JetSetting Fools Sarah and Kris hiking Mount Nelson, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Two years of traveling: Twice around the globe

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April 28th marks two years of traveling full-time.

Holy Shit! Two years. That’s 730 days of planes, buses, foreign cities, unfamiliar beds and living out of backpacks…and about 365 more days than Kris thought we would make it. In two years’ time, we have visited 27 countries (a few more than once) and circled the globe twice. Such an accomplishment is no small feat and reflecting on our achievement seems somewhat obligatory.

We have certainly amassed a lengthy list of travel statistics that we could boastfully drone on about, but we’re not going to subject you to travel math. Equally dull would be a typical travel-versary-type post filled with clichéd phrases like ‘gained a deeper understanding of’, ‘feel more connected with’, and – of course – ‘traveling makes me a better person because {fill in the blank}’. I’m not disagreeing with these statements (and I am pretty certain I used a few of them to describe how we felt at our One Year of Travel mark); however, I’m not feeling particularly profound or philosophical about our two-year time stamp.

Instead, I’m left to wonder just how in the world (pun intended) the past two years flew by so fast and how different the two years were. I am perplexed about the amount of time that has elapsed from Who the Hell Quits Their Job to Travel the World? to What Are Our Plans for Year Three? Our original, one-year ‘Round the World jaunt has doubled in time and how we travel has evolved; how we feel about travel has evolved.

The First Year of Two Years of Traveling

I can so clearly recall the events of the day we left the United States two years ago: the nerves, the adrenaline, our last calls to family, our final text messages to friends and the exact moment we stepped on the plane to Uruguay carrying everything we owned packed on our backs. It feels like a lifetime ago and just yesterday, all at once.

In our first year, we had a route outlined of the places we wanted to see – and we followed it almost verbatim. We visited places I never imagined I would travel to – like Easter Island, Moorea and Cambodia – and places I knew little about – like Mauritius, Vietnam and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The more we saw, the more we wanted to see. And we were completely blown away.

JETSETTING FOOLS COMPLETEING OUR RTW JOURNEY MAP

The emotions from our first year as full-time travelers can never be replaced…or relived. The feelings associated with deliberately changing the course of our lives and heading off to see the world are only felt once. The anticipation, the secrecy, the joyful insanity of foregoing consistent paychecks, the ultimate rush of permanently stepping out of our comfort zone and the awe of every new culture are truly once-in-a-lifetime sensations. Any attempt to duplicate the experience would fail in comparison.

Kris thought that our ‘quitting our jobs to travel the world’ affair would only last one year – just one year – and then we would gently slide back into the life from which we left. But, my mind wasn’t on the One and Done track. Long before we left, something in me knew that if I stood up and walked away from my job, apartment, car, family and friends – basically, my life as I knew it – that there was no looking back.

The Second Year of Two Years of Traveling

Early into our first year of travel, we landed on the same page. We embraced our new lifestyle of traveling and suddenly couldn’t imagine doing anything else. However, by the end of our first year, we realized we needed to shift our mentality from ‘Round the World travel to a sustainable lifestyle of travel. Not only was cutting our expenditures a necessity, we needed to seriously consider how we could establish an income.

An analysis of our budget showed that our largest expense was accommodations, which we discovered could be eliminated with Housesitting. At first, we balked at the idea. Taking care of someone’s home – someone’s pets – in exchange for a free place to stay was mind-boggling. Who would want strangers staying in their house while they were away on vacation? {The answer to this question is: some pretty cool people who have become close friends.} We were introduced to Trusted Housesitters. Once we tried it, we were hooked – and Housesitting became the theme for our second year of travel.

 

More specifically, Housesitting dominated our travel style for year two. Instead of choosing cities to visit based on our level of interest in the place, we allowed Housesitting to dictate our direction. Not that the places we’ve Housesat – London, England; Melbourne, Australia; Nijmegen, Netherlands; Zancudo, Costa Rica – haven’t been fascinating places to travel to, but they are, perhaps, not places we would have traveled to without the Housesitting opportunity.

In between the housesits, we resumed our typical travel style, spending time in Hobart, Tasmania; Rovinj, Croatia; Rome, Italy; Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Reykjavik, Iceland. We moved at a leisurely pace, slower than most tourists, but faster than slow travelers, usually spending a week or two in one place at a time and staying in apartments – found through Airbnb – in each location.

The secondary theme for our second year of travel was Blog Maintenance. Enhancing our blog and online presence was crucial for prospective income opportunities, whether directly through the blog or as a means of promotion. For the massive amount of posts we had spewed into cyberspace, our numbers were deplorable. After a year of travel blogging, we were nowhere near where we thought we would – or should – be in the blogosphere.

It was during our housesit in the Netherlands that we finally took a breather from pouring out content on our blog to actually putting a little TLC into our website and corresponding social media. Countless hours were spent hovering over my laptop, struggling to understand blogging concepts that were more foreign to me than any country we had visited (well, except Vietnam). I enrolled in blogging courses to learn all the things I didn’t know that I needed to know; I scoured threads in forums hoping to find answers to new and nagging questions; we joined blogging groups, rebranded our website and did a complete overhaul on our Pinterest account. Three times.

Whereas our first year of travel felt like writing a diary that was open for the world to see, our second year of travel blogging became more logical and thoughtfully planned. It’s a job and I’m my own boss (and Type-A personality bosses are the worst!). It can be stressful and pull-my-hair-out frustrating, which is sadly reminiscent of the life I walked away from. But, those fleeting moments of I-never-want-to-look-at-a-computer-ever-again quickly dissolve when I look up from the screen and see where I am. For a job, it’s a pretty kick-ass one, so don’t think I’m complaining.

Looking Forward after Two Years of Traveling

JetSetting Fools after two years of Traveling Sarah and Kris boating in Zancudo, Costa Rica

As we enter our third year of full-time traveling, we anticipate evolving our travel style into a blend of the two previous years. We want to shift the balance back to mindfully choosing our destinations and then filtering in Housesits around our plans. The places we want to see in this great, wide world still far outnumber the places we have been. A rough outline of our Year #3 itinerary has been drawn, with only one stop set in stone…and we’re not ready to let the cat(s) out of the bag just yet. Stay tuned and thank you for traveling with us!

We want to know: Does full-time traveling appeal to you? Are you a long-term traveler? How long have you traveled? How has your travel style evolved? Tell us in the comments!

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Two Years of Traveling and Twice Around the Globe JetSetting Fools

8 thoughts on “Two years of traveling: Twice around the globe

  1. Really enjoy this post because we’ve gone through so many of the same emotions. We left for full-time travel around the same time you did and in many ways it seems like a really long time ago. It was exciting and scary and I don’t think those emotions can ever be duplicated. We knew before leaving that we wanted this to be our lifestyle so although we have stuff left behind (that we have to take care of at a certain point) we don’t want to go back to our lifestyle. Really, who would want to, right? Unless you have to for family or financial reasons. So I think we’ve gone through many of the same feelings.

    Yes, the cliches you mention in your first paragraph. Well, we’re not in our 20’s so we don’t have to spread that kind of bullshit around, do we? I think we all really do it for ourselves, we all just try to be happier in our lives and see the world before we get too old to do it.

    I think it’s constant evolution and one of the things we think of more and more is to have a base somewhere overseas that we can call our own for at least a few months of the year. As much as we like to travel – and will do so as long as we can – we also miss a few of the aspects of being settled. Having our own stuff, making friends…I think that’s an evolution that all travellers go through. So we’re always keeping an eye out for that place.

    As far as blogging: always a lot of work and I’m finding some of the social media channels very saturated. Tough getting out there. I’d tell you what brings us the most traffic but I think you already know…

    Anyway, great post!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Thanks Frank! I love how our stories are so parallel! We are so excited that you are still traveling, too. It is so true that we are constantly evolving in our travels. Just when one aspect becomes clear or dominate, we shake things up a bit and see how that works out. We aren’t quite ready to settle in one place just yet, but who knows when we will reach that stage. Maybe when we arrive at a place we just can’t bear to leave…but I think I’d like to still see quite a bit more before we commit 😉

  2. Anonymous

    Kudos to you two for living out your dreams and not letting the “fear of the unknown” get in the way! Enjoy your third year of adventure!

  3. Oregon Follower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reading your posts are like looking at time in a bottle!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyone was write a story, but you do it with style!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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