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Reflections from halfway around the world

Can a year of travel and experiences change a person? Or maybe I should ask how could it not? Being at the “halfway mark” of our one year around-the-world belated honeymoon “sabbatical”, both geographically and time-wise, it seemed like a propitious time to pause and reflect on our adventures so far.

To date, we have visited a selection of countries in Europe, East and South Africa, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Next is South and Central America.

We have narrowly missed bombings (Thailand, August 2016) and two earthquakes (Myanmar, August 2016; and New Zealand, November 2016). Along the way, we have been lucky enough to meet up with 17 old friends thus far and make countless new ones while discovering stunning new places.

If distance was not an issue or teleportation was a thing, at this stage my top five places to relocate to would be Tasmania, Hermanus, Uganda, Sydney, or New Zealand as a maybe.

Based on the past six months, it turns out there are some things in life that I can do without but would rather not. At the top of the list: hot showers in a draft-free space, a kitchen, a washing machine, wine, and Wi-Fi. I never took any of these things for granted, but after volunteering on farms and living on a budget for an extended amount of time, I have a newfound appreciation for every single one.

It has also become clear to me that working the land and developing a farm project and homestead (with our own special sauce of course) are exactly what I want to do next – and I could not imagine a better person to embark on such an adventure with than Francois.

I also have a few new life goals: becoming functionally ambidextrous, being able to recognize plants and birds without consulting an encyclopedia (or Google), and finding a way to reconcile my desire to live a sustainable life with my love of travel.

It has been inspiring to see so much of what nature has to offer, from the savannah and wild whales in Africa to the pure mountains, valleys, and lakes of New Zealand. You never know quite what the future holds, but I very much hope mine will include more outdoors than screen time.

As for Francois, here are his top ten learnings, in no particular order:

  • A backpack on wheels was a great investment
  • The world is much less unsafe than expected
  • Weight loss does not necessarily go hand in hand with more activity and a healthier lifestyle
  • Stepping away from all his habits has been the best way to quit smoking
  • Driving on the left side is ok, it is not that hard to rewire your brain
  • Going around the world is amazing but it would also be interesting to go to just a few places and stay longer
  • The convenience of having a washing machine is undeniable
  • The heat, humidity, and general madness found in South East Asia was expected but still overwhelming
  • You can almost always find what you need along the way, so pack light
  • As cliché as it sounds, the impact of humans and overpopulation comes across as more of a cancer than an example of what “the most evolved species” should look like

This is all very much a work in progress, so we will share more about how this whole trip has impacted us and our plans for the future once we are back in Europe and have had a little time to digest it all. Next I was thinking of sharing some thoughts about travel essentials, but if there are any questions you have about the above or relating to the trip, let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to address them in a future blog.

On to Latin America, starting with Argentina!

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