We learned all sorts of new things about ourselves during our travels. Unlike shorter trips we’ve taken, our long-term travels challenged us in all sorts of new ways. Some of them were more positive than others, but we’re determined to do this next round better and learn from and change the things we didn’t do so well before. Growing older is only part of it. Here’s what we’ve figured out we either need to change or stick with in the future:
- We’re still open to adventure. We continue to enjoy trying new things and new foods, and going places and doing things we haven’t done before.
- We maintain a sense of wonder. We continue to be amazed, awed, astonished, curious, contemplative, and humble about what we know about the world. We haven’t seen it all, and what we have seen is usually better than we expected.
- We’re very good at packing just the right amount. We traveled with just the right amount of clothing on our Big Adventure and have just the right amount of luggage to keep track of. We’re going for even simpler this next time though in order to get more out of a little bit less
- We’re still flexible. During our Big Adventure we found we were able to adjust our plans easily if we had to without throwing everything off, or feeling disappointed or angry. Change doesn’t scare us – it’s an expected part of the nomad experience.
- We’ve gotten better at managing our travel funds. Lots of things caught our eye during our travels but we were very good at telling ourselves no, that we didn’t need something, and reminding ourselves that we’d much rather use our money for other things, like more comfortable seats when flying or a special meal somewhere. We’re honing our minimalist skills these days and will put them to good use on future travels.
- We need better-than-good shoes for walking. The shoes both Brett and I took along when we began our Big Adventure turned out not to be so great. My somewhat inexpensive Skechers slip-ons were initially comfortable but they wore out quickly and made my feet miserable. Brett discovered he needs more support around his ankles for long-distance walking. I purchased some great boots and shoes during our summer in Portland, but before we travel again we need to invest in some good-fitting, good quality walking shoes, and already know they will not be cheap. However, as we discovered last time, they are the most important part of our wardrobes.
- Jet lag affects us more than it did in the past. Along with the difficulty of doing long flights, we noticed it takes us much longer to recover from jet lag than it has in the past. We don’t bounce back as quickly as we did, and didn’t do a very good job of accounting for it. This is something that we’ll want to do a better job of factoring in as we make travel plans.
- Both Brett and I gained way, way, way too much weight during our travels, much more than we realized. We were both very overweight when we landed in Hawaii, and in my case carrying around those extra pounds not only caused my bursitis to act up but made me miserable overall. We’ve made a serious effort over the last year to get more exercise and eat less and both of us have lost a quite a bit of our extra weight and we intend to maintain it. We’ve both promised ourselves: never again.
- Long plane trips affect us more than in the past. Even when we booked more comfortable seats, long plane rides affected us more than they did in the past. There’s no way we can avoid long journeys if we want to travel overseas, but we have decided we can mitigate their effects by breaking up other journeys into shorter sections, sometimes with a period of rest in between.
We won’t be traveling again for the rest of this year, and for nearly half of next year, and although we’re in good shape once again we’re going to take advantage of the time to get ourselves in even better shape. As we get closer to setting off we’ll work at planning a (hopefully affordable) flight schedule that works for us that will most likely include some built-in rest periods. The hunt for good walking shoes has already started, although we’re nowhere near to purchasing anything at this point. For now it’s fun to have all this to think about but we know there will be some serious work to do before we set off again.