The Beginning of a New Journey
Not too sure how it happened? Seems like it was overnight that we decided to sell the house, buy a smaller one to rent out and go travelling. Living groundhog day with work does that I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job but I did leave the house at 7am and return at 8.30pm every day (sometimes later than that depending on trains)
Matt and I decided that we didn’t need a big house for just the two of us. Why work so hard and not enjoy time together? We wanted to break free for a bit and travel. After all we are not getting any younger (late 30s and mid 40s), so we sold up and decided to leave our work behind.
A sabbatical I call it!
There was so much to sort out! I remember having to lie down on the sofa every time I thought about it (like major procrastination setting in) Funnily enough that happens to me sometimes (starting this blog was a testament to that!) but then I focus on something and go deep into it. An example was our wedding and now our travel plans.
We wrote a list of all the things we needed to do, which involved all of our financial ties and the house to do list to get it set up for rental. It was like a cleansing exercise, not just downsizing but dematerialising as well.
It was definitely stressful but worth it!
The hardest part was saying goodbye to our two cats, who are now loved by 2 very special people (we were so lucky to find them a good home) but it was painful to say the least. Not to mention leaving family and friends behind. Thank goodness for mobiles and social media!
Our research included countries where the sun is always shinning – so I had to look at all weather patterns to devise a loose plan of where we could go and when. We wanted to relax for the first 3-4 months somewhere where we could rent a house to keep the budget down. We sorted out our India Visa through an agent in London and bought a one way ticket to Goa.
We were in Palolem (South Goa) for 4 months from mid Nov – March. Read about Our First Stop: Palolem, South Goa
Our adventures since then:
Whilst in Goa, we took a couple of journeys further south in February; a long weekend in Gokarna, which is in the neighbouring state of Karnataka and an 11 day break away from the house and the beach to visit Kerala
We then set off to Sri Lanka for 1 month during March / April, where we moved from Colombo down to Hikkaduwa and Marissa, both on the South West Coast.
In between our journeys, we visited our friends who live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They moved there 14 years ago, so it was nice to see them again after at least 9 years (we visited them on our honeymoon, as we passed through on the way to Thailand)
We are very lucky to have such lovely friends that let us stay in between trips, as Kuala Lumpur is a great hub for flights in and out and a bit of shopping!
During mid April – May, we headed to Vietnam, South to North for a month. Love love loved Vietnam as it’s so different to other South East Asia countries. The food, the people and the craziness on the roads is something everyone should experience. We were really lucky with the weather during April – May, as this changes from South, Central and North Vietnam at different times in the year. Also really good to see an old friend that moved out there 9 years ago!
After that month, we chose to go to Kyoto, Japan for 7 days at the end of May, (short time due to the expense!) but if we were made of money I could have stayed a whole month and visited other places. What an experience, so glad we had the chance. It’s the cleanest country I have ever seen, people are so polite, the food is interesting, the Sushi to die for! Don’t say you’ve had good Sushi until you’ve had it in Japan – honestly, so good! Good thing we both love Sushi, Whisky and Sake! It was heaven for 1 week! If only we had double the budget haha! As Arnold said; I’ll be back!
We then headed to Bali for 2 months during June & July. At first we didn’t actually love it. I think the perception that you are fed about these paradisiacal islands is skewed sometimes, so it ends up being an anticlimax. After a while, once we got to see more of the island, we just went with it and actually ended up loving Bali! Read Our 10 Best Bali Moments. Once we explored more areas, it helped me get to know the place and I could write a comprehensive guide to Bali. We loved it so much that we went back during August – October, with a month in between in Lombok (Bali’s neighbouring Island) – I will share my blog soon about this amazing other island, that not many tend to visit. One day it will catch on, but till then it’s best to enjoy it now for not being full of tourists.
Whilst in Indonesia, due to Visa permissions, we had to do a Visa Run and spent 3 days in Singapore as well. Similar to Kuala Lumpur, in a way that it’s hot, humid and full of Shopping Malls, but a bit more upmarket. We didn’t time it perfectly, as we were there during the Formula 1 weekend, but we were leaving on the actual race day, or we would have watched more than just the practice run. However, the set up and watching the practice run itself was a great experience, as we managed to see Hamilton in his car doing Laps (obviously a bit far away) from a balcony of a bar next to the track! Did I mention that was free? Matt was so happy, as he is a massive F1 and Hamilton fan!
Now it’s November and our travel anniversary is fast approaching. We are in North Thailand, Chiang Mai (for the second time here) however, this time we have managed to see so much more as travellers than we did 5 years ago as holiday tourists. We will be heading back to Bangkok and then onto some Islands, once we manage to extend our Visa in Chiang Mai. Watch out for more blogs coming soon!
One thing is certain, although the countries, the locals and the food we have tried in each place & country have been a great experience, the best parts have to be meeting so many lovely people along the way. Travelling is as much about the people as it is the places you get to visit!