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Published: February 9th 2007
The Last Blog
Home. Home sweet Home.
Questions, Queries, Challenges, Confusion, Excitement, Anxiety, Sadness, Awe and Pride. Needless to say, at the end of a trip like the one we've had, a plethora of feelings and emotions come flying in from all directions. So, we're back at home. Are we different? Did we accomplish what we set out to achieve? Was it worth all that money? What have we learnt about ourselves, each other and the world? Big questions, no? And to be frank, I don't think we have all the answers. With more time and distance from our experience of 2006, maybe things will become clearer and there'll be that lighting-bolt moment. But for the time being we have to settle with what we have, and in this, our last blog, will attempt to cohesively wrap up what it means (to us) to have traveled. And like the rest of our blog entries, whilst we hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as us, this forum has been and will be a treasure for Dom & I to look back on in our own time, together. (And what a brilliant web site Travelblog is... such
a gift to add to our experience!)
So we were tossing up what to write in this blog. Should we go with the 'Top Ten' lists? (everyone loves a top list, right!?) What were our top countries, top experiences etc? I know these are good questions with easy to digest answers. (and we would be more than happy to be asked these questions!). But what about - how does it feel to leave a good paying job, your friends, your loving family, your routine and your comforts to travel around the world?
Well, first of all, it feels kind of terrifying because shouldn't that money go to a house? Isn't there something more sensible and tangible that a young professional couple should be doing with their time? Everyone has their own ambitions and desires and I guess for us, those things could wait. So instead, we took off - 'escaped'
some might even say! And interestingly, this escape actually does happen, but not so much in a physical sense... it is much more personal. How I look at it is that one of the early sensations to strike you when on the road is that you become 'undefined'.
No longer was I 'Yvette from Canberra, who went to a good school, with a great job, friends and family who are generally fun to be around! ' Sitting in the back of a car in India on our way to a town I had never heard of until a few days earlier, it occurred to me that we had become nothing. Travel (like many 'new starts') gives you an opportunity to redefine yourself. Did I want to be a quiet person, outgoing, serious, funny or something else? What was it that was important to me?
You disconnect from the day-to-day, the chores, the external factors cluttering up your mind and instead reconnect with all that it is that you have with you; a 15kg rucksack, your thoughts, your hopes and your companion.
So there is plenty of time to think, to make peace, dream and redefine. Trekking was where this hit home most and I have to say, we're right yompers
now! Definitely one of the highlights of our year were the times we were outdoors, walking.
But as the year continued, we saw so much, we read books that we'd never have the time to
read at home, we met people from an entirely different sphere, we saw ways of living that shock and sadden and gradually, the external sensory forces came back into gear and our thoughts moved to what was around us. We'd graduated from "how's my career going" to "what is important to me" to eventually "why is a 5 year old shining shoes for a living?"
So how I look at this transition is on two different levels. One - we read. We read and read and read. And I have to say, my one big piece of advice to anyone traveling is to read about the places where you are. I can't say how much Wild Swans
helped me piece together China, how The Glass Palace
helped me understand Colonialism, how Fine Balance
helped me understand homelessness and poverty, how The Road to Wigan Pier
helped me think about the class systems that exist in our world - to rattle off but a few. And then there were the autobiographies. Ghandi's was not easy to read, and neither was the Dalhi Lama's for other reasons. Look out for Dom in his 'Save Tibet' t-shirt at a pub near you!!
The second level of how the world came home to us was really in what we saw. I think it goes without saying that we saw some really sad stuff. You can't go to China, India and Africa without knowing you're going to be confronted. But then again, we also saw a lot of hope. The kids in Africa were just beautiful
- the smiles we won't forget. Dom and his soccor camp durig our truck's roadside breakdown. The chirpy little boy selling fruit after school on a beach in Zanzibar. Bright, energetic and on the most part, educated. I loved seeing the kids in Africa, both boys and girls, in their uniforms coming out of school at 3pm. There's something about the spirit of Africa. Just an amazing place.
But I digress, my point here is that I feel we have become more awake. More awake to ourselves, each other and more awake to the world. I hope we've become more interesting people. (Others will have to be the judge of that!) But I know that one of the things we'll take away is to be able to watch the 6pm news with a different view. If
there's a story about somewhere we've been, I think we will feel it more. We'll be able to put a face to the place. And whilst I know we can't necessarily change what is going on, at least we can be more compassionate.
And then maybe, time and spirit willing, we can take some of that compassion to our own communities, friends and family.
Its an interesting debate that whether those of us lucky enough to be born in a country where opportunities abound have the right to spend our disposable time and money in a place where others are less fortunate. To leave with only a bit of sightseeing, some souvenir shopping and our potentially warped opinions. Is it hypocritical to touch these places, leave nothing of significant contribution and then return back to our comfortable lives? To be honest, I know both Dom and I aspire to a certain lifestyle that means we won't be joining the next Red Cross mission in the Sudan. I guess we honestly know that, for better or worse, its just not in us. But at this stage, my only answer to this very loaded debate is that the least we
can do is do something
for others - no matter where or on what scale.
So this brings me closer to the end of my ramble and one of the things playing in our minds. What are we going to take forward from all of this? Well, first off, we want to keep reading, we want to keep an eye on the bigger picture (its not all about work!) and we want to spend more time with our families. I guess in 1 year, 10 years and the next 50, that if we can say a year of travel helped us achieve these three things, then yes, it was worth it.
I've kind of saved the best for last, as I needed to get some of the less clear things in my mind out on paper before I could get to the one lesson and accomplishment that is much more obvious. And that's what Dom & I have experienced, that it was together and that we are now so much stronger.
I'll end with two quotes. The first was given to me about a month before we set off by a colleague who had also traveled for
12 months. I kept it with us the whole time we were traveling. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain
The second says it all for Dom & I. "But what then? What had he really gained by all his trouble? What had he brought back from this long and weary journey? Nothing say you?
Perhaps so, nothing but a charming woman, who, strange as it may appear, made him the happiest of men!
Truely, would you not for less than that go around the world?" Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days
Well then, I think YT has summarised my thoughts and feelings of this MAGICAL trip perfectly and what a lucky fella I am to find her!
The how's, the why's, the haves, the have nots, the blacks, browns, whites yellows, the young and fit, the old and wise, the young professionals, the tribal warriors. We
have met them all this year and the thing that I have realised during our time on the road is both very personal to me but also, very relevant to every one of us.
Standing on my soap box and shouting out to anybody that will listen, I can honestly say that overall, PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ARE GOOD PEOPLE. We all have our own paths and agendas but when it comes down to the bare bone facts, we all simply want to look after and provide for our nearest and dearest and be loved. I have been overawed and heartened by the kindness and genuine goodness of people I have met on our world discovery tour. This is a very big realisation for me and one which was worth every penny spent discovering. I have also concluded that you don't need alot of money to be happy. Of course it helps and it is easy for me to say as I don't live in abject poverty. However, the people we met who live on $1 a day, beg, sell, steal and borrow, simply to put food in their childrens mouths always had a smile and a mambo, sawasdhee,
konichiwa, neehow, namaste, hola, hello or simply a G'day for us.
People are good my friends and the world is an amazing place. Two very simple facts that we should all do our best to discover!
We would also like to say to everybody (including the ABS guys) who have read our blog and enjoyed the pictures and stories, THANKYOU for doing so and for all the great comments and feedback we have had from you all. Whilst it is simply a travel diary for us, we have loved sharing our experiences with you.
So I guess that's it from us, we will miss all you guys in the Southern Hemisphere and can't wait to see our friends and loved ones in the Northern Hemisphere. As a Masai warrior said to us this year "Poa Ka Chize, karmandize, Daniel Friji - Stay cool and crazy like a banana in the fridge!
Dom & YTx
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Just wow. A life time of memories to keep forever.
Raleigh International Costa Rica 07B
Wow you mirror my thoughts
Guys, i just stumbled across your latest entry(for some reason the update function is not working) as I set up a blog for our Raleigh expedition here in Costa Rica, as I read your entries I have a tear because what you talk about is exactly and frankly what my experience has brought me to and I agree with everything you say, particularly about the stuff about being able to live happily off nothing. Ill look forward to seeing you in the Northern hemisphere this summer. Lots of Love Bella xx
Well in youse two adventurers
Hi dudes, loved your last blog and seeing more of the pics. Yvie, I hear what you say particularly about work and the concept of 'putting all that money into a house' but seriously, we've got another 60 odd years to do all that. Despite now paying off travel debts, Benno and I wouldn't have given up our year of travel for anything, and we're pumped that we could spend some of it with you! We also appreciate home more than we did before + look forward to getting our website up so you can read and see our stuff, but more importantly, reminisce about it all over again. May the force be with you in the UK - write soon and let us know how it's all going. Huge hugs, Bex + Benno. xxx
This should come with one. Crying in the office is NOT a good look Thanks for sharing it all with us ab xo
While I was following your trip around the world step by step, you guys have exactly pointed out the real meaning of travelling with this "final chapter"...an internship with the Human Being, valuable for any career you may decide to go for...I'm happy for you and hope your example will be followed by others, it's not a matter of where you go but how you go...Wish you good luck for everything!
Life and adventure
Hope you guys are settling well in the UK. It's true what you say about travel and your perception of the world. After being to Africa and recently seeing Blood Diamond I didn't stop crying for half an hour. Seeing and knowing what people face day to day makes your attitude change. But on a positive note there is hope and I know no matter how small we can make a positive impact on the world.
memory are forever,the time exsist was true!
i did like "Poa Ka Chize, karmandize, Daniel Friji - Stay cool and crazy like a banana in the fridge! since you wrote that page..Your all memory came back to you when you wrap up. i would think as well , if i were you,,what have i learnt? isnt it worth?cause that we want to hear! but yeah,,you are rigt,,it is not come to you so quicly,,time goes by after..you have learn a lot to me,,,as i can see blog,,but you might realize later,,i am proud of you guys,,im sure you guys keep his word,Mark Twain .i believe that people are born to be good person. Yvette,,i like what you wrote always..you are gifted to wirte..you can tell what exactlly you thougt,,you can publish book.i mean not for money,,i mean it could tell more people ,,not only for us..hehe,,well...i am sorry for my english,,,it is shy to leave comment sometime..hehe,,so i go away with out leaving comment sometime..hehe but thanks for great blog i have ever read,,thanks for give oppotunity to know and think a lot of things!
Hey guys - just stumbled across your blog and after seeing your first piccies, I just couldn't stop seeing the entire blog. What an amazing experience u had. I SO wanna have this experience as well and from all the reading I've been doing was well worth it... Thank you so much for the inspiration :) xx PS - Shame u didn't stop at Portugal, lovely country ;)