Around the world in 365 days – yes, this is at a much more leisurely pace than Phileas Fogg. But hey, we were on holiday ! So what does a Round the World trip have to offer? How does one write about returning home after one year’s travelling around the world?
The last year was the greatest experience of our lives and yet, being back home, it feels like we never left…like the last year was a mere dream. Every now and again something small will remind us that it really did happen – WE TRAVELLED AROUND THE WORLD and survived to tell this story!
The first three months of our trip was like a very long Christmas day – everything is new and exciting and interesting. We charged into each day with so much energy and enthusiasm to make sure that we do not miss a thing. Then we started to realise that we have been on holiday for three months and that we had another nine months to go. It was only then that we started to take things slowly and really soak up the experience.
Closer to the end of our trip, we noticed that we had less patience with new cultures and the way things work in other countries than what we had earlier in our trip. We were craving a slick system, things that work like it’s supposed to and the familiar. There were many things that we did not look forward to when back in SA. For one, we did not look forward to getting back into the 9 to 5 ratrace. We knew we would also miss the freedom to just do whatever we wanted to – get up at anytime, go where we feel like, eat out all of the time, handing clothes in at a laundromat and having no responsibilities But we knew that as soon as we returned home, we would miss all the things we encountered on our travels.
Looking back, there are a number of highlights. And even the memory of the lower moments puts a smile on our faces. Here are some of those moments that will be imprinted in our minds forever:
- 18 countries in 365 days… 1061 hours spent travelling (that is 44 24-hour days!)
- Realising that we have so much time at hand and that we can travel without any rush
- Meeting fellow travellers, and sometimes, life-long friends
- Experiencing temperatures from -20 to 48 degrees Celsius
- Hiking in the Himalayas for three weeks – Nepal
- Acting in a Bollywood Movie – India (Movie’s name is Coffee Shop – still looking for the DVD)
- Paragliding between snow-capped mountains – Nepal
- Zipping over forest canopies and sleeping in a 50 meter high tree-house on the Gibbon Experience – Laos
- Smoking a traditional sheesha pipe on the streets of Cairo
- Drinking an Indian chai tea on a packed train – India
- Doing various courses including cooking, massage and Spanish lessons
- Flying over the mystical Nazca lines – Peru
- Swooping down a massive sand dune on a sand board – Peru
- Swimming with sea lions and sharks – Galapagos Islands
- Diving in the Red Sea and floating on the Dead Sea
- Risking life and limb in taxis (much worse than SA, can you believe?)
- Lying on a hammock overlooking pearly white beeches – Philippines and Thailand
- Having our own private island – Palawan, Philippines
- Watching mud boil out of the earth – New Zealand
- Playing on endless salt flats at 5000m above sea level – Bolivia
- Seeing the biggest of the big: Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia, Iguaçu falls in Argentina/Brazil, Himalayas in Nepal, St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina, Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia
- Standing in front of the mysterious Moai faces on the isolated Easter Islands
- Spending time in the Amazon Rainforest: searching for tarantulas (and finding them), eating live beetle larva, witnessing an eagle catch a squirrel monkey, fishing for piranhas and watching rivers dolphins play in the water
- Gorgeous foreign cuisine: Vietnamese iced coffee, Indian chai tea, Indian food in general especially dum aloo, pad thai in Thailand, Thai coconut curries, dal bhat in Nepal, fresh seafood in Philippines, Tim Tams in New Zealand, Argentinean steaks, the set lunches in South America (sometimes very dodgy, but always cheep and filling), pizza in the Himalayas, exotic foods from the Amazon (including live larva, water from a tree, and yucca bread), humus and babaganoush in Egypt, watermelon-shakes in Laos and snapper in banana leaf in Vietnam
- Learning about the sad history of Cambodia and its hopeful people
- Meeting the lovely people of Laos
- Having tailor-made suites made in Hoi Ann, Vietnam
- Seeing three of the Seven Wonders of the World – Taj Mahal (India), Machu Picchu (Peru) and Petra (Jordan). And the Pyramids of Giza (Egypt), which should be on the list
- Everything about India – the madness, the filth, the odours (good and bad), the people, the forts, the food and the chai!
- Our ‘van’ road trip through New Zealand
- The toilets all over Asia! Squatting is good for those thighs
- Trekking in Patagonia – Southern parts of Chile and Argentina
- Cycling from winery to winery in Maipu – Argentina
- The road trip around Salta with our rent-a-car, Gerben and Maaike – Argentina
- The amazing wildlife on the Galapagos Islands, including swimming with playful sea lions
- Witnessing the Tango on the streets of Buenos Aires – Argentina
- Overlooking the massive Iguaçu Waterfalls – borders of Argentina and Brazil
- The amazing temples, excruciating heat and horrible men of Egypt
The list is endless… I want to challenge you – go on your own round the world trip, go and make your own endless list of inspiring memories.
After much deliberation… Eon’s top10 photos. These are not necessarily the best ones, but they have a special meaning (and a whole story behind it):
Watch out for ourRTW2.com in the not too distant future…