It is hard to believe that we have been traveling for 55 days, already! We have seen some fantastic places, had some wonderful experiences, and learned a bit along the way. We are only a fraction of the way through our adventure, but here are some of the surprises and things that we have come to realize along the way.
1) We Are Internet Dependent
More than anything else, we heavily rely on the internet. It is our life-line. Being without it for more than a day is not feasible. It is the number one thing that we look for when booking our accommodations (free wifi throughout the hotel, not just common areas), and one of the items that we browse any accommodations reviews for is clues to the dependability of the internet connection. The internet allows Kevin to continue doing freelance work. It allows us to research and make plans for our upcoming destinations. It allows us to be in contact with friends and family (via blog posts, emails, Facebook, phone/Viber/Skype). It allows us to resolve issues at home (bills, credit cards put on hold, etc). It allows us to see what is going on in the world. It allows us the freedom to proceed forward on our trip, and without it we would be lost! We often wonder how people managed to do extended travel before the internet existed.
2) A Point Person Is Required
Within a couple of weeks of our departure, we had left our full time jobs, packed and moved, rented out our house, and tried to prepare for our departure. It is nearly impossible to put your life “on hold”, especially, the older you get. There were so many things to try and shut down, transfer and prepare for prior to our departure. Without the continued help of family, specifically, my brother Brad, we would be lost. On departure we still had a lot of lose ends dangling, and my brother has helped us out significantly in the weeks leading up to our trip as well as in the first 55 days of our travels. He has been there to screen our mail, including sending us scans of bills, notices, or any other important information. He also is managing the rental of our house. Which has already required the replacement of the washing machine and garbage disposal! He has even deposited checks, taken our car for an emissions test (that we did not know would be required), and renewed our vehicle registration. We did not realize how important having someone on point at home was going to be. He has helped ensure that we stay on track and that everything on the home-front is managed and maintained.
3) Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day
If you know me, then you know that I am not a fan of breakfast. I prefer something small and quick. A yogurt or dry Cheerios, and banana will do. (I do require a dose of caffeine in the mornings in the form of a Chai Tea Latte or a Diet Coke.) In our first 55 days, we have learned the meaning of the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We have found that breakfast is included in most lodging options and that a large breakfast will fuel you for a full day of activities. On days where we have a hearty breakfast, we usually only require an afternoon snack and then an early dinner. Adopting the breakfast habit, has definitely helped keep our food budget in check. I am trying to learn how to enjoy more breakfast foods!
4) We Love Mexican Food
We have come to realize that Mexican food is a staple of our diet. We eat it frequently at home and crave it constantly on the road. When planning to cook a meal, it is the first thing we think of, and thus we have attempted tacos, burritos, and even quesadillas, on more than a few occasions. Unfortunately, something is always missing and we are still left craving some good Mexican food. It could be that we do not have the right spices like cumin. Or possibly even the fact that we are missing key toppings, like guacamole and/or sour cream! Regardless, we have come to appreciate how much we enjoy Mexican cuisine and know that our first meal when we get home will most likely include cumin, guacamole, cheese and sour cream!
5) We Would Be Lost Without A GPS
Our last minute GPS purchase was a smart one. While in Iceland & Scotland we have taken the opportunity to expand our horizons and explore the country-side in a rental car. Although the GPS does not always lead you down the most direct route, we have been thankful on multiple occassions that at least we have something there to help us navigate to our destinations. We would definitely recommend it for anyone that plans to rent a car and explore the country-side.
6) I Might Be High Maintenance
A few years ago, over beers, some colleagues/friends told me that I was high maintenance. And honestly, I was shocked. I could not understand how I could be labeled as high maintenance. I now realize a person’s degree of “maintenance” is more broadly defined than just the amount of time and energy required to “get ready” in the morning. I realize that I can be quite particular at times and would prefer to be comfortable rather than “roughing it”. I’ve come to realize that I can be pretty particular and rigid, at times. I like things to be clean and organized. I am easily grossed out. I do not like dirty or dingy things. I do not like to be unorganized. I prefer to have a logical thought-out plan rather than winging it. I can be inpatient. I hate bugs. I hate to be cold. I can be very grumpy when I am hungry. And the list goes on (and on). And for all those reasons, I now appreciate the fact that I might very well be high maintenance.
7) Long Term Travel Can Be Exhausting
We feel very blessed and lucky to be on this adventure. We have come to realize that trying to keep a “tourist” pace can be exhausting (and expensive). In addition to seeing the sights and sounds of a city, we are striving to find the right balance between work, life, planning and play.