It has been 10 months since we left home. I almost can’t believe it. It feels likes a lifetime, but like no time at all. So, strange that it is both.
We have been to 16 different countries, and another 2 that passed through (Wales and Ethiopia), but haven’t spent any real time in other than transport. We are currently in Thailand. We are tired of traveling. Not that we are tired of seeing new places and doing new things. We are tired of packing our crap up and moving from place to place. We are finding we enjoy our longer stays more, 1 month or longer in a place. London, Romania, and Cyprus were fantastic. Our next 1 month+ stays will be in Hanoi in Feb/March and Melbourne in April/May. We are planning more longer stays now that we know how much we like them.
A few things we didn’t know before we left:
- We knew we’d miss our friends and family, but the reality is we miss them far more than we thought.
- Living without tons of stuff is easier than we thought. We are constantly trying to figure out how to get rid of stuff because carrying it is a pain. Even with 4 suitcases and 4 backpacks, it is too much.
- Driving a manual transmission car on the wrong side of the road is an adventure every day.
- Ziplocs in Europe suck, they are pathetic and can be sliced open by a fingernail.
- Boxed mac and cheese isn’t available anywhere in Europe or Asia. My parents and friends have shipped it to us and the kids devour every bite. I know how to make the homemade stuff, but the kids want the boxed version!
- What does the rest of the world have against dryers? Without a dryer fabric softener is a necessity. The few places that do have dryers, do not have dryer vents and the liquid from the dryer has to be drained manually
- And for that matter, the recycling standards and energy saving methods of America are truly behind those in Europe. We have had to sort our trash into 6 different bins in some places.
- In every country, we have been to so far, wine/beer is cheaper than soda. No free refills anywhere! I’m not complaining.
- We have seen practically no Americans while we have been traveling. Tons of Brits, Germans, and Australians though. The first real groups of Americans we have seen is in Thailand of all places.
- The kids play happily with kids of any age now, even if they don’t speak the same language.
- Taco seasoning in Europe doesn’t taste like it belongs in a taco.
- Food is universally better quality and cheaper than it is in the US, but the selection is much less. And by food, I mean real food like fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy.
- It has been horrible to watch tragedies unfold at home and not be there. And it seems there has been no shortage. Stranger version of survivor’s guilt from not being there.
- Without exception, when asked where we are from, we answer we are from the US, resisting the temptation to be Canadian. Exclusively, we are asked what is wrong with the people in our country. This has happened with people from every walk of life; taxi drivers, retirees, school children, Airbnb owners, shopkeepers, etc. The world it seems, thinks Americans have lost their mind, collectively.
- US standards for things like construction are far superior to anything we have seen.
- The general lack of bribery in the US for small things is clearly the exception worldwide.
We are learning a lot, and loving exploring the world.