This month, Andrew and I marked our three-year travel anniversary. Although we hit a rough patch recently in Spain and the path ahead of us is still far from clear, we’re so grateful for everything we’ve experienced since we left London in 2013. For most people in the world, this kind of travel is simply not an option and we know that we’re incredibly lucky to have had the means and opportunities in life to make our travel dreams a reality. Here’s a look at our journey so far and what we’ve learned about the price of freedom.
Three Years of Travel – Our Story
We left the UK in March 2013 and enjoyed an initial period of pure, intense, non-stop travel in New Zealand, Australia and Asia. By the end of our first year away we’d burnt a serious hole in our savings account and were exhausted, so our thoughts turned to establishing a temporary home base where we could replenish our travel fund. Year two saw us achieve that goal as we transitioned from full-time travel to expat life and settled in Vietnam as English teachers.
During our third year abroad we finished our teaching contracts and left Hanoi, excited about the next phase of our adventure. We holidayed in Thailand, returned to the UK for a summer visit, spent the autumn road-tripping through the USA and celebrated Christmas with family. While we started 2016 with high hopes for establishing a new life in Spain, things didn’t go to plan and when our three-year travel anniversary hit this month, we found ourselves totally lost for the first time since we began this journey.
The Price of Freedom
The last three years have been full of new places, people, experiences and challenges. Andrew and I have proved to ourselves that we can create a very rich life by living simply and frugally, adjusting our lifestyle so that we reside in cheaper parts of the world and finding ways to earn money abroad. We’ve prioritised travel and as a result, our perspective on how we want to live has changed drastically – the biggest gift travel has given us is the freedom to figure this out.
Here’s the thing about freedom though: it can also completely paralyse you. As our plans crumbled in Spain, Andrew and I found ourselves lost in a sea of infinite possibilities, drowning in options; should we move to another part of Europe, go back to Asia or even return to the UK permanently? Could we volunteer, house sit or find a teaching job somewhere else? During the last few weeks we’ve spent hours researching living costs and work options in countries as far apart as Croatia, Hong Kong, Nigeria and Thailand, yet we still don’t know exactly where we’ll be in a few months’ time.
In short, we’ve now realised that this kind of freedom can be scary and our nomadic lifestyle isn’t as carefree as we once thought it was. Despite this realisation, I’m incredibly thankful for the life we have and I try to always remember that many people in the world struggle to attain the basic human freedoms we take for granted; we are so fortunate to be able to choose how we live our lives. I also know that while we’re struggling to find our way at the moment, we will work things out.
Facts, Figures and Highlights from Three Years of Travel
On a lighter note, here are some facts, figures and highlights from our three-year travel story.
Number of flights taken: 32
The cost of our trip: we’ve spent around £51,000 since we left the UK three years ago; that covers everything, all our living and travel costs for two people.
Money earned since we left the UK: £30,311, you can find out more about how we earn money and can afford to travel full time here.
Most expensive travel destination: New Zealand, where we spent £122.50 a day.
Cheapest travel destination: Laos, where we spent £29.10 a day.
Crashing our motorbike in Vietnam
Freaking out on the Gili Islands
Visiting the Killing Fields of Cambodia
Facing up to the ugly side of emerging tourism in Burma
Learning hard lessons about responsible travel
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A huge thank you to everyone who has ever read our blog over the last three years; we are still amazed that people take the time to follow our journey and reach out to us through comments and emails. Your support helps us to continue travelling – we appreciate it.