Two years on the road…
On the 19th day of every month I like to give myself a little pat on the back because its my travelversary; the anniversary of the first time I left home and means I have spent another month on the road. Today is that little bit more special because it marks two years on the road!
As the old adage goes, time flies when you are having fun and the past two years of my life, which have been spent in 40 countries across all seven continents, have flown by. As I reminisce on the time I have spent travelling around the world, I cannot help but think how blessed I am to have had this opportunity.
This time last year I wrote about my first year on the road from a café in chilly Iceland, and today I’m writing this from my balcony in Utila, Honduras where I am in the midst of completing my PADI Open Water Diver course. It’s crazy to think how big a difference a year makes, let alone two.
My style of travel over the past two years has changed and slowed down significantly. When I first began in China in November 2013, I wanted to see everything and anything a city had to offer. Every museum and monument and lookout had to be seen to get the full experience. Nowadays, I usually visit two or three of the main attractions in a city and spend more time walking around and chilling out in cafés talking to people. I have come to realise that you cannot see everything, even if you travel your whole life, and most importantly, it’s not the museums or lookout points you remember, it’s the times you spent with people playing cards in a café on a rainy day that are memorable.
I often get asked if I am sick of travelling and living out of a backpack, which might sound silly to those who have never spent an extended period of time travelling, but it does get tiring. By no means am I sick of it, but long-term travel is full on and becomes your lifestyle and ‘job’, although it’s no normal 9-5. Travel is 24-7 of packing, taking flights, buses or trains, unpacking, bartering, navigating new cities and public transport, making new friends and then saying goodbye, lots and lots of walking, and sightseeing amongst many other things. These are usually all done in a different language, which makes it more challenging and interesting.
Over the course of two years, I have experienced some extraordinary things, which have made me stop and think about my place in the world and really understand how small I am within it. I have seen the best and worst this world has to offer from the Paris Peace Rally following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, to watching a volcano erupt only a few hundred metres away, to being in Antarctica and Galapagos and also seeing poverty first hand.
We travel to see the world and experience what it has to offer whilst meeting new people and making new friends. Travel broadens your horizons and challenges you in ways you never thought you would be challenged. It brings out the best and worst in people, but gives you a greater understanding of not only yourself, but also people from different cultures. I have been blessed to be able to experience the things I have seen and the people I have met, but after two years on the road I am also looking forward to settling somewhere for a while and living a ‘normal’ life…