Usually I find it hard to start writing a blog. Now, as I sit and compose my thoughts for the last installment of The TwentyFifteen Plan, I dont know how to finish. A summary of all the stats and facts of our travels? No, it's depressing to surmise over twelve months of your life into a total number of countries visited or kms covered. An overview of all the ways we've grown together and conquered challenges? Nah, way too soppy. Perhaps a recommendation for others; what are the must-do travel destinations we visited? Negatory. Just the phrase "must-do" used alongside travel nauseates me these days. I suppose I'll just share some current thoughts:
The real world is a busy place. Its a bit overwhelming to be honest. All these responsibilities and appointments... urgh!
No only joking. This isn't the Princess Diaries.
It's a lot easier to sleep in a private room than a dorm.
The Aussie accent sounds so weird. Do I sound like that or is it just all the others?
Stereotyping nationalities is a total waste of time. There are legends and jerks evenly distributed across the world (99.9% legends, 0.1% jerks), so stop saying Germans have no sense of humour or Americans are wilfully ignorant. There's no truth to it.
I should probably keep practicing my Spanish, hey? Saying "uno mas?", "la cuenta" and "ciao!" occasionally probably isn't enough.
Why can't people just check their big luggage? It will never fit in the overhead compartments.
Alright enough. If you really have read all of my nonsense this year you need a round of applause (and maybe a stiff drink?). Thank you for reading. I can only hope it's been more fulfilling reading than Gone Girl.
Ok something with substance. Well we are both supremely grateful for all of the people we met along the road this year. Some were friends from home who we crossed paths with, others were new acquaintances writing another chapter of their lives, and of course Sjane's extended family spotted around the globe (UK, Netherlands, South Africa). Wendy and Nigel deserve another special mention; I'm actually a bit homesick thinking of your place in Glossop, our English home for a month or so. The Winter will have returned in earnest by now; Monty and Tiva undoubtedly staying cozy by the heater.
And on the topic of thanks let's not forget the nameless masses we encountered on our adventures. The number of times a local would insist on us keeping our extra subway seats while we had our backpacks on; a hostel owner would drop us to the train station just because, a street vendor would give us a huge toothy (or toothless) smile when we'd return for their scrumptious snacks over and over again. These moments and these people are less a memory than an impression. A fingerprint on the window of our recollections. A warm bum print on the couch cushion of our souls (ha, did I really just write that?). The point I'm trying to make is that invariably when Sjane and I discuss a place or a memory, it always has more to do with the people we were surrounded by than the sites we visited.
I should also explain why The TwentyFifteen Plan seemed to come to an abrubt stop and we just appeared back in Australia. We had intended from the get go to be back for Christmas and surprise our families. A few months ago we found a reasonably priced flight back to Brisbane from Manila, worked out a basic itinerary that would end in the Philippines and enlisted the help of Kylie and Blake (Sjane's sister and my brother) to plan our victorious return. Blake repeatedly forgot the details of our return and that it was supposed to be a secret (Schneidy would liken his reliability to that of a paper-mache condom); so we ended up relying entirely on Kylie's espionage skills. She single-handedly organised for both our families to be together for Christmas, picked us up from the airport, delivered us '007 style' to our surprised families, fed us, bought us new toothbrushes, etc. etc. It was all very well done Kylie: take a bow! Thank you.
What's next? Well Sjane is already in the process of writing a list of "great hikes of the world" for us to do, and hopes that will satisfy her travel cravings over the next few years. I countered with "great beaches with hammocks of the world" but she didn't seem as enthusiastic. I'll get back to you on that. P.S. Do you know of any hammock-strewn beaches set beside mountain hikes?
Aside from that it's reconnecting with family and friends back home, trying to get our life back into some semblance of order, and settling in for the silly season.
That's about it. One year, two people, a bunch of random adventures and a host of new friends scattered all around the world. Anyone we've met along the road, please get in contact whenever you are coming out our way. We'd love to show you around our little corner of the world, and would probably offer you a place to sleep too (presuming we're not homeless ourselves!).