Over the past 4 years, I have lost count of the number of countries the husband and I have been privileged to visit. What started out as a temporary assignment (1 year, maybe 2) has morphed into something almost semi-permanent. This – working 10 weeks, travelling for 3, community living on a gated compound, no access to fresh milk – has become our reality. Both of us know it will be a struggle if we ever have to return to “normal” life – notice I say “if” as both of us will be avoiding it at all costs.
We’ve also always been clear about the reason why we took this opportunity. The husband and I both love to travel – and we love to travel together. You will hear many people say the same, but when it comes to the crunch, how many of them are actually prepared to give up the comfort and security of their normal lives for it? Those who say they have a travel “addiction” – how many of them have to settle for the one, maximum two trips per year, constrained by work, family commitments and, the need to conform to the criteria set out for what a successful/conventional/appropriate life should look like?
Throughout these past 4 years, the husband and I have been to places that I would never have seriously contemplated from my comfy couch. We’ve done things I would never have considered travelling halfway across the world for. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Droving around in the freezing cold hunting northern lights. Attempting to snowboard in northern Japan. Hiking in the luscious green of Romania’s hills. So much more than I ever would have imagined being possible in a single lifetime.
It’s at this point that I feel we can now perhaps share some tips/useful details with fellow travellers (or wannabe travellers) regarding some of the places in the world we have visited. Recognizing that everyone has different likes, dislikes and objectives when it comes to travel, I’m generally somewhat guarded when it comes to dishing out advice on what to do and where to go. But at the end of the day, opinions are only opinions, there to be taken, considered or rejected. I’m therefore about to embark on a review of some of the places we have been in order to share our tips – highlights, challenges, stuff that I consider “good to know.”
Stuff might be shared about food, customs, clothing, cool things to do, things that were stressful, things that you might want to know before you go. It’s not intended to give a blow by blow of every single itinerary. Hell, it’s not as if I can remember the name of every hotel we’ve ever stayed at. Some are utterly forgettable, and those that aren’t will only get a mention if the situation demands it. And remember, our trips are generally confined to 2-3 weeks at a time. While it might be possible to see an entire country during that period, it’s not always desirable. Sometimes you just want to slow it down, have a bottle of wine and check out the sales at Zara.
The world is a big place. I don’t profess to be an expert on everywhere and it’s not my goal to visit every country in the world (let’s be frank, in some cases, the novelty is easily outweighed by the trouble). Despite comments to the effect that we are running out of places to go; in fact, we really aren’t, and we never will. And what’s so wrong with returning to places you loved or want to explore further?
So, for those that are interested, next will commence the first installment of our travelling history. It seems appropriate to start from the start. And so we shall begin with Chile: our first experience of South America. Watch this space.