1 down and 39 or so to go.....

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The first month of this trip has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride of emotions, emotions of fear, excitement, frustration, happiness, fun and loads of nostalgia. In many ways it has been much tougher than expected but has also been much more rewarding than we could have imagined. I often still find myself wondering if quitting our jobs and giving up our 'normal' life and home wasn't a huge mistake and often think of all the different things we could have done with the money we're spending in this trip. And then every now and then we'll be somewhere breathtaking and I realise I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world. The more moments I have like this the more I look forward to the next day's surprises and then begin wondering if I'll ever be able to return to a normal life again.
Travelling for such long periods obviously has its challenges as have we have discovered. One of the biggest challenges we experienced from the outset has been to constantly monitor our budget and daily spend. You soon realise that this is not the typical holiday where there is a salary coming in at the end of the month so you need to be extra careful about how much money is being spent. Australia generally being as expensive as it is did not help matters much. Also the fact that we only discovered while we were well into our trip that our reputable international bank did not give us facility to view our detailed credit card transactions which meant there was no way we could pick up if any of the transactions were incorrect or we had been overcharged. This is especially concerning when you are so dependant on using your credit card to making on-line and telephonic booking almost on a daily basis.
Discipline when it comes to eating and exercising where another big challenge to overcome. It is extremely difficult to maintain a healthy diet when the golden arches to obesity can be found around every corner in Australia. What makes it even worse is that these 'happy meals' are often the cheapest meals you find, no wonder 49% of the country is obese. On top of this trying to stick to an exercise routine has also been extremely difficult and frustrating. At the beginning of the trip I was inspired by all the fit Australians running in the parks and along the waterways and had quite a few excellent runs, but it wasn't long before I started skipping runs especially where we were on the move every second day our two. This is something that will need to be addressed, I'll have to sit myself down and have a serious chat!!
As a married couple spending this much time together has had its own challenges. Any one who knows me will know I can be difficult at times, no two woman more so than my mother and wife. And when you spend almost 24 hours a day with a person you are bound to experience a little irritation. Fortunately I have an amazing wife who puts up with me I and goes out of her way to make me feel comfortable. Heaven alone knows how I would have been able to do this trip without her. We do however need to take little time-out every now and then just to stop us from killing each other and I think as the trip progresses we will find a happy balance.
Working together as a team when it comes to driving has also had its interesting moments and I'm sure has been the reason for many divorces. Fortunately unbeknown to Inge-Marie she is a very good navigator when she has the right maps. We have had a couple of hilarious trips were we have been 'lost' and both ended up screaming our lungs out at each other then bursting into fits of laughter when we realised how silly we must of sounded.
Living out of one suitcase each has also taken some getting used to. I still feel we are travelling with too much luggage and often feel like chucking everything I have not worn in the last 30 days but then realise that not every country is going to be as warm as Australia and a warm jacket might come in handy. Thanks goodness Inge-Marie bought us the Pack-it Cubes which make living out of a suitcase a little more organised and bearable. And soon it will be like living out of a walk in cupboard. Just wish the laundry will do itself!
Missing family and a home has also been a tough one. Fortunately our 3 year stay in Dubai toughened us up and thanks to modern technology we are still able to have a video chat every now and then which makes things feel so much closer.
Keeping the blog up to date has proven to be quite challenging as well. As you would expect the longer you delay writing the blog the more you are likely to forget. This gets especially difficult when we have many short stays in a row when you don't get a chance to sit down recollect your thoughts. Together with the exorbitant per hour internet rates we tend to fall behind if the price isn't right. What does help however is when we get feedback on the blog about what the readers enjoyed or would like to hear more about? So please add comments on what you would like to hear or see, where we need to cut the waffle or add more juicy bits.
On the other side of the coin some of the highlights of the trip thus far have been the total relaxation we have often experienced and the work stress we have left behind us. It's strange when you look back and realise that your life typically revolved around work and the people you worked with and how difficult it is to let go. Secretly we are both looking forward to work challenges when we get back but are also set on making the most of this trip.
The other big positive is that the sense of adventure as popped its head out every now and then and we often find ourselves doing things we ordinarily would never do. I guess this  trip will broadens your horizons more than we could ever have expected.
The quality time together has also been great and I do believe this trip will reveal a lot more about each other than the last few years of marriage have.  That's a good thing I think?!
Catching up with old friends has been a real treat. Seeing Gavin and his family was really special, especially to see how well he has done and that he has made the best of his move from South Africa. Gavin was always the type of guy who never ventured to far from home but is also the type of person that when he decides to do something he follows it through 100%. So it was great to see how happy and settled they are and the success that has resulted from by sticking out the tough times.
Seeing Jim and Esna was a very similar experience, moving all the way from London has done the two of them the world of good. Now proud home owners they seem to have found there little spot in the sunshine. It was great to see how easily they adopted the Australian way of life and we hope the next time we see them their family is a little bigger...
We hope you have all enjoyed the blog thus far if not please let us know what you would like to hear and what you don't like reading about. Your comments keep us motivated!!
One down and thirty nine or so to go........
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