We have now officially travelled half the globe. We have also, more or less, reached half the duration of our world tour (“more or less” because our return date is not fixed yet). Also, after Australia, we will officially be on our way back home!
This is a good moment to assess how our 6 months around the world has gone. Or it could be considered as our bi-yearly appraisal (spoiler alert: we didn’t get the raise).
Let’s start with numbers
- Countries visited: 10
- Distance travelled: 32,728 miles / 52,670 km
- Cold showers: approximately 20
- Days spent without eating rice: 0 in Central America
- Close encounter with an uninvited tarantula: 1
- Bookshops visited: between 30 and 50 (we lost the count)
- Maximum of consecutive days without showering: 4
- Regrets not to be at work behind our desk: -100
- Meals so spicy we could not have a bite: 6
- Oceans and seas where we dipped our feet: 5
- Nights in a vehicle (plane, campervan, bus, motorhome) : 19
- Photos taken: 18,121 (or 1 photo every 1.8 miles / 3 km)
- Hours spent online comparing prices of accommodation, transport and activities: +1,539
- Nights at sea: 10
Now more elaborate data about our world tour
- 7 by plane
- 2 by boat
- 2 on foot
- 1 by bus
(Well spotted mathematic nerds, it is more than the number of countries we travelled to. This is because we crossed the US border 3 times and the Mexican one twice).
Food poisoning: 1 Clémentine – 0 Nicolas
(Please note we are only counting the “real ones.” Travellers will know what we are referring to…)
- cruise ship
- chicken bus
- cable car
- our lovely feet!
Transport missed: 0 (all the glory for this figure goes to Nicolas)
2 summers , 3 autumns and 0 winters and springs so far.
- 2 raincoats in Canada (replaced in Mexico)
- 1 shampoo (zero waste, homemade, irreplaceable) in Mexico
- 1 shampoo (industrial with no special interest) in New Zealand
1 lunch on a beach in Costa Rica (Absolutely adorable thief: a Capuchin monkey with a baby hanging on his back).
1 Attempt robbery failed: 1 cookie in Costa Rica again (Wonderful thief: a bird looking like one of the legendary Pokémon). As you can see, Costa Rica was a place of many “assault” by animals. Which makes it an unmissable destination for nature lovers!
The most interesting culinary tasting (until now…)
- lobster cooked in all sorts in Belize (boiled, in ceviche, in tacos, in burger, in pasta, in fajitas, etc.)
- crickets as appetisers in Mexico
- lots of unknown fruits and vegetables in French Polynesia
- obscure varieties of kiwi in New Zealand
- at least 3 kinds of meat with chocolate sauce in Mexico
- mussels of disproportionate size in New Zealand
- pulque (a drink whose consistency is close to a giant spit) in Mexico
- an indecent amount of delicious seafood
- kangaroo in the Australia desert
Number of dreams and first times achieved: +1000
Here is a non-exhaustive list:
- Do a world tour
- Escape to paradise islands
- Observe northern lights
- Have conversations in Spanish
- Learn to dive
- Visit hobbits in Middle-Earth (almost)
- Encounter whales and dolphins
- Spend a few days on a yacht
- Swim with turtles and rays
- Sleep on stilts
- Discover Mayan ruins and caves like Indiana Jones
- Camp under the stars in the middle of the Australian desert
The highlights of our world tour
- Visiting friends and family on the way (including a wedding)
- Starting in Alaska
- The day of the dead celebrations in Mexico
- Our archaeology adventures in Central America
- The Mexican atmosphere
- All of the dives
- The encounters with animals in Costa Rica
- The magic weekend in Los Angeles
- Polynesian gastronomy
- The lagoons, the islands…all of French Polynesia
- The Hobbit evening in Middle-earth
- Our van life in New Zealand
- Seeing our first kangaroos in Australia
It is important to know that, unlike our Instagram thread, travel is not always nice. We also have our difficulties and hard times.
Our first issue started even before boarding the first plane. Following an obscure (and hypocritical!) American law, proclaiming that travelling to Mexico or Canada does not constitute an exit from the territory, we found ourselves without proof of exit within 3 months after our arrival. We were firstly stuck at the Paris airport, then a second time in Frankfurt.
After all these issues, we were very worried for our 3 more US border crossings on our way. In the end our last stopover in Los Angeles coincided with the administration shutdown so we crossed the border without even being asked a single question (seriously?). We will not dwell more on this topic as it makes Nicolas paranoid (he thinks the US immigration services are reading our blog over their morning coffee).
No issues with the other borders for the moment, except for when the Mexicans who made us pay our entrance fees twice.
The tiny creatures
We quickly discovered a cockroach in Europe is a flea elsewhere in the world. Cockroaches from tropical climates are not exactly the same size and have lovely wings to fly.
Here is a compilation of our best encounters: on us, in the fridge, on Nicolas’ shirt, in the bathroom, on the sofa, in a chicken bus consecutively to the three places where we tried to flee them, in the bathroom, and inside Clémentine’s bag of freshly washed panties (our favourite!).
The tarantula in Clémentine’s shower in Costa Rica
You have all heard this story before, which will remain Clémentine’s greatest trauma (will she survive Australia?).
The stray dogs
For Clémentine, who has been bitten in her youth and is afraid of large dogs, it is a real challenge. You might encounter any type in the streets, cute dogs gently following you all day long or aggressive ones coming too close, some looking well fed and others looking sick. We got our rabies shot so we have at least this as a reassurance.
The airport crabs
Clémentine came close to a heart attack when a family of crabs paid her an intrusive visit while she was changing in the toilets of the Tahiti airport. A nice change from cockroaches!
The New Zealand crickets
No one had warned us giant crickets were raging in New Zealand! They make so much noise! They are also very difficult to unhook from your clothes. We have found them everywhere, on our hats, our shirts, our pants, backpacks… A little bit dangerous when we discover one starting a jumping session while we are driving.
Clémentine started this world tour badly with pneumonia, but apart from a relapse in Canada and very noisy breathing after the slightest physical effort during the first weeks she is now well recovered.
We have experienced small digestive problems, common during travel, but are very proud to have gone through 6 months with only one real episode of food poisoning.
Anecdotal episode: Clémentine had both elbows swollen and irritated for a few days in Bora Bora, probably due to a jellyfish bite.
Finally, many bloggers and youtubers are sharing their fitness tips and explaining how they continue to exercise and stay fit on the road. We feel obliged to mention this point…
It is easy for us: we do absolutely nothing in particular! We hope the hiking days are cancelling out the days spent in transport (although we doubt it). The two-three times we had accessible free gyms, we gave them a 15 minute courtesy visit.
As you might expect from us, we are not depraving ourselves and are eating everything coming to our hands. We have not been on a scale since we started the world tour but are happy to still fit into the clothes we left with (which are just slightly stretchy…). We did have an incident with a swimsuit but we chose to blame the dryer…
We are happy we have not been in a very dangerous situation since the beginning of the trip and have not been robbed or assaulted.
We try to be very vigilant about this and have also been lucky so far. At times, we felt a bit uncomfortable, although it was always ultimately unjustified. However, it is also what makes us not to lower our vigilance and our efforts. Our time in Paris was a great training against pickpockets!
We have only experienced a threatening situation with gunshots in Mexico. We first thought it was sounds from firecrackers (which are heard everywhere and at any time) before realising what is was when we saw the panic reactions around us. Quickly, we went to a safe place and put things into perspective when our friends told us it was unfortunately not a rare event in the region. We then waited to have left Central America to tell our families about this episode…
In northern Guatemala, we also felt very uncomfortable to see so many weapons worn by civilians.
Again in Guatemala, we got lost in the jungle trying to find a beach supposed to be just at “10 minutes walk” according our travel guide (we will conceal the brand name).
We went through some roads in 4×4 made very difficult by the weather, fortunately always with expert drivers.
Living on the road is not always nice or easy, and we had to face many physical and moral challenges. It is easy to deal with those however because we know 100% it is worth it!
Every day, facing new cultures and completely different systems and ways of living, our view on the world and life is questioned. It may be difficult but it is a very good thing and we are hoping it will give us more confidence to defend and promote tolerance. There is no better way than travelling to put things into perspective and change one’s way of seeing things. For example, we were shocked by the consequences of colonisation in some of the countries we visited, whereas we had never questioned the similar settlements of countries in which we lived ourselves.
Of course, we also had moments of doubt. Especially when being constantly asked the question: “what will you do when you come home and where will you settle?”. This brings more questions: “was it smart to give up everything we had? Will we find a new job easily? Where do we want to live and how? What will be our future?”.
Finally, we could not conclude this part on difficulties without mentioning the worst: we are missing our family and friends so much. By far, this is the most difficult!
Because everyone is asking us questions about our luggage! It is still annoying to pack and unpack (on average every 4 days). We have replaced many items we were carrying in our backpacks and do not have more or less space than when we started but are facing a great mystery: at each airport the bags are gaining weight! They took almost 10 kilograms with no explanations (maybe they are taking on the weight we should be taking on with our healthy lifestyle…).
As for souvenirs, we limit ourselves to beautiful postcards we send ourselves. Clémentine also started a patch collection which she sew to her backpack (this collection is making Nicolas moan). She also replaced her toiletry bag with an Alaskan souvenir and her second pair of shoes with traditional Mexican sandals. We also were given a lot of gifts in Polynesia (mainly shell jewelry) and so we sent a small package back home.
A gift and a curse! The blog requires a lot of work, more than we had planned. We can say it is almost a full-time job. In addition to the work of writing, translating, formatting and editing photographs, we have to manage our social networks. We are definitely not naturals at this and it has been challenging.
We also spend a lot of time looking for partnerships, replying to interviews and writing articles for other media. Finally, this is our first time working together.
- arguments: +1000
- working nights: +15
- hours spent watching the screen while the photos are loading: +236
- spellwords: +3,700
- days where Nicolas broke the site by working on the code: 2 scary days
- hashtags used: at least 10,500 (incredible but truthful, we did our math)
It is also a great project that works well and we are very proud of it. This allowed us to make huge savings and do loads of activities that we would not have dreamed we could afford. It is rewarding to work for ourselves and change office almost every day in beautiful settings. We receive a lot of cute comments and cherish all our friends who share our work and help us make ourselves known. We appreciate the life of digital nomad (it slams as a post name?).
Finally, outside the blog, we must not forget all the work put in to planning our trips, booking accommodations, learning about future destinations… it is also a full-time job that constantly occupies our thoughts and discussions (” where are we sleeping tomorrow? “).
It is also an opportunity to appraise on our first 7 months of marriage. We did put it to the test: being together 24 hours a day. You can add stressful situations out of our comfort zone to the equation.
- Maximum number of hours spent separated: 8 hours
- Days without each other: 3
- Nights without each other: 0
We have always been used to going on holidays or weekends one without each other. Moreover, we had originally planned to spend days on our own. Finally, we almost always want to do the same activity (except when Clémentine goes for a patch shopping sessions and visits too many independent bookshops). That said, we are doing well and find we are arguing even less than before, although we do have big fights from time to time. We have less patience with each other but have also learned more than ever what annoys the other.
To conclude, we love each other more every day and the trip undoubtedly consolidates our relationship. Being together, we give ourselves courage and do things we would have not dared to undertake alone. However, it does not seem very healthy to spend so much time together and it will certainly be good when we are back and can give ourselves the time to miss each other again!
To summarise in a few words this way too long article (thank you if you are still here)
We had planned only half of the trip to give ourselves a chance to reevaluate our desires and our budget. Here is the evaluation:
We absolutely do not feel tired of this trip and have only one desire: to extend it. We are living experiences so varied and incredibly rewarding!
The feeling of freedom is sensational and it is so simple to own just a few things in one backpack! No bills to pay, no repairs to make, no schedules to meet, no car to check, no income to declare …
Budget level we are doing better than expected. This is mainly due to the work provided around the blog and the intense research to save money on each destination. We were also able to do very short missions as freelancers. Moreover, we were invited to sleep, try out experiences, or eat with friends, acquaintances and strangers. Sometimes in compensation for promotion and sometimes without anything being asked for in return. It is so heart-warming.
The lack of our family and friends is the only reason we need to plan a return date for.