Reflections on Life after Two Years of Travel

It’s been two years since we sat in a departure lounge at Heathrow, clutching our one-way tickets to New Zealand. With our goodbyes behind us and a whole new future ahead, we boarded that plane with no idea where we would ultimately end up. To say I’m surprised by what we’ve experienced and where we are now is an understatement.

Our travel cake

Younger (and fatter!) before we left the UK in 2013

Back in 2013 I had no idea that we’d spend almost two years in Asia or that we’d end up living in Vietnam. I never knew that I’d have the skills and courage to teach children English or that I’d be capable of heaving wheelbarrows full of rock and debris in the sweltering heat while volunteering in the Philippines. I couldn’t have planned the spontaneous adventures that we’ve experienced; our unscheduled trip to Borneo, a spectacular summer visit to the UK or a return to the Philippines, a country we unexpectedly fell head-over-heels in love with.

Andrew and I by the lake in Hanoi

A stroll by the water in Hanoi

This is not necessarily the path we sought or the dream we thought we were buying into when we first left the UK. Our trip has morphed into something else, a way of living that allows us to travel as well as establish temporary home bases, earn money and amass new life and work experience along the way. Travel has been a springboard for us to other things and one of the biggest gifts it has given us is the time to think about what we really want to achieve next in life.

The Journeys we Take

When we left England it felt like we were setting out on a lonely, unconventional path, but since then we’ve met so many other people all taking their own uncertain, exhilarating adventures around the world. This has given us the courage to continue our journey when things have gotten tough and we’ve wanted to retreat back to England.

Hiking in Batad, the Philippines

Hiking in Batad, the Philippines

What these two years have taught me most profoundly though is that we’re all on our own unique, turbulent, incredible journeys, whether we live in one place or travel to many. We’re all climbing our own mountains and taking on new challenges everyday and we’re all ultimately searching for the same thing: happiness.

Skydiving over Abel Tasman, New Zealand

Skydiving in New Zealand at the start of our journey

The difficult part is figuring out what makes you happy; exploring new countries, studying, building a home in one place, volunteering, establishing a career, having a baby or any number of other things. What’s more, it’s likely that the source of your happiness will change and shift over time; after 15 months of constant, fast-paced travel we wanted nothing more than our own apartment again and a working routine, which is what we’ve enjoyed here in Hanoi.

Sunset over West Lake in Hanoi

Sunset over West Lake in Hanoi

Now, however, the tide is turning yet again, our feet are starting to itch and we’re preparing to chase our happiness back out onto the road again.

Here’s to Many More Years of Travel

The Vietnamese school year is drawing to a close and we have just 14 more weeks left in the country before we board a plane to Bangkok and a brand new phase of our journey begins. As great as our time in Hanoi has been, I know that we are ready to leave because lately our conversations have been full of plans and ideas. Where shall we spend our holiday in Thailand? When should we start applying for summer house sits in London? How are we going to divide our time between family, friends and the places we love during our two-month break in the UK?

Teaching a Grade Five Class in Vietnam

Only 10 more weeks of teaching left!

All our flights for this year are now booked and we have our ESTA visas for America. As our autumn road-trip through New England glistens on the horizon, we’ve began arranging car hire and plotting a tentative route. Beyond that I’ll occasionally daydream about the cold Christmas we will celebrate back in England, our first in two years. Andrew is more often than not dreaming about the car he wants to buy which will take us through Europe to a new life in Spain in 2016.

Us Jumping in Scotland

Jumping for joy in Scotland

There is so much to look forward to and we’re so happy with the life that we’ve carved for ourselves. Here’s to many more years of adventure!

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34 thoughts on “Reflections on Life after Two Years of Travel

    • Yep, Spain is looking like our next semi-permanent stop Stefan; we should be able to pick up some more teaching work there pretty easily.

    • Thanks Katie 🙂 Yes, in one way it feels like these two years have gone so quickly but when I think back to lives in London that time seems so far away, as if it was a dream.

  1. I was just thinking about this precise thing the other day: Before we left the US for our 14 month trip, I couldn’t have imagined how it would change me. I might not be a different person, but I certainly view life differently, I have different aspirations, different plans for my future. Before we left, I knew I would see, learn, experience lots. And, we did. But I had no idea that it would be the people that we meet along the way that would make the trip what it was. Ah, the gifts of long term travel 🙂
    Jenia recently posted..Jenia’s Perfect Travel DayMy Profile

  2. Amy, I can’t believe it has been 2 years already? I have followed your journey from the onset and have enjoyed all your posts. You and Andew are living many different lives in one life. The swaps and changes are exciting and looks like your plans for the rest of this year will be a lot of fun again. I admire your energy and courage to choose a less conventional lifestyle.
    Gilda Baxter recently posted..A Hen Do After She Said I DoMy Profile

    • Thanks for your kind words Gilda and for following our journey 🙂 It hasn’t always been easy but I am so glad we took that leap and left the UK to follow our travel dreams.

  3. Guys, I so love reading your updates. I’ve always thought that travelling is not just about experiencing new places but about freedom. Freedom to make choices, stay, move, work, go home, move again and you sum it up beautifully above. I’m excited to read more about your upcoming plans. Take Care. Lesley x

    • Hi Lesley, thanks so much for reading and commenting. You’re right, travel is also about freedom and it has allowed us the time to think about what we want to do in life. Lots of adventures ahead!

  4. We were at a talk by an author the other day which was about society slowly moving away from materialism and collecting stuff to experientialism and collecting memories. So your sometimes “lonely, unconventional path” just means you guys are some of the early adopters!

    Congratulations – looks like an amazing 2 years and your plans sound exciting. We’re looking in to house sitting options (including Spain) but are complete rookies there – what site(/s) do you guys use? Any good resources you’ve seen on it?
    Matt recently posted..Happiness Project: The Food We EatMy Profile

  5. The two of you are the best, two years! Kudos to you. Remember when I interviewed you before you even took the first leap, how fun is that?! I love that you’re living your lives and following your path and that you’ve got it figured out for next year! You’ve got a lot of reasons to jump for joy, which is a great photo by the way!
    Patti recently posted..It’s Known as The Bone Church ~My Profile

    • I do remember Patti, I can’t believe how the time flown! Back then you owned your own B&B and now you’re off exploring Europe, I’d say you’ve done a great job at successfully following your dreams too 🙂

    • Thanks Miriam, it probably is a bit excessive of us to plan so far ahead but we can’t help ourselves! We’re really at the point now where we’re itching to move on again 🙂

  6. I can’t believe it’s been two years since you guys set out! Where has the time gone?!? I feel like you were just skydiving in NZ and we were just grabbing smoothies in HCMC…

    Congrats on not just reaching this milestone, but on thriving over the years. It’s wonderful to see how your adventure has evolved and I’m really excited to see what this next year will bring you guys. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time back in London for the summer and all that comes afterwards!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..That GOB Bluth MomentMy Profile

    • I can’t believe it either Steph; it was over a year ago since we met up with you guys in HCMC! We are really excited to get moving again now and explore some new parts of the world, there’s lots to look forward to!

  7. Wow two years is amazing! I only just began following you when I discovered a photo you on google images. The photo is of you pretending to drink in a waterfall in New Zealand. My daughter is in NZ and we spoke today. She gave me her travel route from Christ Church all the way around the island. She went swimming in the glacier waters under the waterfalls – it’s in her blood because I took my kids waterfall hunting/camping for nearly 10 years while they were growing up. Now she is an avid traveler, but doesn’t blog much. Anyway, you have come a long way since NZ.

    You said you will be heading to New England in the fall. I am right in the heart of New Hampshire and would LOVE to hike the White Mountains with you when you arrive. Please keep in touch as it would be great to meet you.

    Travel on!

    Lauren

    • Hi Lauren, thanks so much for reading and commenting. It sounds like your daughter is having one hell of a trip; New Zealand is an awesome country. Yes, we will be in New England in the fall and we’d love to hike the White Mountains, we will be in contact with you nearer the time when our plans are clearer 🙂

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