What a year it’s been. From living in relative comfort in our home town of Melbourne, with jobs and routines and friends and money in the bank, to selling all of our belongings and heading off on this global adventure with all of our belongings in our backpack and very little financial security. It’s been a transition that has been both exhilarating and incredibly frustrating in equal measure. There have been some incredible highs, and moments where I just wanted to get back on the plane bound for the safety of home. But as we come to the end of the year, and start making plans for 2015, it’s time to take a look at some of the highs and lows of 2014.
Sightseeing highlight of 2014: Temples of Angkor
Without a shadow of a doubt, our day riding bikes around the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia has been the sightseeing highlight for me. While it may have started badly with Jack throwing a tantrum worthy of an Olympic gold medal on the front steps of Angkor Wat, it ended up being one of those days you dream about. Great weather, incredible ruins to wander through virtually alone, and the sheer joy of riding our bikes around this amazing place with hardly anyone else on the road. It was like the whole site was shut down just for us and one or two other small groups. Walking around the ruins, with the huge trees and their root systems slowly swallowing up portions for the former temples and other buildings, you could just feel the importance of the history surrounding you, and it felt like time had been standing still for thousands of years there.
Sightseeing lowlight of 2014: Delhi
It wasn’t my choice to go to India, but I was still excited to be going because it’s obviously a different way of life to the one I was used to in Australia. But from the moment we touched down in Delhi, any excitement we had quickly disappeared, and was replaced by sheer frustration and anger. The city is not pretty, with rubbish everywhere, extreme poverty wherever you turn, shocking smells and incessant noise. However, you can forgive all that because unfortunately not everywhere in the world is like modern, wealthy western cities such as my home town of Melbourne. The constant requests to go into a shop, eat at a restaurant, get into a tuk tuk, etc. really does wear you down, and unfortunately it didn’t take us long for common courtesy to be replaced by directness. But again, given the poverty you can understand it, these people need to make a living. However, what I can’t forgive is the deception of some of the locals. Being conned out of your money through blatant lies and cheating is unacceptable. Our experience at Delhi Railway Station left a sour taste in our mouths that virtually put us in a bad mood for the rest of our stay in India.
Intangible highlight of 2014: One step closer
When we first arrived in France I decided to do an online blogging course called Travel Blogging Success. I’d started to take a real interest in why some blogs are successful while others aren’t, and it turns out there’s a real science to it, along with a lot of hard work and a fair share of luck. So instead of trawling the internet trying to figure it out for myself, I decided to do an online course, and after plenty of research, settled on Travel Blog Success. Why is this my intangible highlight of 2014? Because part of my decision to go on this journey was to find my passion in life, and I believe I might be a step closer. I don’t think writing is my passion, although I do enjoy writing about topics I’m interested in. However, while I don’t think our travel blog is ever going to be huge in terms of monthly visitor numbers, I believe my next blog might be, and I think I’m narrowing in on my subject matter. This really is something I’m interested in, but I need more time to refine my idea and really make sure it’s unique and interesting so that I can attract a decent audience. I’m not going to give anything away, but by taking what I’ve learnt from Travel Blog Success and applying it to my new blog, perhaps I could enjoy some blogging success of my own. If not, at least I’ll have some fun going about it!
Intangible lowlight of 2014: Money worries
Since the moment we left Australia, my whole being has been consumed by money. Every decision we’ve made on this trip has some sort of financial impact, and it’s taken its toll on me personally. It’s been horrible for me saying no every time Sarah suggests we spend some money on something ‘not needed’, not to mention how unfair it’s been on her. When we were in Innsbruck, part of me was happy the surrounding mountains were covered in cloud while we were there, because it meant I would’t have to spend money on the brilliant Nordkettenbahnen. It’s a train and cable service that runs from the old town right up to Hafelekar, the highest station on the Nordkette rail and cableways, it’s peak some 2,256 metres above sea level. It would have been absolutely awesome, and we would have done it had the weather been kinder, but not having to spend the money made me feel a little better anyway. That is no way to travel, going from place to place but not doing anything because you’re scared to spend any money. So recently I’ve let go of the constant worry, and reconciled within myself that if we go home earlier than we otherwise would have because we’ve spent a few extra dollars here and there, then so be it. And to be honest, I’ve been feeling much happier lately.
Number one goal for 2015: New York City
Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York! If I don’t do anything else on this nomadic adventure, as long as I spend some time in New York City before going home I’ll be a very happy man. I’ve wanted to go to New York for many years now, and while I’ve been to plenty of other places since, for some reason I’ve never been to the Big Apple. Seems strange when you think about it, but I’m not too far away, relatively speaking, and some time before the middle of 2015 I will have definitely stayed in New York for a while. Count on it!
So there you have it, my highs and lows of 2014. Who knows what is in store for us for 2015. Perhaps after America we’ll go home satisfied, or we’ll get a new lease of life and continue on through Central and South America. Or maybe we’ll find a place we fall in love with and stay for longer than a year, or maybe we’ll head home early realising Melbourne is the best place on Earth. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride in 2015, much like 2014 was. I hope you keep following us as we continue our nomadic adventure around this great big, beautiful, blue ball of ours!å