So here we are sitting in Split in Croatia enjoying the winter sunshine and reflecting on our year of Legging it. This time last year we were in La Barrosa in Spain (again enjoying the winter sunshine) and it only seems like yesterday. The last year has flown by, we have tried to slow our travels down so are spending longer in places than we did in 2104…we aim for at least 4 nights but prefer to base ourselves somewhere for a week. Having the motorbike is a real advantage as it means we are able to explore areas pop into little towns and are not be stuck in just cities.
We have spent time in Spain, Morocco, Portugal, England, France, Italy, Monaco and Croatia this year. As you can tell it really has been about the quality of our journey not the quantity.
I have been thinking hard about what this last year has been about for me especially and how to put it all together so in one word it can be summed up in one word ‘GRATITUDE’ I am grateful for so many things…
I am grateful the last year has allowed me to truly get over my fear of motorcycles. Not many of you know it but this was actually Ron’s dream to travel on a motorcycle for me I just wanted to travel…car, campervan, bus I didn’t care. I spent the first year on the back of the bike, thinking what if…what if we fall off, what is we lean too far into the corner and drove myself crazy. I had to spend a few months counteracting these thoughts but I can finally say this year I grew to love being on the back of the bike. I love how when it is hot I can have the visor up and feel the warm breeze, I love being able to look around and enjoy the coastlines and mountains and feel part of it all. OK I am still not so keen on the rain that feeling of water running down my legs is not the best but I would not change our journey at all.
I am grateful for the couchsurfing community and the amazing people we continue to meet along the way. From the young man from Morocco and his friend who took us on a locals tour of Casablanca, to the family in Brighton who welcomed us into their home and fed us the most amazing roast, to the lovely retired Japanese doctor who is now studying Archaeology at Canterbury University who gave up his bed for us we are so thankful there are people like you in the world and even more thankful you are happy to host us. We are also so happy to have reconnected with people who have surfed with us in Perth and enjoyed their company (and their hospitality) in their hometowns, this has made our journey all the richer.
I am grateful for the Motorcycling community and more so the specific riders who we have connected with online. There is an amazing network of online support for travellers like us, they offer support, guidance and inspiration so we can continue our adventure. We have also met some riders on the road who have taken the time to chat and learn our story and us a little of their lives which adds to the richness of our journey.
I am also grateful to the blogging community who are always there to support us and answer questions no matter how silly they seem at the time. They are a font of knowledge and I am in awe of so many of you, your success makes me aspire to be that bit better and more professional writers. I learn from you every day and hope you all continue to share your knowledge. We have had the privilege of meeting a few of you this year, we have shared meals, drinks and many laughs. Thank you for spending time with us we really appreciate it and hope to meet more as we continue our journey.
I am grateful we have been able to have such rich experiences and to learn so much, looking back the most interesting times have been not the places we see but the people we meet and the discussions we have had. From sitting in a lounge in Morocco discussing equality for women and why it is important to sitting breaking fast from Ramadan in Malaysia and discussing sex education for girls. From sitting near a 6000 year old burial chamber in Brittany with a couple we have just met discussing caving in Vietnam and the English folk music scene to sitting in an apartment in Portugal with a family from Canada discussing interfaith marriages. There have been so many of these ‘moments’ that are now wonderful memories.
I am grateful for our diverse housesitting opportunities and experiences this year. From playing midwife to Poppie when she delivered her 5 puppies and looking after Camper a diabetic cat who needed insulin shots. We house sat in some amazing places Morpeth in Northumberland where we got to visit the Puffins, Monaco where we enjoyed living like a local for a week and a small village in Brittany France. In total we spent 86 days looking after people’s house and beloved pets while they holidayed (or in one case got married) and this has just added to the richness of our lives.
Finally we are so grateful to our family and friends back home who, while many of them do not understand why we are doing this, still give us their support. Their Facebook updates keep us up to date with what is happening at home, the skype calls that let us still be part of their lives and their messages of support make me realise how lucky we are to have such a wonderful network of people around us. We feel truly blessed.
For those of you who like facts and figures you are probably wondering how much this all cost in dollars and cents?
The total cost for the year was $42905 Aus ($31 223 US), this includes everything including our trip home to Australia and our travel insurance. It also includes all of the costs of ‘The Princess” new tyres, MOT, insurance and services. This means our total costs were $117.55 Aus ($85.71 US) a day. A little over our projected $110 Aus budget, but we are not too stressed as the reality is the dollar dropped so much since we left we probably are pretty close anyway.
This year we spent 86 days housesitting, this not only save sus money but also gives us a chance to really explore places. Our membership for www.trustedhousesitters.com costs us about $120 AUS for the year, accommodation in those areas cost more than $100 a night so we save at least $8600 by doing this.
We spent 49 nights’ couchsurfing and staying with friends (some who we had met on our travels) and family, 82 nights using Airbnb, we use this site for booking apartments where we can often get discounts for longer stays and 148 days in hotels and hostels.
On average it has cost us $25.35 Aus ($18.43 US) per night for accommodation so not too bad at all.
For those of you who have been following from the beginning of our journey you will know our original plan was to spend two years travelling. When we planning we thought in that time we would have seen the world…..well as you have probably noticed we have not even ‘seen’ Europe so we have decided to keep going…’until the money runs out’. At this stage we should have enough to continue for another 18 months but the reality is who knows.