Home is sweet but catching up with all of our loved ones is even sweeter. We are getting settled back into â€œrealâ€ life in Southeast Portland. Mike starts school next week, and I am looking for full-time employment. It is good to be home, but we are missing the daily adventures of traveling.
We thought it would be fun to blog our top ten frequently asked questions as we are re-entering life again. So here we goâ€¦
What was your favorite country that you visited?
New Zealand was the best country because we loved everything about it! The people were super friendly, the scenery was gorgeous, there were tons of outdoor activities, and the wine was fabulous. What more could you ask for in a country? Plus, we got to drive â€œThe Hoffâ€ around and take our time visiting each area. It really was the perfect month of going at our own pace, plus seeing and learning about an amazing country.
Were you ever scared?
Our normal answer is yes, crossing the streets in Hanoi was taking a risk to our life! Mopeds were everywhere and did not follow the road rules. So really, no, we were never truly scared for our safety. I think the only time that was really nerve racking, and we really had no idea what we were in for, was Egyptâ€™s airport. If you read our blog, you already know the story, but for those of you who just couldnâ€™t read all the details here is the short versionâ€¦
We arrived in Egypt in the middle of the night to switch planes and continue to Tanzania. As soon as we were off the plane, we met chaos. There were tons of people yelling at each other, plus our gate was hard to find with only a few minutes until our next flight took off. The security machine was broken, so they went from letting no one through for 40 minutes to letting everyone through without checking for weapons. Turns out we were delayed and put into a small room with 200 screaming Egyptians who had been waiting for 8 hours for their flight. We went into survival mode and grabbed some bottled water and found any empty corner. We recruited 2 big Scandinavian guys to help protect our corner and sat down for the long haul. Luckily, our flight took off after a very stressful hour of waiting. The chaos confirmed our decision not to visit Egypt on this trip.
Where was your favorite food?
That is a tough question as we ate so much yummy foodÂ while we traveled. My favorite food was Thai. It was delicious and flavorful. One of the great things in Thailand is that we could easily eat at the street markets and vendors without the worry of getting sick as everything was super clean. We also tried to go only to restaurants with Thai people because we knew it would be good stuff! It also was great to take a cooking class, and since we have been home we actually have cooked pad thai and tom yum soup!
Italy and India are not very far behind Thailand! Needless to say, we ate pretty well! Although, Mike did lose 30 lbs by the time we got back!
Were you ever homesick?
One of the hardest days of the whole trip was Thanksgiving. We were on day 15 of our hike on the Annapurna circuit and had a relatively short day of trekking. So we had a lot of time to think about our families and friends. We really missed our traditional Thanksgiving meal as we ate Daal Baht for dinner! It was also really hard as we hadn’t hadÂ any communication with the families since we left on our hike, so we didnâ€™t really know what was going on at home.
It was especially hard as my uncle was admitted to the hospital and put into a coma right before we left on the trek. So we did not know his status until we got back to town. Sadly, he died the day we got back, and so that was another hard day of not being home with the family. He was an incredible person and I miss him!
What did you miss the most?
We missed our family, friends, and our dog, Gidget. Once a month or so, we skyped with both of our parents; itÂ was great to catch up real time. Facebook helped as we could get the gist of what was going on with everyone too. Gidget was a little harder, but Bonnie kept us posted with pictures:)Â I also missed my bathroom!
What was the weirdest thing you ate?
Unfortunately, we donâ€™t have a great answer for this question. I would love to say we ate crickets and tarantulas, but we missed our chance in Cambodia because I wasnâ€™t feeling very well. So, I think horse would be the strangest.Â Mike tried guinea pig, and it was disgustingly awful.
How much were you sick?
Luckily, we only got food poisoning once for the whole trip. It occurred while we were in Turkey, and we were both sick for 3 days! I think that because our malaria medication was a low dosage of antibiotic that it helped us from getting sick more. We did both get the flu and really bad colds in Argentina. I also got what I think was a mild case of Dengue Fever where I wanted to curl up and die in Ho Chi Minh City!
What was your least favorite country?
India was our least favorite, mostly due to the short amount of time and the large amount of stuff that we crammed into it. Our travel schedule was very fast paced which was nice because we got to see a lot of sights, but also exhausting in addition of just the chaotic nature of visiting the country. We did really enjoy the Taj Mahal and observing the holiday festivities of Dewali. Iâ€™m not sure Mike will ever be convinced to go back, but I would be open to it if we had more time and preparation.
Would you take a trip like this again?
Yes, I would love to take an extended trip to travel again! I am not sure I would spend a whole year away from home, but I think 6 months would be a nice amount of time. We hit a little bit of a wall at 7 months. Africa, Europe, and central America are calling our namesJ
What was your favorite piece of gear that you brought with you?
Mike and I packed minimal gear for this trip with about 25 lbs each including sleeping bags and a tent. It was great to wake up and just wear whatever was clean, or well clean enough, for the day. One of the things that was the most handy was our calculator. We kept track of our daily spending and also used it for currency conversions. I also loved my pink fleece which was always the perfect layer. Nothing too exciting here.
We also wanted to put together some fun facts of our trip around the worldâ€¦
* We went through 3 wine openers
* Mike had to buy 3 new pairs of sandals
* 21 countries and 6 continents (We are counting the Vatican City and USA!)
* Traveled through 16 states during our 2 road trips
* 3 is the number of large animals who hung out by Mikeâ€™s bathrooms
* 1 large bird who played chicken with us
* Watched Forest Gump 3 times in 3 different languages
* Gained more elevation than the height of Everest on our Annapurna Circuit hike
* Rhode Island was the only license plate that we did not see on both road trips!
* 98 blog posts
* 956 pictures taken in Argentina
* Yet to calculate, how many miles did we actually travel in distance!
Picturesâ€¦ We will be posting links to our pictures from our trip by country. I am hoping to start in September, so please stay tunedJ Thanks again for following us around the world!