Two Years Later: Keep Calm & Travel On

It’s been a week of milestones here at 20 Years Hence: Thursday marked six weeks back home following our Big Trip (How did that happen???), and today is the two year anniversary of the date we first left on our travels (How did that happen?!?). Given that we’re celebrating the latter concurrent with the former,...

It’s been a week of milestones here at 20 Years Hence: Thursday marked six weeks back home following our Big Trip (How did that happen???), and today is the two year anniversary of the date we first left on our travels (How did that happen?!?).

Given that we’re celebrating the latter concurrent with the former, I anticipated that I’d be looking back on that fateful day when we boarded a plane to Tokyo, Japan with a pang of wistfulness and a splash of mourning. After all, we’re long-term travelers who are, at present, not really traveling. By the looks of it, our Big Trip is over and now we’re home. Do we really want to break out the party hats for that?

20YH Songkran
If only we were celebrating 2 years of travel with a massive water fight!

Hell yeah, we do! Sure we didn’t technically travel the world for a full two years, but coming in at 687 days on the road (aka 98 weeks and 1 day; aka 22.5 months) and stopping in at 21 different countries (some multiple times!), is pretty darn great (and at a full 4.5 months longer than our pipedream longest-trip estimate, nothing to scoff at either). And the truth is, whether we were in foreign lands for 22 months or 24 months is not really the point; what really matters to us is that the last 24 months have been the best of our lives, filled with adventures and discoveries, incredible challenges and triumphs, and So! Much! Happiness! (And also So! Much! Good! Food! Maybe they are one and the same?) Even better? Although we’re now home, we don’t anticipate any of that changing.

Com dam Saigon
Given that we spent 3 months alone in Vietnam, our second year of travel was delicious!

The Gift of the Last Two Years

I’ve already written about how our transition from travelers to stationary homebodies struck fear into my heart in principle but was far less stressful and traumatic in practice (at least so far) . Two years on the road (I’m going to round up; get over it!) was many fantastic things, but it was also really exhausting. Maybe our first week back wasn’t so bad because we spent most of it sleeping and joking to one another that, more than anything else, we’ve spent the past two years in a state of constant sleep deprivation. But I also think our adjustment has been relatively placid because of an important lesson we learned during our travels: whether we’re traipsing about in unfamiliar lands or hibernating here at home, we’re always moving forward, the journey never stops.

20 Years Hence drive a tuk tuk
The journey also never stops when you drive your own tuk tuk through Sri Lanka!

Being back home has been really pretty good, certainly way better than I originally feared. But that’s not to say that we haven’t been dealing with the occasional moments of reverse culture shock or that adjusting to living at home with my parents has been hunky dory 100% of the time. It can be hard to be home when, in our hearts, we’d really rather not, when we don’t identify with the hopes and dreams that so many people around us have and our globetrotting—and the shift in priorities it incited within us—is viewed with skepticism or confusion. Still, being home has been more good than bad, but I do still get stressed out and I have averaged about one crying jag per week since we’ve been back. Despite this, I still feel different—healthier—than I did before we left. I own my emotions and responses in a way that I couldn’t before, and I realize that so much of the anger, pain and sadness I carried with me has been left behind during our travels, freeing me up to fill my life with light and laughter. One of my oldest friends, Sarah, remarked to me recently that my emails to her during the trip were filled with a joy and optimism that had begun to fade and flicker out while I was living in Nashville and it was so nice to see old, happy Steph again.

Steph & Tony 20YH Annapurna Circuit
When you’re trekking the Himalayas in Nepal, there’s nothing to worry about (except altitude sickness & hypothermia)!

And therein lies the crux of it all, why—no matter the snags—I feel so great wrapping up our second year of travel at home: Because the most important traveling I did over the last two years wasn’t around the world, but down the path towards the person I once was but thought I had lost. My truest self, my best Steph.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite poems, “Love After Love” by Derek Walcott:

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

20YH sunset on Kanawa Island, Indonesia
Give back your heart to itself on Kanawa Island, Indonesia

Two years later, I think I’ve arrived at my own door, I’m feasting on my life, and it feels great. Poring through the suitcases of clothes and boxes of belongings we stored before our trip, I do in some ways feel like these are the vestiges of a shadow self, the shed skin of a stranger I no longer understand. But you know what? I sorted through those boxes and found that some of those clothes are ones I’m glad I kept because they look better than they did before we left and are a welcome change from the floaty, shapeless cheap clothes I had to settle for in Asia. At first it was a shock to the system because I wasn’t used to seeing myself in “real clothes” any more, but I find that six weeks in, I’m shedding my backpacker skin (at least superficially) and am embracing the new one I am growing.

20YH do The Loop in Tha Khaek, Laos
Riding motorbikes in southern Laos… Thankfully I have bottoms that actually fit now that we’re home!

Even though I feel more like me than I perhaps ever have, and even though Toronto feels effortless and comforting in the way that home always does, I don’t know that I feel like I exactly fit in here. I am very aware nearly all of the time that my priorities are really out of whack with nearly everybody else as evidenced by the fact that almost everyone I know now owns a house, whereas I… continue to check for flights to “anywhere but here” pretty much every night. Let me be clear: I am immensely happy to be surrounded by family and friends and our dogs again, but a large part of my heart is still out there on the road.

View over Spain from plane
Home is good, but we wouldn’t say no to another flight to Spain (even if it is on RyanAir!)

Year 3: Stronger Than Ever

Tony & I have had this crazy travel dream for so long that sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how we ever got it into our heads in the first place. Certainly one of our sources of inspiration was my friend L’Ell, the friend with whom I traveled through Europe for six weeks nearly a decade ago and who then went and traveled around the world for eight months solo. I remember catching up with her between one of her epic jaunts to South America, well before Tony & I had started planning our own trip, and she told me that her mother had asked her if—finally—her wanderlust had been sated and she could settle down. And she just shook her head and said, “I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. If anything it’s stronger than ever.”

I finally understand what L’Ell meant. People express a mixture of admiration and incredulity when they find out we have traveled for two years. But they’re even more shocked when they find out that we don’t want to stop and, in fact, are actively working and planning to keep going for a third year and beyond.

Ponte Vecchio, Firenze, Italy
It’s hard to imagine ever getting enough of views like this one of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

As we stand here back in Toronto, two years after tipping our lives upside down and setting ourselves free, I feel just as happy—if not more—as I did at this time last year when we were exploring the rice terraces of Bali. Because not only do I know that our travel dreams are still alive and well, but because I know that even if we never moved again in our lives, we did what we set out to do: For two years, we saw the world, we dreamed big, and we lived a life without regrets. It’s for this reason that I was ultimately able to make my peace with coming home, why I can be here now; I realized that as much as I wanted to keep going exactly as we were, I also knew that we had taken exactly the trip we wanted to, on our own terms, and I wouldn’t change a single minute of it. If it had to end, then we would do it still in love with the world and our lives. That’s how I know our trip was a success.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
No regrets. Not even Paris where we were pickpocketed!

But I am also overjoyed (and excited!) by the knowledge that the trip DOESN’T have to end, that there will be more travel, to places we never even considered when we set out two years ago. Our dreams have morphed and grown along with us; as much as we’d love to return to Asia and do it all over again (and some day, I know we will), we have two new parameters—our dogs!—to work around.

If our trip taught me anything, it’s that plans were made to be broken and that often the best experiences are the ones you can’t plan for. But it also taught me that things have a way of working out and that if you can’t change an obstacle, you need to change the way you approach it. We love our dogs and have to look after them, but we still want to travel… so we’re compromising: Year 3 will see us continue to travel but, this time, we’re bringing the dogs with us! (As if regular travel wasn’t enough of a challenge, right?)

Emmy Lou & Rory
Meet 20YH’s new staff. Their chief tasks are cuddling and looking adorable.

Looking back, I think of the last two years where we traveled slowly from East to West as a beta test. We thought this trip would be our once in a lifetime shot to see the world, but now I think of what we’ve just wrapped up as Big Trip v1.0. That’s why I look at this time at home as a layover, albeit an extended one, and still view ourselves as moving into a third year of traveling, but one where we’ll be launching Big Trip v2.0. Right now, we’re working on shoring up our travel savings and growing our design business and exploring other lines of location-independent employment so that the next time we head out into the world, we can do so indefinitely. When it comes to wrapping up the second year of our travels, I think that’s ending on a high note.

We’ve got the dogs and, as those of you who follow our Facebook page already know, we now have a car. My geography’s gotten pretty good over the past two years, so I know we’ve also got two other cardinal directions to explore.

We’ve still got tons of planning and preparing to do before we floor the gas and peel out of here, and things are always subject to change around here, but suffice to say, we’ve got our sights set on the mother of all road trips! If we have any regrets regarding our trip, it’s that we didn’t launch 20YH until a few months before our trip; this time, we’ll be able to share every stage of the planning process, so trust us: If you thought the last two years were epic, we’re only warming up. Two people, two dogs, a Hyundai Accent, thousands of miles of road and plenty of unexplored countries before us… who said the adventure was over?

20YH Hyundai Accent
Wherever might we be headed in this?

As always, a hearty round of thanks and appreciation to all of our readers who have followed us around the world and back. Your support has been such a boon for us and it has been an incredible honor to have you share in our journey. Whether you’ve emailed, commented, followed us on our various social media platforms, requested design work, or merely lurked: THANK YOU. We’re so looking forward to the adventures our third year of travels will bring and can’t wait to share them here on the site.

P.S. Did you notice that many of these pictures were about places we haven’t written about yet? Don’t worry! We’ll be doing that over the next few months too!

Steph & Tony + PINTS
As we said MANY times in London: Cheers!

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48 comments Leave a comment

  1. It’s interesting to hear about your transition from traveling long term to living back in Canada. Up until a month ago I thought that my travels were over and that I’d have to go back home. I wasn’t really sure how I would cope or if I’d be happy returning to my old life. But after spending a bit of time back in California I realized that it’s possible to be a traveler in my own country. I took the time to take a road trip — nothing like what you two are planning — but still it was nice to explore a little bit of California. Anyway, I hope the transition continues to go smoothly for you guys. I’m very upset that I didn’t come across your blog until now! But I’m super excited to read about part two of your journey. Oh, and your puppies are the cutest!

    Aug. 9 2014 @ 11:12 pm
    1. Justine author

      You’re absolutely right that it’s 100% possible to be a traveler wherever you are in the world, whether it’s your hometown, your home country, or even your home continent (think big, right?)! I admit that we haven’t been great at exploring all that Toronto has to offer since I always get so lazy and complacent when I am here, instead prioritizing dinners and game nights in with friends, but there is surely a lot for us to explore while we’re here.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment & for following us on our journey! I wish you all the best on yours as well… looks like it will be a year of adventures for the both of us!

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:05 am
  2. I can hardly believe it’s been two years!! I know just where you’re at with your journey as we followed the same path ourselves – in fact, two years ago we were just about to leave on our holiday to Japan where we just missed you (!) and decided on our own second leaving. Our continuation doesn’t look much like our first BigTripv1.0 but is an evolution of travel style, needs, and wants as we continue to fit travel and exploration into this unconventional life we’re building. I know your third (and fourth, and fifth…) year is going to be a great continuation for you!

    Aug. 10 2014 @ 1:37 am
    1. Gillian author

      I know, right?!? Where has the time gone?

      It’s so nice that as our own dreams and travel/life goals evolve that we have people like you to look to, who are on a similar path to our own. We may be blazing our own trail, but it’s in large part due to people like you who were brave enough to make the leap and show us that it’s possible to live our dreams RIGHT NOW, not some day. I really hope that Year 3 is the year that FINALLY allows our paths to cross… surely we’re due for it by now, right?

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:07 am
  3. I think this next year is promising to be interesting for you two! I’d love to travel with my dog, but can’t really do so in India. It’ll be like having a piece of home right there with you! Wonderful.

    Aug. 10 2014 @ 4:54 am
    1. Rachel of Hippie in Heels author

      At first we felt that having our dogs along for the ride would be a huge burden (a lovable burden, but a burden nonetheless), but now that we’ve had time to get used to the idea and get excited for it (who wants to give up puppy cuddles?!?) we realize how fortunate we are to be in position and place where bringing them along on our travels is a viable option. It won’t always be easy, but I think that for us, it will be worth it!

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:09 am
  4. Keep on kicking ass, guys. I remember reading about your travels in Japan and China while still an office monkey and it helped me push past some of the fears I had about embarking upon an indefinite adventure. We’re less than a month away from our 1 year anniversary and reading and seeing your hard work continues to inspire me.

    Let us know when you start looking in the direction that points towards the ground 😉

    Aug. 10 2014 @ 11:00 am
    1. Tyler author

      Thanks for the kind words, Tyler. It means so much to hear that our site has inspired others that they are capable of taking the leap of seeing the world. Congrats on almost being out there for a full year now, and I hope that eventually our travel plans will align and we’ll be able to meet up! We’ll certainly let you know when we are ready to begin our downward trajectory! 😉

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:11 am
  5. Congratulations you two!!

    I loved reading this. All those lessons you’ve mentioned are revelations we’ve made thus far and something that I know I will carry with me when we head back to Canada. I can’t wait to learn about the upcoming adventure!

    Aug. 10 2014 @ 2:22 pm
    1. Emily author

      I’m so glad to hear that your own travels have prompted some deep thinking and important revelations for you guys too! I think that when it comes to clarifying who you are and what you want out of life, there is no better thing for it than travel; it really helps you figure out where you stand in this world, doesn’t it?

      We’re so excited to share our upcoming adventure! Once we actually know what we (might) be doing, I’ll be sure to write all about it. I suspect you’ll have quite a lot of information that will prove useful for us… 😉

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:15 am
  6. This was such a delight to read. As always, I so appreciate your honesty. I feel like we are friends already. I can just see us sitting around sharing drinks and agreeing on all that you’ve said – about long term travel, about looking up flights to anywhere but here, about the travel bug never being sated. People often ask me if it’s out of my system, and I just reply with “The List is only getting longer.”
    Also, don’t feel bad about rounding your travel months. I round my 2+ months in India to 3 because it is simpler. Or should I round down?
    Love that photo of you two in Indonesia. You are just so teeny weeny!!
    Sending you both big warm hugs. Hope we can meet up soon. xo

    Aug. 10 2014 @ 9:12 pm
    1. Colleen Brynn author

      Aw, thanks for the lovely comment, Colleen! I feel like we are already friends too, and I am still so bummed we were so close but so far during our brief stints in the UK. I am confident that one of these days we will meet up and finally have these wonderful conversations (with all the drinks!). We’re hoping to do some traveling around this part of Canada before we embark for parts southern, so if you find yourself anywhere remotely near our neck of the woods (or vice versa!), let’s make this happen!

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:17 am
  7. How in the world are you supposed to come back and visit me in Vietnam if you’re traveling by CAR!?!?! Hmmmph. And YES, the world DOES revolve around me. (Or at least that’s what my mom always told me…)

    Aug. 11 2014 @ 1:28 am
    1. James author

      Maybe it is finally your time to come and visit US? Ever thought of that, diva? 😛

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:18 am
  8. I’m so glad to hear that your going back home and getting used again to a more “stationary” lifestyle has gone better than you initially thought and, more than anything, I’m happy to hear that you two are already thinking and planning of keep travelling. That’s simply awesome! I’m a bit scared myself to think of when me and Dale will be in the same position and I hope we’ll take it as good as you two did.

    Aug. 11 2014 @ 2:55 am
    1. Franca author

      I think the #1 reason why I have adapted so well to our time here in Toronto is because I know it’s only temporary. When we first found out we had to come home, I was devastated (as you know) and it really threw me for a loop. But once I was able to start making plans and setting goals for myself that we could pursue once we were back, it got a whole lot easier. Because we hit the ground here knowing what we wanted our next phase to be, it’s made our time here a lot more tenable. We may not be able to hit the road tomorrow, but we know our traveling days are not done and that is what keeps us going! I know that when you and Dale find you need to settle in one place for a bit longer that you will find you can adapt. Just look what you’ve already accomplished: clearly nothing is out of your reach!

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:21 am
  9. I can’t imagine how difficult the transition back has been for you – I’m sure there’s been a lot to process from the epic adventures of your Big Trip v1.0! I know my day to return home from living abroad will come one day and I think about what that transition period will look like from time to time. One thing I want to continue doing is being a tourist in my own home. There is so much to discover and do where I come from that I just haven’t taken the time to see. While I’m always up for a day trip from Paris, why have I not been motivated to explore my own part of the US (and the country as a whole)? It’s easy to get comfortable in a place you know well, but you benefit from returning to home with new eyes and perspective. And though it must feel isolating to not share common interests or experiences with the people around you now, you may inspire others to get out there and start exploring the world! Looking forward to what year 3 has in store for you both!

    Aug. 11 2014 @ 3:54 am
    1. Sara @ Simply Sara Travel author

      For some reason I find it really hard to motivate myself to explore my hometown too, even though I know that thousands of people visit it every day! I think it’s a curse we all face, but I’m sure that just acknowledging that there’s room to improve on that front is a step in the right direction. I’ve no doubt you & Michael will find it an adjustment upon your return to the States, but at least you have each other (that is what I always say—I’m so glad that I have Tony!) as well as the online support of many who have faced the same struggles. Just remember that you may not feel at “home” immediately and just as it took you a while to find your footing in France, you’ll eventually get there here too. And at least you’ll be able to speak the language right away! 😉

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:24 am
  10. What a thoughtfully written post! Travelling is one of the most mind-broadening things you can do and it is so addictive. Now that I have kids I can’t just go off for months at a time, but it is still possible to keep travelling, even if it is just a little bit each year. I look forward to hearing about the rest of your travels!

    Aug. 11 2014 @ 7:23 am
    1. Jackie (Farm Lane Books) author

      Even a little bit of travel every year is better than none! As you point out, having kids might mean you can’t travel in the same way that a single person might, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make it a priority and enjoy holidays to new and exotic locations. You’re absolutely right that travel broadens the mind in a way that nearly no other thing does (maybe books? But they have their limitations too…), and I’m so glad that no matter what happens next, that we made this opportunity for ourselves. It truly made us better people!

      Aug. 11 2014 @ 9:26 am
  11. I so love this post because I know EXACTLY how you feel. We, too, had reached a point before we left on our RTW where we were just not feeling ourselves and I will never forget the day, probably 2 months into our trip, when Jim turned to me and said ‘I’ve found myself again”. I’m always reminded of it in the Jimmy Buffet song where he sings “sometimes more than ever, you know who and what and where you are”. THAT is how we felt on the road, and what we’re missing since we’ve come back. We are at terms with where we are currently, but only because we are planning and plotting for the next BIG adventure (dogs included, as you know!), but, like your friend, long term travel only fueled the fire for us! I look forward to following you along on the next part of your journey. (adorable picture of the fur babies, BTW)

    Aug. 11 2014 @ 1:18 pm
    1. Rhonda author

      Thank you so much for sharing your own story, Rhonda! It sounds so much like we’re on parallel paths at the moment… I just hope that at some point they will intersect so that we can meet! 😀

      Aug. 12 2014 @ 9:49 am
  12. Being in a similar boat to you guys, I really appreciated reading this article. Good luck with the next journey.

    Aug. 11 2014 @ 6:51 pm
    1. Nate author

      Thanks so much, Nate! We certainly look to you as a source of inspiration—it’s so incredible to see what you’ve managed to accomplish over the past few years.

      Aug. 12 2014 @ 9:51 am
  13. I love this post Steph and so happy you guys are taking being back at home in your stride. I agree that if you can’t change an obstacle then you need to approach it differently. Can’t wait to hear about your travel plans for Big Trip v.02! I am currently planning my own 🙂

    Aug. 11 2014 @ 8:38 pm
    1. Katie @ The World on my Necklace author

      How exciting! Big Trips v2.0 for all! 😀

      Aug. 12 2014 @ 10:04 am
  14. I’ve been following your blog since almost the very beginning and I can’t believe how much time has passed since then; you’ve come so far and achieved so much. I’m excited to see how your travel style evolves now you’ll be road-tripping with dogs; if you’re heading down through the US to Central and South America it’ll be great inspiration for us as we’re hoping to take that journey in 2016.

    Aug. 12 2014 @ 4:52 am
    1. Amy author

      Yes, it’s so crazy to think that it’s now been 2 years since we set off on our adventure… part of me is in complete disbelief that so much time has passed! I don’t have to try very hard to put myself back into the place that I was when we were first stepping off the plane in Tokyo… it feels like just yesterday in some ways, but then again, we really have done and seen so much since then!

      The future is as murky as ever but we definitely have travel plans brewing and I think that you’ll find them very interesting once we get on the road! 😉

      Aug. 12 2014 @ 11:42 am
  15. Congratulations on the milestones! I hope the next several years are as great as these have been!

    Aug. 12 2014 @ 5:15 am
    1. Greg | Travel Blue Book author

      Thanks, Greg! These past 2 years will be a tough act to follow, but it seems like things just keep getting better, so here’s hoping!

      Aug. 12 2014 @ 11:42 am
  16. I love the poem – it’s so touching. And I love the best part of your travel the past 2 years – your journey to self realization.
    “Two people, two dogs, a Hyundai Accent…” Great!!! I’m so so excited for you guys. I really couldn’t imagine you guys waiting it out for a while before hitting the road again. So glad that you’ll be out and about again soon – and with the doggies in tow it must be an epic adventure. Can wait to hear where the Hyundai will take you.

    Aug. 12 2014 @ 4:26 pm
    1. Marisol@TravelingSolemates author

      We have some massive plans for that Hyundai, big enough that we can’t leave in the next month or two (well, we could, but it probably would be wiser to wait just a little bit). I miss traveling pretty much every day, but right now the knowledge of what we’re hoping to do next definitely keeps me going. And with our two dogs in tow, I know it’s going to be one wild ride! 🙂

      Aug. 13 2014 @ 8:32 am
  17. Nice reflective post Steph and congratulations on the 2 year anniversary.

    Lovely to see the dogs, however now you’ve got the travel bug there is no known cure.

    Best of luck with planning your road trips but I’m sure it won’t be too long before you are on a flight somewhere 🙂

    Aug. 13 2014 @ 5:16 am
    1. The Guy author

      Yes, I think with the travel bug, all you can do is try to minimize the effects by… traveling more! 🙂

      I do look at flights all the time, but with the dogs as our new travel companions, I think we’re committed to road tripping for the time being. It’s not so easy to just hop on a plane with these guys, but we’re ok with that (for now).

      Aug. 13 2014 @ 8:35 am
  18. Ooooooh so there’s more to come!!! Awesome!! 😀 Glad to see that you’re managing to stay so positive after returning!!

    Aug. 13 2014 @ 8:06 am
    1. Tim | UrbanDuniya author

      Definitely more to come! It’s all a bit nebulous at the moment but, rest assured, we are making plans!

      Aug. 13 2014 @ 8:37 am
  19. Guys, you are amazing and promise me that you’ll never stop inspiring me!! Your travels are incredible and thanks a lot for sharing your adventures with me! I always feel like travelling with you. Congrats and all the best!! 🙂

    Aug. 13 2014 @ 11:45 am
    1. Agness author

      Thanks for the kind words, Agness! It’s always nice to hear that someone who inspires US so much is inspired by us equally in turn! 😉

      Aug. 13 2014 @ 3:42 pm
  20. I think you raised the most legitimate point about travel: it’s not as much about where you go, as it is about the changes that are happening inside you. Ultimately, it’s a transforming experience. Lovely poem, thank you for sharing that 🙂

    I’m about to embark on my longest trip yet – moving to the Netherlands for five months – so I wonder how I’ll feel when I get back, whether I’ll want to head back out there right away. I really admire how you have struck out on your own path despite the fact that your friends are doing other things – it’s hard to be different sometimes! Good for you 🙂

    Aug. 13 2014 @ 12:35 pm
    1. Genny @ Genny's Journals author

      It can definitely be hard to keep the faith and not waver when you realize no one really understands the choices you are making, but honestly, our trip taught me so much about what I want my life to be and helped me to believe in myself and my desires once more. I know I can trust myself to do what is right for me, and if others don’t understand that, then that’s a shame but it won’t deter me. Before our trip, I was always seeking approval from others, trying to solicit their opinions and see if they agreed with my choices. Now I’m way less bothered my that, and I think it’s because our travels forced us to make decisions all the time with no one else around to help us. And also we learned that things tend to work out, no matter what you choose!

      It will be so interesting to follow your own journey and see where you are five months from now. But for right now, just enjoy the moment!

      Aug. 13 2014 @ 6:33 pm
  21. I had some expat friends in Shanghai who just moved back to the States. They are now on a road trip with their dog, hitting up as many national parks as they can in an effort to “rediscover America.” Like you say, the journey never stops. It just changes as we do. I viewed my nine months back home as an adventure, seeking out new places and new restaurants, and surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. I’m sure the third year of your new life will be just as rewarding.

    Aug. 16 2014 @ 4:46 am
    1. Heather author

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Heather, and I’m so glad to hear that your time back home was so rewarding. There’s definitely a lot for us to both discover and rediscover alike over on this side of the world; even though we might not have chosen to be here, I really believe we have a lot of great adventures ahead of us and this may wind up working out even better than whatever we would have planned!

      Aug. 16 2014 @ 10:42 pm
  22. L'Ell

    I felt so special to be mentioned in your blog!! Steph, I think our European Extravaganza really set the wanderlust on fire in me and even after 2 years in Japan, 6 weeks in South America, 8 months RTW and a bunch of other trips, it is still alive. Mind you, I am getting a bit more patient between trips and have come to terms with the fact that most of my future trips will be less than 2 months long (thank god for summer vacations!). While the way I travel (no more overlanding tours) and the length may have changed, travelling is still very much near the top of my priorities.

    I wanted to give you guys time to settle in and decompress after 2 years of travel (I know how that feels – sometimes good, sometimes awful!) but we should meet up some time. Maybe explore TO and try a new restaurant? Anywho, welcome back! I can’t wait to hear stories about the past 2 years and find out what you guys are planning for your future travels!

    Aug. 16 2014 @ 4:27 pm
    1. L'Ell author

      L’Ell, you deserve so much credit for my life of travel—not only did our European Extravaganza light the fire inside me too (such great memories), but it was your RTW trip that reminded me of how important travel was and inspired Tony & me to dream as big as we have. And it’s so great to see that even though your travel style has had to change over the years, it’s still a priority for you.

      And yes, we absolutely must get together very soon. Sending you an email right now!

      Aug. 16 2014 @ 11:48 pm
  23. Ooooh I’m already imagining where you might be going. How exciting!

    And I’m so glad to hear that you rediscovered yourself. I am currently experiencing what it’s like when stress peels back. It feels good, doesn’t it. 🙂

    Aug. 17 2014 @ 7:37 am
    1. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling author

      It feels so good when you’re able to peel the stress back to focus on the good stuff that’s been covered up! That’s not to say we didn’t get stressed on our trip or that we aren’t still stressed on occasion now, but I know I’m in a much better mental space to cope with it all and that truly means the world to me.

      Aug. 17 2014 @ 2:18 pm
  24. I love this! What beautiful photos. I wish I could convince my husband, J, to come travel for a longer period of time with me. We are off on our honeymoon to Nepal in a couple of weeks, ending in Bali and will be gone for a month. It’s our first big trip so hopefully he will love travelling and want to do more of it. As of right now he’s not into it.

    Aug. 27 2014 @ 8:23 am
    1. Daisy author

      It always boggles my mind when I realize there are people out there who are just not into traveling at all, but to each his or her own, and I try to remember that we each have our own passions and who am I to judge when those of others don’t overlap with my own? I do hope you have a wonderful time on your honeymoon (Nepal is a trip!) and perhaps being launched into such a completely different world will ignite the travel spark within your husband. I think all it takes is one really great trip!

      Aug. 27 2014 @ 10:26 am

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