Here we are… a whole year later. 365 days ago, we jumped on a flight out of Perth, Australia and took off on our adventure of a lifetime – our nomadic existence, travelling from place to place around the continent of Asia.
It’s been one epic adventure. In the last year we have visited places we’ve always dreamt of – and places we had no idea existed. We have stayed in luxury hotels, spider ridden bungalows by the river and tents in the middle of sand dunes. We have ridden motorbikes across volcanic craters, looked for wild orang-utans on a river safari, rode camels through the desert, trekked through tea plantations, enjoyed an onsen in the middle of the snow, and climbed Great Walls….
We’ve also had food poisoning. Suffered motion sickness. Not been able to leave our room for days on end because we’ve been so unwell. We’ve gotten lost, had trouble communicating, lost our wallet, been ripped off and gotten into arguments. On more than one occasion we’ve spent up to 24 hours at a time transiting between destinations via taxi, plane, bus, bus and bus…
But – we’ve had the best year of our lives.
We’ve made new friends, and caught up with old ones. We’ve spent more time together, as a couple, as a team than we have in our previous four years together. We’ve grown closer, we talk more, become more sympathetic and understanding towards each other, have a whole new level of respect and awe for what each other does and how we’ve made this last year work.
Of late though, we have been struggling. If you’ve been reading our blog from the very beginning, you’ll know that one of the reasons we decided to take off on our nomadic existence was the very unique opportunity we had – Mike’s fly-in, fly-out job role that allows him 32 weeks off a year. It made sense in every way – including financially – for me to quit my job to allow us to travel full-time, with Mike heading overseas on every one of his breaks to join me in exploring a new country.
In theory, this was a great idea.
What we didn’t realise, is just how how taxing this would become for Mike. After working 14 days straight in a high pressure work environment, Mike then jumps on several flights to then commence travelling for weeks at a time at a frenetic pace, before returning to work to repeat the cycle again. He’s been doing this the entire year.
In the last few trips we’ve noticed more and more just how fatiguing that has been for him. That being so exhausted means it takes several days for him to get going again in a new country. That the enjoyment of our travels is diminished somewhat because we’re missing out on things – because we’re sleeping – or that everything and everyone annoys us when it shouldn’t, but we can’t help it because we’re feeling irritable and tired.
We’ve started taking what we’re doing – the incredible privilege to explore this beautiful world – for granted.
It’s one of the reasons why made the decision to come back to Perth again. It was never part of the plan, but it became something we needed to do. Mike needed a break.
We needed to take a step back and remember why we decided to leave in the first place. That travel, and travel together is our greatest love. That we don’t want to live an ordinary life.
Life in Perth, for us, was ordinary. Life here didn’t excite us, didn’t get our blood pumping, didn’t awaken our senses – like travelling does. Coming back for the first time in a year – we’ve been reminded of that. Nothing has changed in the year we’ve been gone. Nearly everything and everyone is the same. We know now that we could never come back and revert to how we used to live our lives before we went travelling. Becoming complacent, and taking travel for granted these last few months perhaps has been a blessing in disguise – it’s re-affirmed that we DID make the right decision to leave, that we want to make the most of our work-life balance, and most of all that we want to travel – for as long as we possibly can.
So now that we’ve come to remember why it is we left, and know that we want to travel for the rest of our lives, we still have the issue of fatigue management – we don’t want to face the same issues that we’ve just faced. We know that we need to change our approach to the way we’ve been travelling if we want to continue enjoying it.
We’ve decided to take inspiration from our namesake – A Nomadic Existence. We chose this name for our blog because its how we saw us living our life – nomadically existing, from place to place for weeks, months, maybe even years on end and doing all the things we enjoy. To experience different cultures and ways of life to the fullest.
We’ve done this to a degree this last year, but not as much as we want to. We believe this is the key to more enjoyment in our future travels. So, we’re considering having a base – a ‘home away from home’ in another country that offers us both the lifestyle we want, but is in a great position to travel from. From there, we can put into practice the changes we want to make in our life – health, fitness and mindfulness, without the stress of being on the road every other day. This also then gives us the opportunity to put more thought into well planned trips – and not just any trip, but incredible, bucket-list, mind-blowing trips – and to do them at a slower pace.
We believe this will be the key to ‘happier travels’ for us both going forward. To give us more opportunity to work together in coming up with ways we can travel smarter and longer and in a more fulfilling way.
I hope this is a little insight into what the reality of travelling long-term can actually be like. By no means are we ungrateful for the year we’ve had – we know we’re lucky. But it’s not all sunshine and roses – it has been incredibly draining and mentally fatiguing at times. That’s why we knew it was important to press pause for just a moment – that looking after our mental health and defining what makes us happy was more important than continuing to push on.
It’s been so nice to come home and spend time with our family and friends, who we’ve missed so much. To re-visit our old jaunts, eat our favourite ‘only in Australia’ foods, to go on road trips. However, we know now that this isn’t home anymore – it’s a place to visit. Home is the two of us, on the road, adapting to new places, people and cultures and living a life of adventure.
We can’t wait to get back on the road and to continue sharing our adventures with you. Inspiring you – our readers – to travel more is such a privilege. Travel has changed our life, and if we can inspire you to make it more of a priority in your life too – well, what more can we wish for?
What a year! 365 days,12 countries, 93 cities, 32 flights, 85 different beds, 39 train trips, 39 bus trips and 8 boat trips. And you have been there, sharing our journey the entire time. Thank YOU for reading our blogs, liking our pictures, leaving us comments and well-wishes and getting in touch with your travel questions. It’s been a blast – here’s to the next year, the next adventures – to living a nomadic existence, and inspiring YOU to travel more.