Before you read this post, make sure you read Part 1 here Preface: Holy sh*t. My husband Bryan and I just finished our trip around the world and there is so much I wish I could tell you right now. I want to write a novel about this journey but already have writers block on where to start. It’s currently a jumbled mess of craziness and memories in my mind, and endless scribbles in my journal.
I journaled every single day during our world journey and documented the real life TRUTHS of traveling around the entire world.
Let’s start with the challenging ugly parts of traveling around the world (because we always save the best stuff for last, right)? If you are in a more positive mood right now you can skip to the amazing things that make it all worth it here. Here we go:
Safety is always a priority and can bring unwanted but totally justified fears: While traveling long term you constantly think about safety, often get consumed by unwanted fears, and sometimes even think about the worst possible situations or outcomes. However, never push these thoughts or fears aside. It would be terrible to push away a “bad feeling” that ends up coming true.
Before traveling anywhere you really need to fully understand a country’s civil or religious conflicts and the violence happening within. It’s also important to research the airlines you fly on (example- make sure you know the EU blacklisted airlines for safety violations). You just really can’t have a false sense of security because you never know what can happen anywhere at anytime.
When my husband and I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey in 2015 I had a lot of anxiety and fear that I tried to ignore because I wanted to focus on my fascination with that beautiful city. Two months after we left Istanbul there was a bombing in front of the Blue Mosque that killed 13 tourists.
We can’t predict the future but we can educate ourselves and make logical decisions about where and how we travel. We can also listen to our #intuition even if you wish your intuition was telling you something different.
[A Sri Lanka Reflection added on 4/22/19] After the recent Sri Lanka bombings I deeply reflected on our time there and felt extremely disheartened, devastated, and confused. We spent a peaceful nine days in Sri Lanka and fell in love with the country and people; we felt so safe and didn’t have any bad feelings there ever. We also have extended family members that live in Colombo– thank goodness they are safe. Please send peaceful and positive thoughts to Sri Lanka and all the families impacted by this heartbreaking attack.
Now for less devastating challenges of world traveling …
Pollution that causes dangerous levels of air quality; we had to wear face masks in Kathmandu and Delhi to avoid getting sick. Hanoi was also borderline “face mask status” from all the scooter exhaust in the air.
Temperature control with very limited clothing packed
Motion sickness: car, boat, plane, etc
Bug bites unknown and unexplained. We were covered in strange bites the entire trip. You MUST get all your mosquito-disease vaccinations beforehand.
Food poisoning – I will spare you any details.
Altitude sickness scaries: I prepped SO hard (hypochondriac-hard) for altitude sickness before heading to Cusco, Peru which sits at 2.11 miles high, but it still hit me like BRICKS. Despite drinking 5 liters of water a day I always felt thirsty. I couldn’t sleep at night because I heard my heart beating in my brain and it gave me severe anxiety. More tips to come on this subject because the peaks of the Andes are a must-see.
Spiders the size of your hand chillin’ above your head or even right next to your bed when you wake up. Here is my Indonesian friend with her babies and their lunch:
Restless Sleep 💤 in different beds and new time zones
No sleep at all because of storms and/or lack of a roof (Part 1 story explained)
Giving up on most of your dietary needs: Food is such a big part of a country’s culture so you are limited to those local cuisines. Food sanitation is always a priority so you can not be on a strict fruit nor veggie diet. I stopped eating beef and pork after all-the-things I witnessed in India and Nepal.
I also didn’t eat for 36 hours in Seoul, South Korea- you can read the story HERE.
Getting ripped off– always count your change
Falling for slimy tricks (Morocco specifically)
Being followed by hecklers (Morocco especially)
Snakes being thrown at you (Morocco specifically)
Religious female discrimination (Morocco especially) – this is a VERY passionate topic for me if anyone wants to have a deep conversation please do send me an email.
Your property getting confiscated, specifically our drone (dun dun dun… in Morocco)
Skin poisoning from a mysterious insect called the Tom Cat (for the record, this is the inside of my knee)
Terrible cab and/or Uber experiences:
In Barcelona, our uber driver got cut off on the freeway and he exploded in anger. He turned our ride to the airport into a high speed cut-off race with another driver and he jolt-switched lanes probably 15x until we finally arrived at the airport totally sick and shaking.
Getting lost. You can get lost anywhere especially if you don’t have cell service. We got very lost in Tuscany and also Marrakech (one experience was scarier than the other).
Stray animals that may or may not have rabies. Hollering stray cats are sad-scary, and it’s a struggle not to take all the poor homeless doggys home with you.
Witnessing extreme poverty that breaks your heart into a million pieces
Spending exhausting hours at airport customs. Nepal and #BuenosAires were our worst customs experiences; we stood in line for 3 hours in Buenos Aires after flying 28 hours from Seoul.
Witnessing destruction. When we visited Kathmandu the 2015 earthquake destruction was still very real and devastating; families were still living in makeshift homes.
India has saddening destruction everywhere.
Now for ALL-THE-FEELS…
All those GOOD- GREAT- INCREDIBLE -AMAZING -SOMETIMES INDESCRIBABLY -AWESOME -FEELS.
The magic, adrenaline, euphoria, unexplainable emotions, love, and beautiful truths of traveling around the entire world. The good always trumps the bad and can never be overpowered. Here we go:
Making new friends around the globe even if language isn’t shared because hand signals and smiles make friends.
Talking about life with a stranger who grew up on the other side of the world is the richest experience in the world. Read about those people who changed my life here
Living in true presence without daily disruption or robotic routine
Reconnecting with your passions and understanding what truly makes you happy — traveling allowed me to rediscover my passion for writing, photography, and creatively creating. Now I am building a new career around those true passions and could not be more excited for all thats ahead.
Experiencing real unfiltered life – Reality isn’t just where you live or what you do for work; reality is created through thoughts, beliefs, experiences, actions, and perspective. Reality exists in all shapes and forms all around the world.
Talking about ~LIFE and beyond~ with your travel partner. Traveling allows you to think deeper about your universal spiritual beliefs and “whats out there”. Bryan and I had so many spiritual conversations together that we never had before because we were always focused on what was consuming us at the time (most likely work, work, work). These conversations brought us even closer together.
Appreciating the journey and not just the destination
Getting out of your comfort zone which leads to personal growth
Sleeping under the stars
Seeing the sunrise and sunset all around the world and truly feeling the universe pulling the world together for those moments.
Appreciating the littl[est] things in life like a warm bath, being able to brush your teeth with running faucet water, or eating a fresh piece of fruit
Witnessing sincere true happiness even in the midst of poverty
Celebrating cultural traditions: We were lucky to experience the annual “horse race” parades in Siena Italy, the Carnival Festival in Peru, and Chinese New Year in Hong Kong
Absorbing so much and learning something new every damn day
Eating deliciously strange foods and eating to live, not living to eat
Fascinating architecture & indulging in rich history
Spending time bonding with all the sweet animals: We got to spend quality time with my spirit animal the ELEPHANT. We went to a sanctuary in Jaipur, India and also Chiang Mai, Thailand where we fed, bathed, and gave them all-the-love <3
Other animal highlights: Becoming a monkey whisperer, bonding with billy goats, hanging out with camels in Morocco, & seeing penguins in their natural habitat in Australia
Experiencing the true wonders of the world through your own eyes and feeling the magic: Taj Mahal ,Halong Bay ,Machu Picchu
Finding beauty in the most unexpected places
The element of sweet surprise like wild monkeys invading the Taj Mahal in the fog
Expanding your definition and appreciation of “home”; home is not just a place, it’s a feeling
Celebrating life and death at the same time which expanded my spiritual views (more to come from our time in Varanasi India).
Feeling so freakin’ alive and so grateful!
Learning to be so purely happy in the MOMENT without dwelling in the past or obsessing about the future.
Traveling around the world allows you to simply LIVE and BREATHE.
I’m going to go ahead and stop myself here because this list can go on and on and on.
I’m working on putting all my scribbled words together for more Behind the Lens story telling and can’t wait to share more with you!