Five months ‘on the road’
It feels like a only a moment ago that I shared that we would take a year to travel around. Filled with excitement and curiosity, we left Belgium not knowing how longterm travel would suit us. And here we are, three months later and loving it.
What’s it like?
In the beginning it didn’t feel like a worldtrip yet; it felt like a longer holiday. I enjoyed myself a lot, but the feeling of home lingered. I loved my life in Belgium and before leaving I was a little bit anxious about pausing that life for a year. What would that do? I was looking forward to getting a home with Michiel, after our first year of living together. I loved my job and I had a project ready to start. But I also really wanted to do this, I had no doubts.
After a month, home felt further away and I could finally let it go completely. We were done with the holiday feeling, this was our life now! We adjusted so quickly to this nomad lifestyle. We inconsciously started calling our hotel rooms ‘home’ (like, when we get home etc.) and it felt like that every time – even when we would only stay there for two nights. Our home was a place for ourselves, the two of us. No matter where we were.
In our third country we finally realized that this was real, we are living our year around the world. Not that that realization changed our experience in any way, but that’s when it started feeling like our life, more than a trip.
The balance in a life of travel
As much as we enjoyed discovering new countries,
new cultures, new places and living new experiences, there were also some
challenges. This was our life now, so it’s very different from a single trip.
And in the beginning, we realized we were doing too much. Our first country,
China, was were we had planned a lot of things. Looking back on it, I don’t
know why, since we knew that that was what we didn’t want for all the other
countries. I guess it had something to do with the strict regulations of the
visa and such…
We went from place to place and often did not stay that long. One week was so intense that we stayed somewhere different every night. This was mostly the consequence of three things: our choice of not taking innercountry flights (we did not want to add more to our big footprint already), our visa deadline of 30 days and wanting to see too much. And we felt it (mostly me, Michiel is very hardcore!). The good thing that came from it is that we knew that this was not the way. We knew that already, but somehow we let ourselves be fooled.
Take it eeeeeaaaaasy
So we changed things up. Some travel days, we would simply do nothing more than sleep in, eat, watch series and read or write. It’s a weird thing to do, because when you see other travellers, it feels as if every day is amazing and should be amazing. FOMO (the fear of missing out) is definitely there, but it should stay fun and enjoyable and that’s not possible without rest days. The only thing I still need to figure out in the balance is the blogging and vlogging (as you probably realize since I should be posting more!)
We still have to be careful – or better said, mindful – about this balance. It’s tempting to keep going, but by now, we can really enjoy these lazy days. We know they are necessary and since implying them in our trips, this journey really feels like our ‘normal’ life. I have to admit that I’m really liking this nomad lifestyle – to that degree that I’m starting to wonder how I’ll feel once back home. But I’ve learned to believe that the future will be okay, as long as I listen to what I really want. It’ll figure itself out.
Moments to remember
So what are the highlights of our trips? I’ll randomnly name some things that stood out:
- Cambodia is high on my list because our three weeks there was a perfect combination of everything! Activities like a bike tour, a cooking class and snorkling. Lazy days at the beach, lots of cultures, tropical island, countryside and cities. It was alittle bit of everything and it was perfect!
- Favourite nature: New Zealand!
- Travelling New Zealand has a different rythm because we are staying here for at least three months. This part of our journey feels slower because of that. It’s also our biggest challenge, since we are trying to walk our first thru-hike.
- Following that, what I’m most proud of: walking 250km with a heavy backpack! Around a 1100 more kilometres to go!
- Worst toilet: a roadside puclic toilet in China. Won’t even try to describe it but we were both horrified!
- Favourite food: China! Aaah how we love the Chinese cuisine! In one month, we only once had a bad meal! We really miss it! Oh and a big plus: in China you don’t have to worry much about food poisoning, which is such a luxury! A street food stand may look questionable or even dirty, but if there are lots of people, you know it will be good!
- New travelhack: I get carsick, so long distance bus trips and such were really boring for me because I could not read or watch movies/series. New discovery: podcasts! Love it!
I was thinking about other things that stand out, but honestly, most things do! Everything has its charm in a different way! (I’ll have so much work creating photo albums when I’m done).
Not all instaperfect
Disclaimer: Not all days are spectacular and filled with beautiful travel moments. Some days are simply travel days, spend on a bus and going from one place to the other. Like I mentioned before, some days are spent in bed, with books (well, e-reader) and Netflix and chill. Some days suck – we both have been ill already and that is one of the things (in my opinion) that suck the most about travelling. There’s something about being ill that makes you want to be at home.
A new way of life
All of this is our life and so far we are loving it and we’re definitely not thinking about coming home! We are really adjusted to the nomad lifestyle and are slowly becoming travel pro’s.
How are we as a team?
Good, we are goooood! The fun thing is that we are both good in different things; Michiel is good with the practical stuff, like arranging buses and figuring out how to get somewhere, looking up timetables and etc. I hate that! We’re both good at searching for what to do (easiest and most fun part) and I love to look for places to stay! Most of the time we’re on the same page when we choose what we want to do and even what we want to eat. I guess after 9 years of being together, you start to really feel each other.
Surprisingly, being together so much works good for us! I love to be alone from time to time but have needed that wat less than I expected. We also have ‘alone time’ together and then we simply read or watch something next to each other. And if one of us would need to be alone, that wouldn’t be an issue. Last week, I went out to drink a coffee and spent an hour writing in a lovely café by myself, which I really enjoyed.
Ofcourse, sometimes we rub each other the wrong way. That’s mostly on the less fun days when we have to wait a lot, or when we have long travel days… then it’s easier to get irritated with each other. But we don’t have big fights or discussions (yet haha) and we mostly know that it’s more the influence of the day than each other. We’re still very much in love haha!
What’s up next?
We’re planning to stay in New Zealand for two more months. We want to finish the Te Araroa and have lots of kilometres of walking before us to reach the end point in Bluff. We are excited about it though! And my parents are coming for a visit, something I really look forward too!
We don’t know our exact departure day yet, but our visa expires May 19th. Chances are we leave in April already though. Next up is Indonesia and in random order Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Nothing is booked or planned yet and we like it that way. We’ll plan each country roughly by deciding what we definitely do not want to miss, but we want to leave room for unexpected things and surprises. You learn more about every place you visit while being there, so who knows what we’ll discover! So we’ll head back to Asia for a while! South-America is also on our list, but that’s far far away!
I hoped you enjoyed my update!
Lots of love,