Looking Back On Our Year in Travel, Looking Forward to the Next

jamie overlooking the sea and whale island in whakatane

With one year ending and another beginning, it’s a good time to look backwards and forwards. To take stock of our lives and gain some perspective.

In basic terms, I’d say 2014 has been a great year for us. We’ve done lots of travelling. We’ve rarely experienced any discomfort, and aside from a few health problems, the year has been free from pain or tragedy. I’ve got little to truly complain about other than trivial bullshit, so in reality things are going well.

Still, as the year closes I’d like to be a little more introspective and think about life and where it’s going. Maybe not a good idea when you’re prone to worry. But oh well, it will be done.

What We’ve Done This Year

In terms of things done this year, I’d say we are blessed to have done plenty. We started 2014 as English teachers in a Korean kindergarten. We somehow managed to survive until the end of February where we escaped to Thailand.

daniel with korean kindergarten students

Or rather, we escaped to Bangkok. For us, it’s the perfect place to visit. We know the city well, have friends there and it’s cheap. It never feels like work when we visit and we can stay there and be comfortable. We spent a month in total in Bangkok this year doing our favourite thing: nothing.

We spent our days in Bangkok shopping, eating food, getting massages and pampering ourselves. I wouldn’t even consider this travelling – rather just a holiday.

drinking tea from a tiny cup in bangkok

In March we moved on to Vietnam for some real travelling. Snaking our way around the country by train, bus, motorbike and boat for 3 weeks. We had a great time and maybe could have stayed for a week longer as we were a little rushed. But I think any longer and we may have gotten sick of the country, so it was the perfect length of time to visit.

jamie relaxing on a boat in ha long bay

Next April saw us coming to New Zealand, buying a car and travelling around the North Island. At this point we were a little travel fatigued and didn’t have much energy for sightseeing.

jamie hiking in tongariro national park

After travelling for a while, you just long to settle into a routine for a bit. In a touch of good fortunte, the perfect remedy for these feelings soon appeared in our inbox. A kind family on HelpX asked us to come and housesit on their farmhouse for 5 weeks. We had a great time looking after their many farm animals and doing more of that thing we love: nothing!

This took us to July when we settled in Wellington. We’ve used this as a base to explore the surrounding area, while also getting ourselves some jobs to save for further travels. We’ve had an amazing time in Wellington so far and the highlights are too numerous to list. The only real downside has been our noisy upstairs neighbours, but living here has made it all worthwhile.

a giant cloud forming over wellington

We finished up the year with a short road-trip to Hawkes Bay and Te Urewa National Park. The weather was perfect and the only low point was when our car broke down. More on this trip soon though!

daniel and jamie on bluff above lake waikaremoana

All in all, I’d say we’ve had a happy year. We’ve had the odd argument about insignificant crap and I’ve had a few low periods with my health. But these are often by-products of a comfortable routine. Small problems become bigger as they’re the only problems you have. Routine means less time thinking, more time to worry.

What We’ve (Actually) Done This Year

Now comes the introspection. Although we’ve done lots of amazing stuff this year, I feel the year has been a little bit of a disappointment. I’m no closer to achieving any life goals or even figuring out what those goals are – so in the whole year I’ve made little progress.

From an outside perspective, our lives are amazing. We’re travelling to lots of new places, having many new, fun experiences. Yet a lot of these experiences seem to be redundant as they’re quite material and have no personal meaning.

Ok, that’s completely depressing, but I think this is the one thing many long-term travellers suffer with. Travelling is often just putting off the inevitable and keeping you away from real life for longer. So this year, I definitely feel has been a burden to my actual goals and interests.

What my goals are, I don’t know, so I suppose it doesn’t hurt to continue enjoying myself. But I do get the feeling that at some point soon I have to make some decisions about what to do with the rest of my life.

What I now know for sure though is that travel is not the answer. It’s just not important to me. I enjoy travel, but it doesn’t leave me fulfilled. I need to do something meaningful with my life and that’s been the thing I’ve learnt the most this year.

I’ve also come to realise that travel is taking me no closer to figuring out the answers to these questions. I’ve still no idea what my future holds, or what I want it to hold. Travel isn’t inspiring me to find out, so maybe I need to try something different!

The Year Ahead

Now saying all that, the year ahead sees more travel in store. At the end of January we’ll head off to New Zealand’s South Island to travel around for six weeks or so. Then we’re off to Melbourne to have a year long working holiday in Australia.

Our expectations of Australia are pretty negative. In truth, we’re going there out of necessity more than anything. As Jamie is an American and I’m British, we can only travel to countries where we can both get visas.

Australia is the way to go as it’s close and English speaking. We hope our year there will see us in a position where we can go back to the UK or USA to settle or set us on the path to doing so.

Since we’re only going to Australia out of necessity, we pretty much know nothing about it. We’ve done no research! The only opinions we have come from conjecture based on stereotypes and generalisations. In other words, all we can think about are spiders and snakes and how much we’re dreading seeing them! That and we expect to be called “mate” a lot. We haven’t even thought about anything else, so maybe Australia will be a pleasant surprise.

Regardless, we have a lot to look forward to in the year ahead.

As for our readers, I hope you’ve all had a good 2014 and have an even better 2015. I know few people read our blog, for a variety of reasons, but I’d like to thank you all for sticking with us if you do!

Cheers and Happy New Year wherever you are!

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2 thoughts on “Looking Back On Our Year in Travel, Looking Forward to the Next”

  1. Wishing you the best in Australia! Hope the work you two will be doing isn’t too rough! I can’t wait to see all the photos from your next journey!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Katy. Not an hour ago I was moaning to Jamie that nobody ever comments on our blog (and I wonder how many people actually read it!) So thank you for giving me a little faith that we aren’t writing for nobody!

      I think we’ll be settling into a city in Oz so it shouldn’t be too tough on the work front. Probably won’t stop us from complaining though. That’s life.

      Have a good 2015!

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