It feels like a time warp. It has officially been over six months since Brice and I packed up our condo in Portland, said goodbye to our friends and family, and hit the road. Six months of adventures, exploring new places, meeting incredible people and seeing numerous sights!
Especially with it not just being a 2-week vacation, we have been able to have a more flexible itinerary, and visit more remote locations, like the Ausangate mountains of Peru or the San Blas Islands between Colombia and Panama.
We finally lived outside of Oregon while I was working in Costa Rica. We have improved our Spanish, even being able to have conversations with locals (though we’ll see how long that lasts now that we’re in non-Spanish speaking countries).
We have seen a range of economic and poverty levels, but everywhere we encountered unique and welcoming cultures. We have met wonderful people all across the globe, from participating in group tours to doing homestays, and made some great friends.
Or just watch a short movie featuring one second from every day we’ve been gone!
What Have Been the Top Experiences?
If I had to list all the beautiful places we’ve seen, good food we’ve eaten, or crazy ventures we’ve had, I would have one long list. For the sake of your sanity, I have tried narrowing it down. This list of 8 are the experiences we loved the most or had the best stories, and likely will be ones we talk about for years to come. (And not surprisingly, they also all have their own blog posts.)
- Making a home in Costa Rica
- Spending five magical days in the San Blas Islands, snorkeling in crystal clear water, playing beach volleyball and laughing hysterically with great new friends
- Hiking, biking and spotting giant condors in the beautiful Colca Canyon in Peru
- Dipping into the Mud Volcano of Colombia
- Surviving our epic 2-day horse ride along the beach and through the jungle of Costa Rica
- Enjoying some of the most incredible views and surviving hard climbs on our 5-day trek through the Ausangate Mountains of Peru
- Learning about, cooking and eating lots of potatoes in the Sacred Valley of Peru
- Getting truly off the grid in Colombia on our unique, beautiful and challenging Off the Grid Trek
- Partaking in the annual Batalla del Vino wine fight in Haro, Spain
What Has Been the Hardest?
Don’t let the idea of nonstop travel fool you into thinking it is smiles, all day every day. Fortunately we haven’t had any major problems like severe health issues, stolen property, or even lost luggage. That being said, some days we just are tired of sightseeing or not having our own space. These are the few things that have made the last few months challenging:
- Constantly being in planning mode. Always feeling like we are booking something or needing to plan what’s next rather than enjoying where we are currently has been our biggest struggle for sure. Spending an afternoon stressing over where we are going to head and dealing with expensive, sold-out hotel options has not been fun.
- FOMO is real. Seeing what our friends and family are up to back home and not being with them is hard (especially for me). Social media and FaceTime help me stay connected but also highlight what I’m missing.
- Eating out all the time. Yes, enjoying the local cuisine and getting pampered at restaurants can be really fun, but after a while, I just to eat some vegetables and feel healthy! On the flip side, I am constantly having to remind myself that I can’t always be on vacation mode (read: ordering a glass of wine at lunch and eating all the sweets) if I’m going to travel for one year, not one week.
- Not having a gym (particularly a Crossfit). Sure, I am running and walking a lot but my arms are getting flabby without lifting anything heavy! This also makes me feel not as physically great after all the eating out noted above.
- Always packing. This has gotten easier and packing cubes have been a lifesaver, but living out of one suitcase can be draining.
- Not having Amazon Prime. Ok, that sounds silly but seriously any time something brakes or we just need batteries, I think “I’ll add that to the Amazon order.. oh wait, never mind…”
Want to know more about what food’s been like on the road? Hop over to the original Bakery Bingo to find out!
For the rest of summer, as South America got too chilly for us wimps, we are now off touring Europe. Holland, Romania, UK, Iceland, Croatia are all on the list but we’ll see where the road takes us.
More of our travel stories and learnings coming soon.