Sandy provides a feel for life on the road during our extended trip.
We are now approaching 4 ½ months of on the road travel. During our entire journey we have received questions such as, “What is it like to be traveling all of the time?”, “How do you do laundry?”, “How do you keep up with everything at home?” and “Do you get enough rest?” In this story we would like to share our answers to these questions and provide a feel for what life is like on the road.
When we built the itinerary for our journey we were deliberate in alternating between hard, trekking activities and rest time in between. When we are not trekking, we try to cover ground at the pace of two destinations a week. Even so, this particular stretch has been challenging because we are doing three treks (Laos, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan) so close together. Rest days before and after treks allow us to pack and unpack (we have been leaving some luggage behind when trekking) and to clean everything up when we return. We also need rest days to allow us to unwind and enjoy sleeping in a real bed again.
While on the road, it is important to keep in touch. All the hotels that we directly booked have WiFi so we can check email, answer questions and communicate with family and friends. We try to Skype with family as much as we can, given time differences and Internet availability. It is always good to catch up on a call with our daughters!
We also need time each week to write stories (such as this one), review pictures, edit video and put together the next newsletter. So we might get up early, go out to do some sightseeing and then work late into the night to get these things completed.
Because of our limited space, we do not have the luxury of a large wardrobe. As a result, we wash a few things several times a week. We have clothes that dry quickly so we can wash a few things out in the hotel sink in the afternoon and they will be dry the next day. At some point, though, we need to wash things in bulk, especially after getting back from a trek. Then we will either use a washing machine or send out our laundry, depending on where we are and the price. Here in Asia we have been sending out because the cost is about the equivalent of $1 per kilo (2.2 pounds). In by 9am, out by 5pm, so we can get our clean clothes back the same day.
Another important detail of our life on the road is managing our to-do list and budget. We built a week by week plan before we left home that we look at each Monday. It may contain items like “buy German train tickets for August” or “confirm flight later this week”. We also have a budget for each week of our trip. A week in Nepal will cost less than a week in Norway. During the week we enter our expenses and then tally them up to determine how we did that week vs. budget and what our over / under amount is overall.
As for paper mail, we are using a service called Virtual Post Mail. Months before we left home, we updated our “home address” with all service providers (banks, credit card companies, etc.) to be sent to this service. We also filed a mail forward card with the United States Post Office to forward any mail that we missed. Once mail arrives at our service, it is scanned so that we can read it on-line using our laptops.
Life on the road definitely has its ups and downs but so far we are doing well. We will continue to monitor our ratio of rest days to our pace and make adjustments as needed while we continue our around the world journey.