We miss travelling… We have been travelling the world full-time since January 2018 and loving everything that comes with full-time travel. Experiencing the thrill of being in a new city, new cultures, the sights, sounds, experiences, the flavours, the people, the freedom to do what we want when we want.
When the pandemic hit in April 2020, we returned to Australia from our European travels and have been ‘stuck’ here ever since with our borders closed for all international travel. With our borders remaining closed until an unknown and undisclosed date, this has caused its own set of frustrations. The unknown and inability to make travel plans has also brought to the surface a whole range of other emotions such as a lack of fulfilment, a feeling of loss of control of our free choice, as well as craving the anticipation and excitement that comes with travel.
We, along with millions of other people around the world, have been put in a holding pattern whilst we eagerly await news regarding vaccination roll-outs, changes to quarantine rules, new visa entry requirements, mask wearing rules and other requirements outlined by governments around the world on a daily basis.
Don’t get us wrong! We are extremely grateful for many things; being in a safe country like Australia which is virtually covid free, having a place to stay with mum and spending this amount of quality time with her, and having the time and opportunity to learn new skills and start this blog. Still, we really miss travelling…
While we patiently wait, we spend hours reminiscing about the way things were, and how they will be in the future. As a result, here is our list of 35 reasons we miss travelling.
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“Wanderlust: (n.) a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.”
Why We Miss Travelling
1. The Sense of Accomplishment
There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes from travel. We have learnt essential life skills such as planning, budgeting, research, time management and adaptability. For us, the ability to be able to travel full-time is the result of many years of hard work and sacrifice, so this in itself is an achievement.
2. The Anticipation
Does anyone else get butterflies in their stomach the night before or morning of travel? For us, that feeling of anticipation we get about travelling to a new destination starts as soon as we pack our bags.
3. Being a Millionaire in Vietnam / Indonesia / Zimbabwe
There is nothing quite like getting a $100 out of the ATM and receiving in return millions in the local currency. While it may not allow you to live like a millionaire, it will probably buy you far more than it would in your home country. Just be careful, all those 0’s can be tricky…
4. Crazy Road Crossings
We have experienced our fair share of crazy road crossings during our travels but our trip to Hanoi, Vietnam topped the list. Crossing the road there is not for the faint hearted and our airline even played a video showing us how to do it safely prior to getting off our flight. The secret is to commit yourself and walk at an even pace until you reach the other side. Amazingly, the motorbikes, cars and buses will just adjust or move around you. Or alternatively, just find a little old local woman or man and stick close to / hide behind them.
5. Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
We are now quite adept at driving on either side of the road depending on the country we are in, but the first hour or so it is still nerve wracking as we are both on high alert. Add strange road signs, road signs in foreign languages, poor road conditions, and sometimes a distinct lack of road rules, and this is one for the adventurous only.
6. The Excitement of a New Place
As soon as the airplane wheels hit the tarmac, the excitement starts to build. For us, arriving in a new city means new sights, new smells, landscapes, architecture and new food experiences await. While some find it stressful, we actually enjoy seeking out monthly accommodation, navigating a new city, figuring out transportation options and how to use them, trying new restaurants, and getting used to a new currency.
7. Experiencing the Unexpected
During our years on the road, some of our fondest memories are those that we least expected and weren’t planned. We have been invited to a Balinese wedding as guests, a 50th birthday party of the owner of the Cuban cigar shop in Cozumel Mexico complete with live jazz band and the best ribs and mojitos, invited for drinks and pizza with a couple in Bali whose dogs we admired in a restaurant, and the list goes on. One thing we have learnt is to never say no to an invitation as you just don’t know what will come of it!
8. The Flexibility to Change Your Plans
There is an enormous amount of freedom that comes from not over-planning your travels. Maybe you love a city more than you thought and want to stay longer, or maybe you just want to get out of there as soon as you can as it isn’t anything like you thought it would be. We often decide our next travel destination as a result of finding a cheap flight, or package tour. Also, we enjoy slow travel so if we want to just relax for the day and do nothing, we can do this without feeling like we are missing out or mucking up our travel itinerary / schedule.
9. The Food
For us, food experiences are one of the greatest joys of travelling. We both absolutely love tasty food and we have experienced both the good and the bad, but these are all moments we have cherished. Our biggest recommendation to those of you travelling is to get out of your comfort zone and try something new every day. Try the local dishes in small street side restaurants, go to the markets and buy a variety of fruits you haven’t tried before, and try the street food. If you are like us, you will end up with new favourites in every new city you go to!
10. Getting Lost
Whilst we always have a map with us, sometimes it is great to just aimlessly wander around the backstreets off the beaten track and get the ‘real’ feel of the city you are in.
We both love learning about the history of a country by visiting sights with historical significance. We studied history at school but there is nothing like visiting museums, palaces and galleries to really get to grips with the challenges and triumphs countries have experienced over the years.
12. Hotel Rooms
We have stayed in a range of hotels from budget to luxury, but each time we check-in, we get a buzz. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised with our room, and well, sometimes we aren’t. But it is always great to unpack, check everything out and know this is your ‘home’ for a period of time.
13. Included Breakfasts
Who doesn’t love an included breakfast? Whilst not always exactly what we would have made for ourselves, in general, we have been lucky and had exceptional breakfasts served to us. From the full buffet experience to continental breakfasts, we make the most of them and they set us up well for a day out.
14. Interacting With Locals
Some of our best travel experiences have been through our interactions with the locals. We enjoy asking lots of questions and getting them to tell us about their culture and why they do the things the way they do. We have found them to be curious about our country also and the way we choose to live our life. Travel opens up the opportunity for conversations which you would not normally be able to have with someone from another culture.
15. The Journey and the Destination
The journey is just as exciting as the destination. From road trips, train trips and ferry crossings, the scenery and landscapes are often some of the highlights of the trip. Even a taxi ride from the airport can be exciting as you see the city from afar and drive through the outer lying towns.
16. Languages (Or Our Attempted Use Of)
Jonas has an affinity for languages (he speaks four fluently) but this is an area I struggle with. Regardless, we both challenge ourselves to learn the basics of the local language and practice them whenever we get the opportunity.
17. Local Beers and Booze
When in a new city or country, we always try the local beers, spirits and special beverages. Whilst not all are to our liking, we have found some great drinks that cannot be bought outside of these countries. Some of these are Bintang (Indonesian beer), Zabana (Filipino rum), Tequila (Mexican spirit), Bia Hoi (Vietnamese beer), Malbec (Argentinian wine), Mekhong (Thai spirit), and Ouzo (Greek spirit).
18. Long-Haul Journeys
I have to admit, we dread long-haul flights, but at the moment, we would welcome the opportunity to spend hours squished into a plane seat trying to get comfortable.
19. The Movies on the Plane
One of the highlights of any flight for us is checking out the movies and planning our movie watching binge for the flight. Not only do we get to see some of the latest movies, but it is a great way to kill time.
20. A New Perspective
Travel provides a new way to perceive life, who you are as a person, and how you choose to spend your life. Meeting new people every day allows you to see new cultures, experience new things and embark on all sorts of adventures, both good and bad.
21. Not Knowing Anyone
When we travel, we have the opportunity to be ourselves. We can choose how much we want to interact with others and how much time to just spend with each other. We can do what we want when we want, look how we want, and be as social as we want.
22. The Planning Process
My favourite part of any trip is the research and planning involved (this is why I am loving being able to help others though our blog). Where to go, what time of the year to visit, visas required, which part of the city is best to stay, transportation options from the airport and around the city, recommended restaurants, places to visit, best tours, happy hours, etc. etc. Through good planning, we always make the most of our trip.
23. Renting a Motorbike and Exploring
Whilst this is not for everyone, we have found this the best way to really see a place. The off-the-beaten-path places have been where we have found the best food, best views and private, secluded beaches.
One of our greatest joys is recognising a scam and knowing how to beat it. Don’t get me wrong, we have been taken in by them at times during our years of travelling, but we are now more aware of the different types of scams which has helped. From the taxi driver that drives you the long way to your destination, the money-changer switch-a-roo, the tourist attraction you are going to visit is closed, filling up with petrol and the meter hasn’t been zeroed out, wrong change, and the list goes on…
25. Seeing Poverty Firsthand
Travel opens your eyes to how lucky we have been to have grown up in the countries we did and be given the opportunities we have had. Seeing the favelas in Colombia, the slums in India, and the squatter camps in South Africa has helped us truly understand poverty.
26. Airline Food
We miss finding our seat, settling in and then looking to see what food they are serving on the in-flight menu. Back when we first started travelling, airplane food was nothing to rave about. Now, the quality of food has improved drastically and it is a rare flight when we are disappointed by the food.
27. Setting Your Watch to a Different Time Zone
As soon as we switch our watches to the local time, a new adventure begins and there is a level of excitement that accompanies this.
28. Something To Look Forward To
Once you have decided on your destination and booked your holiday, the countdown begins. Your research and planning keeps it at the forefront of your mind and the excitement grows. Having something to look forward to makes it easier to get through rough and frustrating times.
29. Taxi Drivers
Boy do we have some stories about taxi drivers… At the time we were anything but impressed, but now we can look back and laugh about them. From fares quadrupling on the agreed price once in the car, to driving on the wrong side of the road at break-neck speeds, to the ones who really want to converse with you through Google Translate while not paying attention to the road, we have seen them all.
30. Trying Strange, Unknown Food
We have tried some bizarre foods over the years – some we have loved and some not so much. But this is huge part of exploring a different culture and one everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone and do. We have drawn a line at fried tarantulas and balut, but we have tried Kopi Luwak coffee, stinky tofu, guinea pig, and moose, just to name a few.
31. Undesirable Toilets
Anyone who has travelled in Asia will know what we mean. There will come a time in every traveller’s life where they will experience the toilet from hell. You will smell it before you even see it, but what do you do when you have no choice? But from these experiences, laughter is sure to follow, well eventually anyway.
32. The Unexpected Hot / Cold Towel
There is nothing quite like a refreshing cold towel being offered to you when you sit down in a restaurant on a hot and sticky day. Yes, it is meant to be to wash your hands but who can resist wiping it over every exposed bit of flesh. Also, hot towels on the plane feel like a little luxury after time spent waiting in airports.
When travelling long-term, each day promises something new and different. New people, places, smells, architecture, sights, foods, transportation, language, fashion, religion, culture…. This variety keeps our life exciting.
34. Welcome Drinks
You have been travelling for 20 hours straight, you haven’t slept, you are jet-lagged, and you finally arrive at your accommodation. You stand there sweating profusely because you are overdressed due to the frigid conditions on the plane, you begin the check-in procedure, and ……. Along comes a welcome drink….. You aren’t really sure what it is but it looks cold and is a pretty colour. We are sold on the welcome drink idea and they do always make us feel, well, rather welcome.
35. Witnessing the Beauty of Our Planet
One of our top reasons for travelling is so we can witness the most beautiful, sacred, and scenic places on our planet. The fjords of Norway, the Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza, cenotes in Mexico, rice terraces in Bali, Bayon in Cambodia, Grand Canal in Venice, Mount Fuji in Japan, and Kruger National Park in South Africa. The list goes on and on and on…
Read Forbes Bucket List Travel: The Top 50 Places in the World for some further inspiration.
Whilst we miss travelling overseas, since being back home in Australia, we have still been able to experience the thrill of seeing new places and some of the learning that comes through travelling. Our road trip around Queensland was a wonderful experience and allowed us to be tourists in our own backyard.
We will continue to plan our local day trips and short road trips as we have found that just the little act of getting out of the house, our town, and our city breaks up the daily routine.
But we really miss international travel and can’t wait until we’re all able to explore new countries and cultures again.
Do you miss travelling? Where are you planning on going once travel begins again? Leave a comment below.
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