A big milestone today…..a whopping 500 days on the road. When we nervously boarded that plane last April I had no idea we’d travel so far and be on the move for so long. There have been highs and lows, moments of utter brilliance and days of utter mayhem. Here’s a little look back at our trip so far….. After six months languishing in beautiful Bali, it was time to grab our backpacks and start our life on the road. After a short city break in slick Singapore, we found paradise at the Perhentian islands in Malaysia. By October, we were island hopping our way down the beautiful tropical Andaman coast in Thailand enjoying soft powdery sands, the bluest water and the most dramatic sunsets. Family favourites were Railay Beach, Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe “The Maldives of Thailand”. After a brief stint back in Malaysia, we were excited to finish up our year back at the Melbourne nest for Christmas with our nearest and dearest Down Under. 2015 kicked off with a whole month savouring the charming, colourful Hoi-An, Vietnam before heading to the Philippines for our biggest adventure yet. We were blown away by incredible beaches and a whole lot more; jaw-droppingly stunning scenery, world-class snorkelling, and the happiest, friendliest people you could ever meet. Hot spots - Palawan, the World’s number one best island as voted by Conde Nast, Bohol and Boracay all had the wow-factor. To further satisfy our obsession with the World’s best beaches in April we indulged in 6 weeks of laid-back island living in the far-flung itty-bitty Seychelles. Well known for its luxury resorts this idyllic island getaway also has a simple side. With a little planning and some island know-how, we discovered Mahe, La Digue and Praslin without a total budget blow-out. May saw our feet finally land back on European soil with two months to explore the beautiful and exotic Greek islands. Greece time means sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, cosmopolitan towns, sugar cube villages, and fresh Mediterranean cuisine. We loved spectacular Santorini sunsets, the wild lagoons of Crete, fun & frivolous Ios and stunning Rhodes. Last month we finally made our long-awaited, much-anticipated pilgrimage back home. Unfortunately, London wasn’t exactly shimmering in the sunshine in fact it was drizzly, grey and bloomin’ cold. But the dreary British summer couldn’t dampen our spirits to be back and the joy of spending time with our cherished friends and family. Saying goodbye was harder than ever and there were many teary farewells. So we’re now back in Bali - our haven, a retreat where we can find sanctuary and catch up on some much-needed rest. We grew a special attachment to this beautiful island halfway around the world. It has, in a way, become our home away from home, offering the comfort of familiar faces and a simple, daily routine. We’re often asked where the “best place” has been so far. The answer is everywhere and nowhere; each place has been special in its own way. If we had to pick just one, then the Seychelles were flabbergastingly beautiful. Marooned in the middle of the Indian Ocean this archipelago of paradise islands offer laid-back living at its best. Coral-fringed white beaches, azure blue waters with a stunning backdrop of lush, green jungle and absolutely nothing to do but cycle, swim, snorkel or hike and explore the wild, natural beauty. I love travelling with our girls….I love waking up every morning, living life on our terms and having the freedom to choose how we spend our days together. I love seeing their characters develop; independence blossom, talents emerge and opinions form. Finding happiness in celebrating the milestones and noticing all the tiny new things they learn every day. Travelling together has drawn us all closer to each other. In having to strive hard to create this new life, in supporting each other to pursue our dreams, Steve and I have become inseparable – truly life partners. And the girls are our glue. And it’s that bond that I think we’ll feel more proud of than anything else we achieve on this journey. Living in each others pockets can be tough going and sometimes all you crave is quiet solitude. It’s easy to assume a life travelling will be one big carousel of Pina Coladas and plonking about by the pool but in fact it’s just like parenting anywhere. Some days are utterly brilliant while others are frustrating, tiring, challenging and downright hard work. Days when spending 24/7 with your family, in confined spaces, makes you go slightly gaga. The thing is it’s always on us. There’s no nursery, no playdates, no babysitters, no family or friends to call upon. 24 hours a day, seven days a week it’s on us. We’re at their beck and call, the sole providers of attention and entertainment, the buck stops with us. Back at home it was easy enough to escape, to shout “Bye!” at the door and disappear for a few hours. But travelling feels like there is nowhere to run; nowhere to hide. The intense neediness and sheer relentlessness of it sometimes freaks us out and gets us down. Funnily enough, the most memorable moments aren’t the iconic sights, the epic journeys or the breathtakingly beautiful places. Instead it’s the little things that stick out; a frosty beer at sunset, bucket and spade days at the beach or a rare solitary swim in the bluest, clearest water I’ve ever clapped eyes on. The bits where I pinch myself to stop and take it all in. To commit all the tiny details to memory so I’ll always recall these precious fragments way after this chapter has ended. A moment where all the maddening uncertainty and topsy-turviness of this lifestyle fade away and I feel like I’m the luckiest person that ever lived. While a life of travelling can be exhilarating and eye-opening sometimes you just crave normality, routine, familiarity and creature comforts. I dream wistfully of pottering about at home and lolling about doing nothing. I want to mind my own business on the sofa, watching rubbish telly and eating beans on toast for dinner. Making a million tiny decisions, every single day, sometimes drives us demented. Everything is always new and just when you get the hang of it you're lurched off into the unknown again. You’re always winging it and having to have your wits about you, even to buy a pint of milk. We enjoy the freedom and the excitement of new experiences, new places and new people. But travelling also demands stamina, energy and resilience and you can’t take anything for granted. Travelling with small people in tow has taught us to slow down and kerb our propensity for gadding about; move less and see more. That said we’ve still taken over 30 flights to 11 countries and slept in over 55 different beds in the past year and a half on the road. The constant excitement and stress of navigating a new place every few days has left us craving simpler times, familiarity and routine. So for the next two months we’re staying put in Bali, and it’s all about lazy mornings, sipping on coconuts from our favourite café, sunset swims, and frosty beers on the beach. It’s also time for head space, space to think, space to plan and space to work out what next. October sees us head off on our final “fling”; two exciting and thrilling months touring Goa and Kerala. We plan to end our trip on a high and enjoy the memorable and adventurous travel India has in bucketloads. So the countdown has begun….just over 100 days until we pack away the passports and begin the next chapter of our new lives together in Melbourne. One day, sooner than I can imagine, I’ll will be standing on the other side of this journey trying to remember how it felt. And I know I’ll always be filled with gladness for every moment, good and bad, that we've experienced together. So lets grab it with both hands and make every precious day left smashingly beautiful! Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.