Days on the road: 243
Number of beds: 20
Countries visited: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam
Postcards sent: 11
We are coming home!
Shadow #welfie in Angkor Wat Park, Cambodia.
Not quite yet – end of September.
Our adventure was never meant to turn into a permanent nomadic way of life. However, setting out, we could have never anticipated how much we would love sleeping on hard beds, eating bugs spiced and fried to perfection, going on 10 hour bus rides on unpaved roads to the soundtrack of latest local pop, and, of course, making new friends with people whose lives are so different from ours that we have little in common besides how much we love saying hello to each other and smiling.
Vendors pushing their wares on the Mekong floating market. Can Tho, Vietnam
We had no idea that we would fall in love with Asia, and the thought of not going back to Bangkok for many years is almost too much to bear.
And yet, in the last few months, we have found ourselves perusing our Instagram feeds a bit much, wistfully looking at the prettiness of record snowstorms in NYC and DC (we love ourselves a good winter) and DC’s best season – cherry blossoms! In the past, we have gone for seven years in a row, always at sunrise, and we miss it terribly. We miss our cat, Otto, we miss our friends and family. We really miss the comfort of having a home, our own home. Especially the home we worked so hard to make perfect for ourselves. We can surely use a happy hour in great company of friends. There is something to be said for having a routine, a predictable day – from knowing how great your coffee is going to taste from Baked and Wired, to how lame that two hour meeting scheduled for 4 pm on a Thursday is going to be. Sergey yearns to be productive on regular basis, the lack of consistent internet can be quite an inhibitor. (Jenia feels plenty productive while on the road, btw).
Missing good friends at a cool, hidden cafe and the Sheraton happy hour in Saigon, Vietnam.
There is something else too. We are just tired in the most pleasant and fulfilling way. With a constant flow of new stimuli on daily basis we sometimes find ourselves at capacity for new experiences. We get unreasonably cranky, from time to time, at a late (or early) departing bus, we can easily look past some amazing scenery, and we have definitely skipped out on more than a few significant temples and pagodas.
Boatman getting some much needed rest in the midday heat. Enroute, Battambang to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Laying on the beach for a month in Koh Lanta and enjoying quiet day-to-day existence in Bangkok for a few weeks was definitely much needed pause, but the issue is still there. So while we still wake up everyday being amazed and thankful for our great adventure, physically, mentally and emotionally we don’t see ourselves going on for much much longer, just another five months
Taking a walk on Rabbit Island, Cambodia
The bottom line is that while we both love travel and cannot imagine life without it, we need a home base. For Sergey friend time is an irreplaceable way to recharge his batteries. For Jenia having a home, nesting, is the only way to regroup and recharge. We both want to celebrate milestones with people close to us, invest time in people we love, and have a place that our future children will call home. We love knowing a city like the back of our hand, the cool hidden spots, the bits that maybe no one else enjoys or knows about, and the best local bars and cafes. Of course, there is something to be said for having a steady income, and a job(s) that you love.
Downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
We’ve had a great deal of time to reflect on the meaning of this trip for us (see above about 10 hour bus rides) and come up with an idea(a model?) that we think will work best for us. Our friend Helen put it best: strong roots, no anchor. A home base coupled with extensive time for exploring the world. It’s an evolving idea; we don’t have any specific benchmarks or timeframes. It’s more of a goal that makes us both incredibly giddy, and something that we plan to work towards.
Golden elephant boxes on display in the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
What about the rest of the trip… Well, the plan is to finish exploring Laos and Vietnam in May and make our way to Indonesia. Right now we are thinking Bali, but who knows – somewhere where we can have some quiet time to relax, do some work and blogging. You might have noticed that the majority of the posts are monthly updates and we haven’t even started covering China… Bali is the place for us to regroup, write and post. 🙂 We roughly generate about 16 gigabytes of data every other week, so imagine editing for photography, video, on top of daily 4 o’clock check-ins and uploads.
Jenia riding down the sand dunes of Mui Ne, Vietnam.
Onward, we are very likely to stopover in Russia for more family and friends time (spending time with people we love, being one of our priorities) and a few important errands. Soon after, we move on to Southern Europe. We would like to meet new (Hi Mr. Peter!) and old (a big hug reserved for Diton and Christina) friends, do lots of exploring, and consume as much cheese and wine as humanely possible. We won’t make it to South America or Africa this time around and we are very content with that fact. We don’t ever plan to stop exploring and will make it there soon enough. Perhaps it won’t be another year long adventure, but we will make sure that we devote time to slow travel. Pretty sure we are done with whirlwind travel – but that is a whole other blog post.
Riding through Phnom Penh, Cambodia and rural Vietnam.
We will return stateside in time to join very dear friends to celebrate their marriage, early congratulations to Annie & Zach as well as Caroline & Charlie. And of course we look forward to taking sometime to visit our families across the greater United States, stay tune for features of New Haven, CT, Cape Girardeau, MO, and Ft. Myers, FL!
We would love to hear more from those who traveled long term, what your thoughts are on nomadic lifestyle, whether you have a home base, and if once you start to travel you can ever go back to life less traveled.