One Hundred Posts? Really? Have we bored all of you with our rambling on and on about our JWalking lives? I hope not because we don’t intend to stop just yet. Oh and did I mention that it’s One Year since we left the UK and started off on this irresponsible little trip? Sometimes it feels like we’ve been travelling forever.
I hope you don’t mind if I reminisce a bit now? This adventure has been such an amazing ride that I feel I should try and summarise the past year and highlight a few special moments.
It was March 15th 2015 that we actually made the decision to leave our current lives and do something completely different. We had obviously been considering our future and the direction that our lives were headed for a while but it was Sunday 15th March that we both looked at each other and said ‘Let’s do it then’. We were already in rented accommodation and had got rid of most of our possessions by then so we were ready to do something. Resignations from both jobs on Monday 16th followed and we were on our way.
A few weeks of booking flights, trains and Airbnb accommodation followed. Most importantly we pinned up huge sheets of paper to plan out every detail and help us keep on top of everything that had to be done. It’s not easy quitting two complete lives you know! So many things to do. It can be mind blowing at times. The secret is not to get swamped with the whole plan and just concentrate on one task at a time. Much easier to handle that way.
Stuff and getting rid of everything we owned
I’m always banging on about how ‘it’s only stuff and not important’ but that doesn’t make it any easier to sort out and dispose of. We decided very early that we would not sell anything, we would either give it away to friends and family or charity, or we would throw it away. This was never a money making exercise so we tried to make sure that as many people as possible benefited from our situation.
Currently all we have apart from a small suitcase each and a backpack is a couple of boxes of photos and family memorabilia. That’s it. To say it was a therapeutic experience would be an understatement, we felt a massive weight had been lifted from our shoulders. So liberating. It’s not for everyone, as we always say, but for us it has been perfect.
We decided almost immediately that we wanted to write a blog or a diary or some sort of record of our little adventure and the blog idea naturally won as that had been my career, web design. So it began for three reasons;
- A diary of our time spent travelling
- A means of staying in touch with friends and family
- A hobby for me
The travel blog was never originally meant to be for anyone apart from our families and friends but it has grown into something a lot bigger over the past year. Neither of us had any idea how to blog and what was required but we’ve enjoyed learning and writing over the past 12 months and are fairly proud of what we’ve created so far.
The JWalking Plan
Well we both wrote a list of places we wanted to visit, compared lists, found they were almost identical, and then made the decision to go to the farthest place first (Australia). Easy. Before though we decided that we needed a few quiet relaxing weeks so had 3 months in Europe before jetting off to Perth and 6 months down under. Then in January we decided that we weren’t ready to stop yet so planned stage 2 in the USA and Canada.
Everyone we meet asks us ‘what is the best place you have been’ and ‘where did you enjoy visiting most’ and we never really give a straight answer (Jo is still working on her top five films so what hope do we have?). Sounds a bit corny but it isn’t always the location or the scenery that have made our time so special, it’s the people that we’ve met and the moments that we’ve experienced. You’ll know this already if you’ve read any of my previous ramblings. Moments are everything.
Being chased by wild boars in Bavaria, diving on the Great Barrier Reef, watching international cricket in Wellington, sleeping in a gypsy caravan in Nijmegan Holland, riding the California Zephyr, watching crazy street theatre in Austria, bathing in the hot pools of Rotorua, visiting Alcatraz, an invitation to dinner from our Jewish hosts in Bondi, the amazing penguins of Phillip Island, having our minds blown by the Grand Canyon, and of course the unforgettable Christmas on Milford Sound.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. And I haven’t even mentioned any of the incredible people that we’ve met and become friends with. The list would just go on and on. So what I can do is revert into my previous nerd-like persona and offer a few statistics (I love stats).
JWalking Facts and Figures
In the past year we have;
- Travelled 39,500 miles
- Visited 10 countries in 4 continents over 11 different time zones
- Lived in 33 Airbnb apartments and houses
- Slept in 55 different beds
- Visited 37 museums, 32 beaches, 16 lakes and 92 bars
- Walked over 1400 miles
- Cycled over 300 miles
- Transport ……….. 17 flights, 59 train journeys, 84 bus rides, 17 boat trips, 7 hire cars, 6 taxis, 6 cable cars, 5 coaches, 4 minibuses, and 1 gondola.
Finally the most important stat as far as I’m concerned are the 100+ people that we’ve met and got to know along the way. It is them that have made our year so very special and we’ll never forget them.
The rest of the year is all planned out with 5 more weeks left in the United States and then a few months travelling across Canada. We should be back in the UK in early December by which time we will have decided what comes next. Part of our philosophy (sounds a bit heavy) is that we try not to think too much about what is happening next and just concentrate on today. So plans for next year won’t even be considered until the Autumn. We’ll keep you posted.
Thank You and a Request
Both Jo and I would love to say a massive Thank You to everyone that has supported us by reading our blog and especially commenting. It may not seem very much but each and every comment really brightens our day and makes us feel a little closer to home. So keep them coming, even if it’s just a ‘Hi, how’s it going’. We love them.
Have you been Paying Attention?
What we would really love is for everyone to just leave a comment below telling us what their favourite moment was in our first JWalking year. It would be fantastic to hear what you liked and maybe even compile a Top Ten as you know how much I LOVE a Top Ten.
Here’s to another year.
April 2015 – June 2016