The final chapter.

Trip Start Apr 10, 2010
Trip End Apr 10, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, January 27, 2011

It was strange to be back home again, simply seeing Sydney harbor from the plane suddenly made us staunchly proud to be Australian, and overjoyed to be back in our land. At least, until we got on the train for Morisset and had to listen to all the yobbo's harping on about binge drinking and promiscuity. Which quickly thinned our newfound patriotism.

Home. There is nothing like it, and we decidedly wouldn’t trade it for anywhere!

We both designed 20 questions we thought would summarize our experience. Especially now that it is at a close. We both were unaware of each other’s answers, so it was interesting to see the similarities and differences.

Another thing to comment on is that coming home means that we now will have to spend time apart to do our old things like working. This is groundbreaking, as we have not left each other’s side for 10 months. We set out to prove that we are solid in our marriage and now it is definitive proof. What lies next from this is just as exciting.

  1. What was your best day and your worst day on the trip?
    JENA: Best day was when we crossed over the mountains in Croatia to where the ocean was. We spent the whole day snorkeling and lazing about in the sun. The worst day was the 46 degree day in France when we couldn’t find any water or shade.
    JOEL: So many good days, especially in Tuscany. A day there would have been heaven if there was fishing. But I suppose I’d have to settle for the good views, fresh food good vintage wine.
    For me the worst day was when I drove the car into the tree. Probably more of a smash to my pride than anything. But now that I think of it, that time I broke the shower was a crap day too…
  2. Favorite country? Why?
    JENA: It has to be Norway. The wild landscape is like no other. There’s not enough words to explain the feeling.
    JOEL: Norway, so wild and pristine. But very dangerous and respectable. Probably not the best in winter, but its mind-blowing in spring and summer.
  3. Favorite City? Why?
    JENA: Rome. The history, people and architecture make for an unbelievable time. And there’s just so much to see.
    JOEL: Barcelona. Most cities have an air of seediness, but Barcelona felt so vibrant and cheery, like a celebration of life and art where every corner was inspirational.
  4. Scariest situation/s?
    JENA: When I split my head open in Germany and couldn’t move.
    JOEL: Apart from Jena’s boom, it would have to be that time we got bigwig stuck on that hill in Annecy. We nearly caused horrendous damage to an ancient looking jewelry shop.
  5. Lessons learnt?
    JENA: Park the car near other people. You don’t need much stuff. You can’t keep cheese in 40 degree temps. There’s a lot you can do with a 2 burner stove. I need shoes with good grip. Life needs to be LIVED.
    JOEL: You can carry your whole world in a bag on your back. I learnt how to drive on the other side of the road (now its just a matter of unlearning!) I learnt how to sleep with one ear open. This habit has not subtracted from my paranoia. But it serves you well when you park in some sketchy areas.
  6. Where would you like to return to?
    JENA: Norway. Sweden. Montepulciano. Cinque Terre. Bavaria. Budapest. Istria. Barcelona. Prague.
    JOEL: Home.. Bigwig (goodbye me old mucka). Praha, Budapest, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Barcelona, Gerianger Fjord, Copenhagen, Bavaria.
  7. What regrets?
    JENA: Being silly when Mum & Dad came over. Not going to Morocco. Selling BigWig.
    JOEL: I regret not being able to mix it with more people our age, given the way we traveled, most other campers were elderly. I regret not fixing the shower sooner as the lovemaking afterwards was epic.
  8. What are you most proud of?
    JENA: My marriage.
    JOEL: The J-Team, we also never seriously broke down, so in that respect I’m proud of our shrine because it aided us well.
  9. Favorite park-platz?
    JENA: The cliffs in Istria.
    JOEL: Montepulciano.
  10. Best Schloss?
    JENA: Bodiam castle in Sussex.
    JOEL: 1st: St. Michaels Mount (Cornwall). 2nd: Hluboka nad Vltavou (Czech). 3rd: Carcassone (France). 4th: Alhambra (Granada). 5th: château Chillon (Swiss).
  11. If you could go back and do it again, what changes?
    JENA: None.
    JOEL: Get a frisby sooner
  12. Memorable drives?
    JENA: Crossing from Denmark to Sweden. Norwegian fjords. Tuscan hills. Sierra Nevada.
    JOEL: Norway, The Romantisch strasse, Spain and Portugal.
  13. A comment on married life.
    JENA: We know each other inside out and nothing can break us. I feel we can do anything.
    JOEL: It really was make or break living a year in such a confined place, but I think the marriage is well and truly consummated! Life is sweet, and our friendship is indominable.
  14. Favorite artwork?
    JENA: A Matter Of Time, in the Guggenheim.
    JOEL: Virgin of the rocks
  15. Pleasant surprises?
    JENA: The kindness of others... welcoming us into their homes. And things just seem to flow right.
    JOEL: Meeting randomly generous people. The amount of schloss. Also the fact we didn’t get robbed or had Bigwig crashed or broken.
  16. What places didn’t live up to expectations?
    JENA: I hate to say it, but France.
    JOEL: They should change France’s name to 'Dogshit land’. Too much poo.
  17. Moment to remember.
    JENA: Stripping off and jumping the lake at Annecy.
    JOEL: Breakfasts in the mountains, and Vanto!
  18. How will you change your life henceforth?
    JENA: Stress free. Living with very little. Just to be happy. Always having time for friends and family. No more makeup (or very little). No more TV. Live fresh.
    JOEL: A greater love for Australia. Live life in the moment and be content with the bare minimum.
  19. Comment on religion.
    JENA: Well… I have come to a conclusion which is synonymous across all religions... that is to live with LIFE and LOVE. Each religion embodies this differently, but I think these are the fundamentals on how I want to live my life.
    JOEL: It was very interesting to see Christianity in its old form, I have a good appreciation for the decorative temple, and therefore appreciate the love and passion that goes into the building of the churches. All together it has shown me that it is tremendously naïve to imagine God as a person or character. But it is more easily recognized in love and the natural ways of nature, which is typically seen in human artistic expression.
  20. Future travel plans/dreams?
    JENA: Too many! Australia, Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America…
    JOEL: I’d still like to see Japan, but I’ve found I far enjoy more remote places. So most definitely an outback adventure is on the cards.

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Shan on

Welcome back guys! sounds like you had an absolutely amazing life-altering eye-opening adventure and I wish you many more in your future! plus more schloss!

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