Last week it was our two year anniversary from being away from home. As far as I’m concerned it’s not exactly something we’ve had time to celebrate or even notice, there’s always so much going on there doesn’t seem to be time to stop and recollect what we’ve achieved.
But I guess truthfully, it’s a pretty important milestone for us. We have been across North America, South America and Australia and now we are living in New Zealand, and since leaving home back in January 2015 so much has changed for us.
These last two years have undoubtedly been one of the biggest tests of our lives. Both Stephen and I were new to long-term travel and we had to learn how to create a life for ourselves, and more than once.
We’ve had to learn to be adaptable, from working as musicians in a covers band in Colombia to joining the Aussie rat race in slick offices in Sydney. We have had to change our travel personas numerous times, and as we begin our third, fourth or maybe even fifth life here in New Zealand – we are learning what it means to be a temporary citizen of this country.
The beauty of working, living and travelling in different countries is just that. In my experience, you learn so much more both about yourself and the place when you live and work somewhere than when you travel. You have to become an almost citizen and learn the customs, you get to work with locals rather than meet them as a tourist in their country and you have your own base with new things to call your own.
There is a price that comes with all of this. And as the new year dawned after some fun travelling across Australia, we realised it was time to set up our lives yet again. It’s daunting and scary. There is tons of work involved and lots of risk – applying for jobs feels endless, finding somewhere to live and learning how to fit in.
Long-term travellers learn how to live on a ridiculously tight budget – i.e. no budget. And learn to eat beans every. single. day. You accept the cheapest accommodation you can find and when to turn your knickers inside out.
However you also gain a lot. In the midst those very rewarding and challenging livelihood moments, whether it be in Orlando, Cali, Sydney or Wellington, you meet incredible people and begin a life that isn’t pre-destined. It’s entirely of your own making.
You also get to see these places. When I was young I was always obsessed with living in the US, and living out a fantasy is always nice. But taking an RV around the Southern States, watching a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral with new best friends and staring down the Grand Canyon was far beyond my childhood imagination.
It’s a mystery to me sometimes why we all love to see and experience new things – but let me tell you it’s an extremely giving way to live. Your money becomes invaluable when you learn about ancient indigenous cultures, mystical creatures of the rainforest and some of the Earth’s finest natural remnants.
As soon as you see these things in real life you want to be immersed in them. Yeah, you can watch the documentaries from the comfort of your expensive cushioned sofa and never have to grace a noisy hostel in a less-than-comfortable dorm bunk bed, BUT you won’t have seen it with your own eyes. And until you do you won’t fully embrace that ‘thing’ as something real and tangible. It’s distant and ineffective to you – however interested you are in it from afar.
After two years of doing this there are times when you are sick of the dorm room, the long-haul buses and the backpack filled with smelly clothes. But, you can never become sick of seeing new things.
And that’s why we are doing it again. Starting another year of live this ‘nomadic-yet-homely’ existence. Making homes and standing face-to-face with some of the world’s most incredible sights will continues to be the goal for 2017 – while we still can anyway.
Just some of the last two years…