We’ve been home now for a month. I’m back to work, the kids are back to school, and our house looks mostly like “our” house again.
Everyone asks us how it was, and what our favourite place was. But, our close friends push further…”no really….HOW was it?…not on the surface, but day to day, constantly traveling, and constantly being together?”
In two short words, it was AMAZING and EXHAUSTING.
I sometimes feel like I’m being negative with this response, but it’s not a negative thing. Of course it was exhausting!
Over the course of 382 days we were stamped into 31 unique countries, passed through the airports of two more, crossed 36 borders, slept in 158 different beds (trains, buses, planes and boats included!) and spent 165 nights traveling with friends and family. We changed location, on average, every 2.4 days.
We saw, and experienced, a LOT!
A year is a long time to be gone, but at no point did we have any burning desire to NEED to get home. We were excited to come home at the end, but never really got home sick along the way (Calais would disagree with that however!). There were a few times when we just wanted to just STOP. To stay put for longer than we had, and not feel internally pressured to go do something every day. We managed to slow ourselves down a few times, but it never lasted long.
As the year progressed we started to take it easier on ourselves. We’d pick and choose what we wanted to do, and came to terms with the fact that we couldn’t and wouldn’t see it all, and that was okay. I focused on finding great, local experiences when I could, and we were okay doing the generic touristy stuff the rest of the time. The touristy stuff is popular for a reason! So even if we’re sharing the experience with more people then I’d like, and even if it felt forced and less authentic, we rarely regretted following the crowd on these occasions.
The biggest highlights from our trip around the world…
- Timur’s Mausoleum – Samarkand, Uzbekistan
- Kyzart Pass – Kochor, Kyrgyzstan
- Great Wall of China – Beijing, China
- Longji Rice Terraces – Yangshuo, China
- Poon Hill Sunrise – Ghorepani, Nepal
- Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Paro, Bhutan
- Temples of Bagan – Bagan, Myanmar
- Reefs & Islands – Raja Ampat, Indonesia
- Scooter tour – Ha Giang, Vietnam
- Slow Boat – Muang Khua to Luang Prabang, Laos
- Camel Safari – Jaisalmer, India
- Taj Mahal – Agra, India
- Wadi Bani Khalid – Oman
- Monastery – Petra, Jordan
- The Great Pyramids – Giza, Egypt
- Tikal – Tikal, Guatemala
- Galapagos Islands – Galapagos, Ecuador
- Macchu Picchu – Aguas Caliente, Peru
- Amazon Raiforest – Rurenebaque, Bolivia
- Salar de Uyuni – Uyuni, Bolivia
Stats From a Year Around The World
- Countries Visited = 31 unique countries
- Border Crossings = 36 (Thailand x 3, Peru x 2, Guatemala x 2, Jordan x 2)
- Longest border crossing = Kyrgyzstan to China…we left Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan at 7:00am, and arrived in Kashgar at 8:00pm!
- We slept in 158 different places, including 43 hotels, 37 hostels, 22 guesthouses, 14 apartments, 1 bus, 4 trains, 2 planes, 1 airport, 4 yurts, 2 campsites, 4 teahouses, 10 homestays, 2 boats, 2 resorts, 2 deserts, 4 friend’s houses, 1 hobbit house, 1 reed island, 1 amazonian hut and 1 salt hotel.
- We traveled 120,500km (not including any walking or local transport), which is the equivalent of 3X around the world! This included 50 flight segments, 20 train journeys, 11 boat trips, and 18,366km by road with a combination of buses, taxis and rental cars.
- On average, we walked 8009 steps per day (according to Randy’s iPhone), which I guarantee is an underestimation! We walked the most in China, with an average 11,000 steps per day while we were there!
- Car Accidents = 1 (Randy in Jordan)
- Motorcycle Accidents = 1 (Kyla in Myanmar)
- Temples visited = too many to count!
- Bugs Eaten = Calais – 2, Kacela – 1, Kyla – 3, Randy – 3
- Strangest thing the girls ate = Rabbit brain in Chengdu, China
- Spiciest dish = Szechuan hot pot in Chengdu, China
- Best vegetarian food = Amritsar, India
- Tastiest Pupusa = Pupuseria Esmeralda, Juayua, El Salvador
- Most delicious empanada = Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
- Lost clothing = 1 pair of Kacela’s underwear!
- # of times Randy lost his drone in a river = 2…the first one is gone forever, the second one we got back and it still works!
- Plastic water bottles saved because of our Grayl water bottle & filter = thousands
- Illnesses = Calais & Kacela got food poisoning from ice cream in Uzbekistan. Randy & Kyla got giardia (beaver fever) from Lake Atitlan. Then Randy got gout from the giardia medication, and then he got a rash from the gout medication!! Poor guy.
- Wonders of the World visited = 6/8!! Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Petra, Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu & Great Pyramids of Giza (honorary ancient wonder). We missed Christ the Redeemer & The Colosseum.
Settling In After A Year Away
Everyone keeps asking how we’re setting back in, and my answer has always been “great!”
We were ready to come home. Everyone was getting tired and traveled-out. The kids were excited to see their friends and play with their toys. I was happy to get home to my bed, shower and a bit of routine. It’s felt good to be home.
But I’ve also completely avoided anything having to do with our trip. I’ve unpacked our things and put (almost) everything away, set up the kitchen, and visited with family and friends. We brought home the girl’s post cards from the clinic and it was a month before we even looked at them. I haven’t gone through pictures, and I haven’t written a single word about our trip. That is about to change, but so far I’ve been a master of avoidance!
After watching the Bucket List Family’s return home and letter to their kids, I was a complete basket case. I realized I’ve compartmentalized our trip and shoved it to the back recesses of my brain. I’m adjusting well at home because I’m acting like we didn’t go away.
It was too raw.
We planned and saved for almost 5 years for this big adventure…and now we’re home and it’s over.
Now that the initial adjustment period is over, I’m ready to open up the flood gates. It’s time to get back to the pictures, and the writing, and remembering.