we should eat and stay or people we can meet up with (like the amazing people we met in Essaouira).
I would definitely make sure that before you set out really discuss your travel expectations. We were pretty fortunate and were on the same page since we’d been day dreaming/planning this trip for over a year before it began. And be honest with each other if your desired style or destination wish list changes. We’ve had 3-4 variations of this trip already and expect it to keep changing as we travel, but if we didn’t talk about it along the way there’s a good chance one of us would begin to feel frustrated.
Danielle: Make sure you really, really, really like each other and enjoy spending time together. I know that may seem silly, but that’s different than being in love. There are plenty of happy couples out there who wouldn’t be happy spending 24 hours a day together 7 days a week. Luckily for us we were already that annoying couple who always did everything together, so this wasn’t a big deal. Also, Airbnb’s are a great accommodation option, since staying in a house or apartment can give you a break from feeling homeless :).
Also, understand that the things that bug you about the other person in ‘real life’ will feel magnified on a trip like this, especially on days when things aren’t going well. This isn’t like going on vacation together, it’s like being in boot camp. There have been times when we were tired and irritable but didn’t necessarily have the option to take time apart (especially in India). We had to be willing to tell the other person that we needed quiet alone time even if that just meant sitting on opposite sides of the room. Oh and don’t hold a grudge – let go and let live.
What would you like to do better moving forward?
Danielle: I would like to incorporate more ‘experiences’ and less sight-seeing into our trip. The longer we travel the more I realize that after a week or two in a country I am bored of seeing the ‘must-sees’ and prefer to try something new. We tried this out during our trip to South Africa and had an amazing time. If you would have told me last year that we were going to spend a month driving and camping through southern Africa I would have laughed in your face. But we did it and, Namibia especially, turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip to date. I’m hoping we can keep it up during our next few months in Europe.
Adam: I want to give ourselves more opportunities to be flexible with our travel. While we have had some options to extend or shorten particular destinations we have had pre-booked airline tickets that have still controlled our timeline more than I’d like. Moving forward that will be easier since after Turkey in July we have no more pre-booked air travel.
The trip has really been more amazing than we could have ever imagined. While it was hard to walk away from the lives we had worked so hard to build, we wake up every morning happy and excited to see what the day will bring. Really it has shown us that our lives can be whatever we’d like them to be and, along with all of our stuff, it has allowed us to lay down the mental chains we had allowed ourselves to be shackled with. We may not know what tomorrow has in store for us, although that’s really true for everyone, so we’re content just enjoying today.
Thanks for following along and we promise to get back on the blog-wagon and return to regular posts!