Musings on travelling around the world for a year

I appreciate the opportunities I had this year in being able to travel around the world with my lovely wife Debbie. We had some fantastic experiences, saw some wonderful sights and met lovely people along the way. It was nice to catch up with her side of the family in Canada and meet some new ones. It also was good to see my brother and his wife in New Zealand along with my niece Courtney and nephew Sean. Reconnecting with old friends from the past and recent ones was also very enjoyable.

What we did travel wise?

One month in Canada
four months in the USA
One month in NZ
One month in Australia
Three days in Singapore
One month in Malaysia
One month in Vietnam
one month in Thailand
Three weeks in Cambodia
One month in India
Three days in Dubai

It seems a lot looking back at it, a year of our life. Lots of highlights such as Columbian icefield, Blizzard in August in Calgary, Yellowstone Park, swimming with a manatee in Florida, Yorktown, Arizona, Tombstone and that is just North America having hardly scratched the surface. New Zealand we caught snapper and walked the Tongariro crossing as well as stayed a night on Tiri Tiri Matangi and saw kiwi in their natural habitat.

Did it change me?

I read lots of blogs about how travel makes you a better person, broadens your horizons and inspires new adventures. I must be the exception. I am happy about how I was before I travelled and it has not changed me. It has inspired me with ideas of new adventures, but I do not think it has broadened my horizon. It does make me appreciate my nationalities and privileged upbringing compared to many of the countries we visited. I always found something to appreciate or marvel at every country we visited. The USA with its great horizons, New Zealand and the unique bird life, Australia and its weird marsupial beasties, SE Asia for the food, Angkor Wat and the ease of travelling around from place to place. India with the Taj Mahal and my now favourite Indian city Udaipur.

We chose to do this adventure because we had an opportunity and we are not getting any longer. I backpacked before in my youth, this time we did not and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot more. We did not get sick once on our travels, the people we met were fantastic and the places we stayed great. I would say that trip advisor for me was my most valuable asset in making our plans on what to see, where to eat and stay. In the past it was always random for me which was part of the fun. However, as you get older it is nice to know you are not going to wake up with bed bug bites, get food poisoning or be overcharged for a tour you could have done yourself for free. I hope some of my reviews under the plume de nom kiwiinbrighton has made a few other people’s visit to places easier.po

My main take home from a years travelling is that wherever you go in the world there are wonderful sights to experience and people to meet.

I am interested in other people’s experiences about travelling for long amounts of time and would love to hear your thoughts?

Advertisements

Back in England

After a year travelling we are back in England. I write this blog watching the rain fall outside my window. It is odd to be home after being on the road for a year. Our last few weeks in India went smoothly and we visited Udaipur and then back to Delhi. We flew out to Dubai for a few days and then hit the ground running when we got back to our empty house. I am hoping to finish a few more blogs in the next few weeks about our last weeks in India and three-day stopover in Dubai. Thanks to everyone that has followed the blog and I do intend to keep blogging and happy to answer any questions about our travels or for anyone looking for any tips. A few photos below from our wonderful year of travel in the USA, New Zealand, Asia and a few other places.

Part 3 of our North America Adventure

The Final Leg

The third part of our adventures in the USA. In the last part of our journey we visited Florida, did a cruise in the Caribbean and then travelled through the panhandle via Texas to eventually California. After leaving Virginia we had a few days in South Carolina and Georgia.

We then went on to Florida where we spent a month. During that month we spent a week driving down in the car to Key West via the Everglades.

We then returned to Orlando for a few days at a Thousand Trails Campground. Then it was a short drive to Tampa and a week-long cruise in the West Caribbean where we visited Rotoan Island, Mexico and Belize.

After the cruise we did my favourite activity in the USA which was to swim with a Manatee. It was just brilliant. Such gentle beasts and with soulful eyes. We then spent Xmas in Jacksonville where I was sick us the proverbial dog for two weeks.

Our last leg was spent visiting Texas where we stayed with the lovely Helen and her pooch Charlie. We then visited several states including Louisiana for New Year, New Mexico and then on to Arizona and finally California. we did a lot visiting Tombstone, driving the Apache Trail, canyon walking in Arizona and boondocking at Quartzite.

After finishing the USA leg of our trip we move on to Australia.

Highlights for me

Swimming with a manatee
Meeting friendly Americans
Tombstone
Deadwood acting Debut
New Mexico and its scenery
Driving the Apache Trail
Boston
Yellowstone Grand Canyon
Old Faithful Geyser
Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments
Buffalo round up
Boondocking in Arizona
Visiting the Everglades
Air boat ride
Finding the original Yellow brick road from the Wizard of Oz in Peekskill
All the lovely swimming pools at campgrounds we visited

171 days in North America Part 2 (Quebec, Maritime’s and on to Virginia)

We spent a lovely thanksgiving in Canada with Debbie’s family. I ate a delicious turkey dinner. We also had time to visit Cape Pelee and Niagara Falls. From there we drove to Quebec City. Quebec was brilliant although crowded as a couple of cruise ships were in town. After spending a couple of days exploring the city we then drove around the Gaspe Peninsula. The weather was not kind to us though and it was wet and cold. The peninsula alongside the Lawrence River had some great coastal scenery.

We then spent a few weeks in the Maritime covering New Brunswick, Prince Edward island and Nova Scotia. We had a great time exploring the area even though the weather was a bit cold and wet. Seeing the tidal bore in Moncton, Confederation Bridge over to PEI and the scenery around Nova Scotia were all highlights.

After Canada we drove quickly down the East coast via Calais in Maine to Boston. Debbie and I then took the car and visited Boston, Salem and Mystic in Connecticut. We also visited a civil war battlefield near Washington before heading to Virginia.

We were in Virginia for a couple of weeks due to a mechanical problem with the RV. Happily, there was plenty to see in the area and we visited Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg.

Our next part of the route took us down to Florida through the Carolina’s and Georgia.

171 days in North America, how much did it cost, the highs and the lows Part 1

This blog is going to be in three parts as we covered a lot of ground approximately 10,161 miles or 16,354 kilometres. The first part covers our travels through BC, Alberta and then down into the USA through Montana, Wyoming and up to Michigan before crossing back into Canada and into Ontario.

What did 171 days cost?

I wanted to get this out of the way. We were lucky in we paid no RV hire only fuel costs. Accommodation also was low as we only stayed at hotels for two weeks of the 171 days. We also were able to stay with friends and relatives at no cost. The other major advantage was we travelled with Debbie’s parents for the five months in their 38 foot Dutch Flyer RV. Yes, I spent five months travelling with my in-laws in a small enclosed space sleeping on an air mattress. Happily, we all got along most of the time and occasionally Debbie and I took the car and spent a few days exploring specific areas, such as Nova Scotia.

The current running total of our trip is US$17,000 (excluding airfares and insurance) which works out at $99.40 cents per day. We still have a few things to pay on credit cards. I had budgeted for US$150 per day so it was nice to have a bit more in the kitty for our next few countries. We did a lot of our own cooking in the RV which kept costs down. Although we did eat out at restaurants. Usually for breakfast. Denny’s was a regular as they seem to have the best free wifi out of all the chains.

Canada

It is hard for us to believe that our North America leg of the trip is finished. The next part is Australasia. Not really looking forward to the 14 hours and 20 minutes wedged into an economy seat from LA to Sydney. Looking back on our journey through North America there have been numerous highlights. There have been a lot of new memories with some great sights, adventures, restaurants and 10000 miles travelled. We started slowly in Vancouver catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. We did the obligatory cycle ride around Stanley Park and then we headed up to Cultus Lake before spending a few weeks in the Okanagan catching up with family, doing the Penticton tube ride, wineries and a lovely boat ride on the Lake.

The first stop we had on the road was at a campground with hot springs near Revelstoke, which was a lovely way to start the road trip. Then on to Golden for a few days seeing wolves and bears as well as some nice scenery. Then to Banff fast becoming familiar to me after other visits. We also visited the Columbian Icefield and Jasper. This was early September and we were hit by a snowfall which slowed us down a bit. After Jasper it was back to Banff and on to Calgary where I got my correct six month visa to the USA. We then got stuck in Leithbridge a few days while the RV was repaired. Not a bad place to be stuck with lots to do and then on to Montana.

USA

Montana’s scenery was spectacular and I wish we could have spent a week here. We also found more hot springs at White Sulphur Springs and enjoyed a soak before heading to Yellowstone. Yellowstone was truly wonderful we saw grizzly, buffalo, Old Faithful and some amazing scenery. I particularly liked the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We continued on into Wyoming to Cody where we visited Buffalo Bill’s museum and did a side trip to Custer’s Last Stand.

We then went to my favourite state South Dakota. We spent a few weeks here and there was lots to do. We visited Mount Rushmore, Needle highway, saw a buffalo round-up and did a walk up to the Crazy Horse monument.

There were some more repairs in South Dakota and we then headed across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan before returning to Canada to visit Debbie’s relatives in Ontario. I also visited an Ian an old friend in Niagara Falls and rewarded with some lovely weather.

Part 2 will cover Quebec and the Maritimes before heading down to Virginia.