So long and thanks for all the kazoos!

The two of us at the sand dunes in Huacachina, Peru

Wow, that was quick! Exactly a year ago today, we set out to explore the world, and now it’s all over, we’ve been back a month, and we’re both off to find adventures new.

It’s been a bit hard adjusting to life after travel – places where we can eat the salad safely, brush our teeth with tap water, and even sometimes understand everything going on around us! It’s also strange not going everywhere as the travelling duo – and leaving our Kazoos behind for once.

I find statistics a comforting way of dealing with change, and so I set out to enumerate our trip:

    • 18 countries.
    • 54,800 miles – that’s 2 1/4 times around the world.
    • 0 missed flights, trains or buses. We don’t have to say ‘yet’ any more!
    • … but 1 flight bought for the wrong month. No refund. Expensive mistake!
    • 4 pairs of sandals.
    • 88 bus journeys, 15 boats and 5 motorbikes.
    • 94 towns, villages & campsites.
    • 1 theft.
    • 99,608 words across 139 blog posts including this one. Sorry about that!
    • 23,500 miles of overland travel by bus, train and the occasional car. That’s just shy of once around the world.
    • 1 night spent on an airport floor.
    • 2 kazoos, and two friends to pose with them
    • … but no actual kazoo songs performed.

All in all, quite a trip!

So now to the future. I’m taking tentative steps towards the world of work, aiming to work in IT for a cause I can believe in a bit more than an investment bank. On the side, I might just start up another blog too – but this time probably with fewer gratuitous kazoo photos. Keep an eye out for that.

Laura is about to jet off again, this time to a new job as a postdoc following her previous research in DNA damage and cancer. She’s firmly got the travelling bug – so this is in Philadelphia, USA – and she leaves in less than a week!

So it just leaves us both to say a big thank you to everyone who made the trip so worthwhile and memorable – and to you out there for reading the blog and keeping us going. It has quite genuinely been an adventure of a lifetime, and we’re pretty sad to see it’s over.

I guess there is one final obvious question : Would we do it again? Absolutely! Although I think we might need to refine our Kazoo skills before we embark on the second lap…


What we learned

After 11 months away, there are a few things that we feel we’ve learnt…

  • The Laos option – just because it’s on the menu doesn’t mean they ever sell it.
  • You can wear pyjamas in the street
  • Never expect you can buy it later, it won’t be there.
  • Taking photos on an iPad looks very very stupid.
  • Fountains are normally off. Unless you’re in Lima.
  • 6000m really is quite high.
  • Carnival is utterly crazy.
  • Ché was a geek before he was a revolutionary.
  • You can take a toboggan down from the great wall.
  • Geocaching in Tibet is hard, and a bit risky!
  • The west has a lot to learn from the bed, food & wifi buses of South America.
  • Rum the night before a long journey is a bad idea.
  • Get the waterproof sun lotion. No skimping.
  • Wear your shoulder bag with the strap across your body. Ask Laura – the security is definitely worth it.
  • When crossing the road, keep moving at all times. The traffic will go round you.
  • EU customs won’t let you bring rum back from Cuba in Duty Free. Hope they enjoyed it!
  • Belly-out is best in a hot climate, if you’re not white.
  • To ride a motorbike (well, Laura did).
  • Four hours is long enough on a pedalo.
  • Even if the road ahead looks impossible… the bus would have done it!

…but still plenty of things that still leave us confused

  • Where do all the marigolds in India come from?
  • Why do they have a police festival in Bogota, with only police attending?
  • What’s the difference between por and para in Spanish? (Sorry Javier!)
  • Can a good spicy curry ever be bettered?
  • Why is the bread in Bolivia always stale?
  • Why isn’t it all a lot more messy when babies are bare-bottomed?
  • How does Cuba actually work?
  • How do people manage to vomit silently on the buses?
  • Why doesn’t the asian sound of someone hocking and spitting disgust everyone?
  • Why do you only say ‘buenos dias’ in the morning?
  • Are mountaineers actually insane?
  • Will we ever want to stop travelling? It certainly doesn’t feel like that right now.