Adapting to a travel lifestyle has been easier than we imagined it would be. There’s an immediate sense of freedom waking up and deciding what to do that day, and it’s an amazing feeling to have. That isn’t to say everything has been a breeze, and we’ve certainly had some frustrations, but it’s been a smoother transition that we thought. We have learned to go with the flow and not to take things too seriously, like our time in Koh Phangan. We’ve realized that we can get by with just the necessities and still be completely happy. Moving around countries and traveling to different places is easier than we expected, and the use of technology has come in handy more times than we can count. However, what we’ve realized the most is that home is a very special place that nowhere else in the world can replace.
All We Need
Living out of our backpacks really isn’t all that inconvenient, and we’ve learned to make do with just the necessities. We found that everything we have is adequate and we want for nothing more, except new experiences. The more stuff we have, the more it just weighs us down and makes traveling between places that much slower. We don’t need much clothes, because laundry is cheap and easy to do, and toiletries are easily replaced when they run out. We can’t take our material items with us to the grave, and probably won’t even have most of them 10 years from now, but we will always remember taking this trip together for the rest of of our lives.
It was surprisingly effortless to get around without our own transportation in Thailand. While some safety standards were lacking, Thailand has a good transportation infrastructure in place, making it very easy to move between places.
Having a car in New Zealand has allowed us the freedom to travel anywhere we want in the country at our own pace. We weren’t constricted to certain bus times and limited to only certain locations. Plus it was a really simple process to buy a car, and we’ll hopefully recoup some of the money we spent when we sell the car. We can also aquire a few more items, like the cookstove we bought, and transport them with our car.
Technology and the Internet
The advancements in technology over the past decade have made it a lot easier to get around and adjust. Thailand was a good place to start, as it was a well travelled path among backpackers, and written about extensively on travel sites. We did find it funny that Wifi was easier to come by in Thailand than New Zealand.
Our iPhone Apps have been incredibly useful throughout our whole trip. We used TripAdvisor to find places to eat, activities to do, and decide where to stay. Google Maps helped us navigate the streets of Thailand and Bali, and gave us driving directions in New Zealand. We used Agoda to book our hotel rooms in Southeast Asia, most of the time the night before. We also used Campermate almost everyday to locate campsites in New Zealand and find Lord of the Rings filming Locations. Instead of making all our plans in advance, these apps have allowed us to travel more impulsively and make travel decisions on a day to day basis. They’ve also kept us from getting lost!
Traveling is certainly an eye opening experience, and really makes you appreciate the small comforts from home that most of us take for granted. We have never been so happy to do laundry in our life after traveling across the country. Never have we been so appreciative that we could drink tap water safely yet still complain about it. We never really appreciated the fact that we have so many freedoms just because we were born in America. While we criticize our government, we take for granted our right to even be able to do so.
It was a bit surprising that we seemed to find it harder to adjust to the cultural differences in New Zealand than in Southeast Asia. For example, we can’t find iced coffee anywhere in New Zealand, and our beloved whole milk we would drink on a daily basis is not the same. Obviously super minor things, but harder to get used to than we thought. Maybe it’s because they’re such insignificant differences that we didn’t even think about them before we got here. Or it could be that we’re starting to get a little homesick and the smallest things start to hit you a little harder. It’s made us realize that while traveling is an incredible experience, there’s still no place in the world like home.