Since more than two weeks we are back in Germany. We saw and hugged family and friends, visited the christmas markets, enjoyed the good German beer and food we missed. We did not see the sun for 10 days after arriving back in Germany. Very unusual for us. The cold weather needed some getting used to as well. Step by step we are settleing in and looking for jobs.
Were we really away for 16 months? Having travelled seems already be so far away.
What people kept asking us
What are our thoughts?
At the beginning we could not believe we are going on a Worldtrip. The first three months felt more like a holiday, then we realized it is for a longer period and we are away from the everyday life.
It is a great feeling to travel. We forgot about time if we would not have read the newspaper daily or buying the bus ticket for travelling onwards. It became our lifestyle and enjoyed everyday of it. Once the flight back to Germany was booked it changed. This will be our last time on the beach, last time to see the caribbean sea, our last beautiful sunset, our last country we visit....
Would we do it again?
Definitely, beside arranging a lot of things (e.g. quitting our jobs, selling car, move out of the house, paperwork in Germany, etc). These things make the first move harder to free yourself up for this. It is for sure easier to travel for longer when you finish school / finish studying
About the trip ?
Wow we did it! Transforming the dream to reality took us some courage but well worth it!
What a great time ! Awesome. Amazing. Beautiful. Fun. Enjoy. An experience not to be missed.
There are many travellers out there, all ages, different countries and with different priorities on adventuring the beautiful world. Everybody has their own story to tell.
Meeting locals and learing about their cultures is interesting.
Every country has its beauty. Indeed.
Being in the nature (mountain, lake, beach...) always lets you have a relaxed mode.
We kept reading about the next places to keep us excited, slowed down to make room for more sights to take it in and speeded up to get to places quicker... A good mix is always good.
Using all our senses all the time (smell, feel, hear, seeing, to BE) .
Traveling is also work: where do we sleep? where do we eat, is it good value? How do we get to the next place ? Which options do we have ? Getting an orientation when arriving in a new place...
We liked the ability to go out and walk everday. Even when it was just a view meters to the beach. Back home it is easy to get to be a couch potatoe.. :-)
Not really. Everything went well. We missed on some adventures and places we would have liked to see e.g. tongario crossing in new zealand, biking down the death road in Bolivia, Patagonia in Argentia; but we also have done alot of other activities and great places. Looking back we wished we had done a spanish course when arriving in South America instead of learning along the way.
How we saved some money during the trip?
We had a dkb kredit card, not only they do not charge any fees for the account they also no not charge for taking out money abroad. They give a good exchange rate as well. And a big bonus is that if the bank abroad charges any fees they will redeem the money.
Having two cups and teabags, instant coffee and creamer with us we did not have to buy it in places.Hot water you get most of the time in Hotels, Guesthouses. When breakfast is not included we made our own. Just bought marmelade and bread for example.
Hostels sometimes have all day free coffee and tea and water refill.
We bought some food and drinks in supermarket or eat local food / street food. Find out when Happy Hour is in bars. Or just by negotiating a lower room rate. Comparing prices for buses, airlines ...
We kept tracing our expenses.
A student card also can help save money. asia is cheap for pharmacy items and clothing.
Tried not to travel in peak season. Off the season accomodation and tours are sometimes cheaper.
Some information on electronics and communication
We both had our smartphones and tablets with us.Most hostels have a PC you can use for free as well. The smartphones still had the prepaid cards from Germany in it. We did not buy any local card while travelling. We used the free internet in our accomodations, restaurants and bars. Only when you are in the middle of nowhere there is no internet.
The speed and stability of the internet ranged from very good to very poor like dial up mode.
(Travel)APPS we use: citymaps2go, maps, xe currency, trail wallet for tracking spending, whatsapp and skype makes it very easy to stay in contact, hostelworld, booking.com, tripadvisor, skyscanner, dropbox and some news apps. The aPp duolingO to learN spanish.
Easy to stay in contact with people nowadays (facebook, skype, whatapp..)
Phones make good pictures but we so glad that we had a Canon Eos600D with us! You can take much more better pictures. Friends said to us before we went to take a good camera. Glad we did.
We also had a kindle to read books and lonelyplanet and mp3 player.
Other blogs we got inspiration of:
before we went - http://weltreise-info.de/ or http://www.travelindependent.info/topplaces.htm
nomadicmatt - http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/why-travel-makes-you-awesome/
uncornerdmarket - http://uncorneredmarket.com/
goatsontheroad - http://www.goatsontheroad.com/
We actually saw "goatsontheroad" in Mongolia. In one of our first countries we visited. Saw the couple in a restaurant with their t-shirt on. That is how we found that address.
There are loads of blogs . These are just a view.
Has the trip changed us ?
For sure. Life is always about change. You never stop. We know ourself better, it opened our mind, understanding other people and cultures, environmental issues (plastic bags), brought the world closer to us. Knowing what is important for us.
Have we been ill?
Besides twice travellers diahorra and a view colds luckily no. Not wanting to need a hospital in most of the places. We heard that if you travel in Panama you do not need to pay for treatment but did not try it out.
Did we book accomodation in advance?
To begin with yes, mostly. But then we got more confident and booked after viewin the room.
Big cities we booked before or we looked up the area where to stay and marked some places there. Not that we are wandering around and getting "lost". In small places we just turned up and checked the room and decided then. This mix worked ok for us.
A word on culture:
Seen a lot of Unesco World heritage sites and 6 of the 7 New World Wonders. It is good to have an organisation that keeps protecting or contributing to preserve the Culture heritage.
These places are only the structure but the people living the culture keep it alive. Mingle with these people in the Andes and Guatemala made it a unique experience
Our favourite countries in no particular order:
The Philipines, New Zealand, Bolivia, Columbia, China, Laos and then all the others. We have no country we disliked.
How is it living out of a RUCKSACK?
We noticed that we do not need much. Clothes, toiletries, electronics, some medicine. If we needed anything else we bought it there and then.
We both had Deuter Backpacks. They are good quality. We used a rain cover to protect from dirt mainly in the luggage hold of buses, and also for " making it a little bit harder for people to get to it"
Eat where the locals eat, street food, missed sometimes food from back home (currywurst, Brezel, bread , sunday dinner, english breakfast). Overall we liked the Asian Food most.
Sorry for the "german" english but I hope it still makes sence.