We’ve got 99 problems but travelling isn’t one!

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The realities of coming home…

2380Two people, two back packs, nine countries, twelve planes, ten months and then … home. Did that just happen? Did we really just spend the majority of 2015 living our dream, fulfilling our wanderlust, exploring, adventuring, and travelling the world… to now be home?

The harsh reality is coming home is harder, much harder than going away and this is our first really personal blog. We’re going to let you into our minds and see how we are feeling now we’re home. If you’re NOT a traveller the likelihood is you won’t have a clue what we’re talking about reading this, and if you ARE a traveller we know you’ll be able to relate to this more than anything else you’ve read today.

Our year travelling Singapore, Australia, Bali, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and India came to an abrupt ending the minute we arrived back on home turf. As the plane landed in Heathrow we were a mixture of emotions; tired, sad, shocked, excited to see our families (we were surprising them) uncertainty, and most of all it all just seemed like a big haze, a dream, we couldn’t accept that we were now home. They say time flies when you’re having fun, well boy, we must have had a blast because it felt like we simply blinked and we were home again.

781After three months in India the journey in a black cab down the M25 was somewhat different to a tuctuc zooming around Delhi. All of a sudden we were being bombarded with being home; red busses, Ford KA’s, level roads, road signs, Costa Coffees, rain and we had to take all of this in as we made our way into Essex. Culture shock going to India? Forget that, coming home after so long is the biggest culture shock ever and you’ll either settle back in going back to your old ways or you’ll feel this now alien country is no longer home.

Our first few weeks home were incredible. Seeing the looks on the faces of both our families and friends when surprising them after so long was priceless, emotional and completely unforgettable. Sleeping in our own bed, the build up to Christmas, the welcome cold weather, the partying, it was good to be home. You know you’ve been away for a long time when you can feel yourself talking in slow, broken English to your mum!

However, as the weeks passed we both started to feel unsettled. Imagine being together 24/7 for nearly a year, just us in our own little bubble, doing what we want, when we wanted with no one to answer to and not being held back by the reality that is society. We feel it may have been easier if we came home and were living together, but we’ve both had to go back home to our parents, and we’re hugely thankful to them, but truthfully we just want to be together in our own little routine that we built whilst travelling.

671We’ve both had to adjust back in to our old lives, new clothes, hair and makeup done, nights out and expensive dinners. Gone are the days of 20p beer in the street with Pad Thai for dinner wearing anything we could reach for from our backpacks including the tops with international beer logos on (we would never wear those at home!) We found this really difficult, why can’t we walk around bare foot anymore?

As we’re writing this we don’t really know where we are going or what we are trying to say? It’s hard; it is really hard being home and we think people underestimate that. All we want to do is look for new and exciting opportunities, spend time on our blog, keep talking about the incredible experiences we’ve encountered and keep posting our favourite travel snaps. But the truth is no one really cares. At first this is hard to accept, but it’s true and you will soon realise that no one cares about the name of the volcano you spent a day climbing and were so proud of yourself for doing so. Yes of course everyone wants to know how it was… How was it? How was your year travelling? What was your favourite country? How can we answer any of these questions, have you got another year to listen to us? No not really, so you reply with “It was great, we can’t tell you our favourite country as they were all so different” If someone asks a question and you actually begin to open up and elaborate into your magical story, well to you it is, it’s almost guaranteed you will notice the person is not paying for attention, because they don’t care! And in all fairness why would they?

1051You experience all of these wonderful countries, with beautiful cultures and you embrace them throwing yourselves in head first. The people you meet become your family and you rely on them as much as you would your parents. We spent a lot of time volunteering so got to experience first-hand a lot of local communities and we fell in love with all of them particularly, Our Home Community in India. We now spend our days missing them and wondering why we aren’t there, we feel we could be of so much more use out in the big wide world, where we can freely express our love, passion and understanding that has become who we are.

We want to spend every minute of every day together because only we know what each other is feeling, but we can’t. That isn’t reality is it; we have to work to make a living so it’s back to our 9-5 desk jobs whilst our minds are still wandering to the days where what we would have for dinner was our hardest decision. We now realise the simplest luxuries that we took for granted, normal toilets and no more carrying around toilet roll? Much easier right? But so boring.

1118Travelling gave us a sense of purpose, and belonging that we can no longer feel here? And will we ever? It’s been three months since we returned and we still have the same hunger and desire to be waking up in the morning to something new, a different adventure every day. We miss the simplicities in life that is travelling and appreciating the treats when you get them! Our first Nando’s in Chennai was literally like heaven on a plate after six months. Being able to have it every week in Romford Brewery isn’t exactly the same. The excitement of having a decent Wi-Fi and being able to contact your friends and family for a real catch up is brilliant. So is being able to update yourself with the world of social media, not having it on hand every second of every day. Spending evenings watching countless friends episodes was a real treat, here they’re on Comedy Central all the time! The novelty wears off…

We were lucky travellers, only one case of bed bugs, a few Delhi belly occasions, a little bit of travel sickness, some sleepless nights. But we’ve come home with something much worse. We have a very bad case of the travel bug, and what’s the cure for that? To go again…

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Travels

We have travelled 22 countries so far, and visited the majority of those during a year we spent backpacking through Australasia and Asia.

Travelling is something that is a priority for us, we’d even go as far to say a necessity. We have a hunger to explore, and will continue to fulfil our wanderlust through budget travelling and luxury breaks.

We’re currently back in London after four months volunteering at Our Home Community Orphanage. You can read about our adventures below:

Bintang Bali

When we think about Bali the first thing that springs to mind is the food and Bintang beer! Leave your diets behind as you are spoilt for choice when it comes to menus in an array of restaurants. Okay they are all pretty westernised and if you are looking to try different cuisines, we don’t think you’ll find it in Kuta, Ubud, or Lovina, but what you will find are all the grills and BBQs you could imagine. Skewers of freshly caught fish, satay beef & chicken, amazing curries, Thai salads, cocktails, mocktails and of course the local favourite, Bintang beer. You’ll be quite content spending your days relaxing by the pool and looking forward to meal times. One particular favourite restaurant was Scallywags, found on the Gili’s! Another recommendation if you have a spare morning is to go to a local coffee farm. You will be bombarded with free tasters from vanilla and coconut to the best hangover cures or even coffee beans that have been made from poo! Don’t ask, just go… You’ll be sure to have a great time.

Kuta sunset

We were initially underwhelmed by the beaches in Bali but we were completely dazzled by the sunsets and spent many a night watching the hot sun set over different beaches.

Kuta is a great spot for surfing with a huge beach running for miles. From playing volleyball to relaxing on a beanbag listening to live music and the crashing of the waves, bliss. Lovina is great for dolphin spotting, be prepared for a little boat over crowding and the most beautiful sunrise ever. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a chilled out, pool party vibe consisting of cocktail drinking and sunbathing, visit Seminyak beach. Here, you will find the ‘Potato Head Beach Cluv ‘ where you’ll have a day away from backpacking and an excuse to put on your best swimwear!

Island hopping

The perfect beach is hard to find as the volcanic black sand isn’t the most attractive and you’ll struggle to find a beach completely clear of rubbish. Although, you can’t really complain when holding an ice cold beer and watching one of the most stunning sunsets you are ever likely to see.

If you are looking for a good spot to swim, snorkel and sunbathe with some clear sea and white sand head for the Gili Islands. Our opinion is unless you fancy going to Malia, skip Gili Trawangan and head straight for Meno or Air. Both are a lot more chilled out, with lush white sand and walk-off-the-beach snorkelling. Take a walk or bike ride around the whole island (do not pay to ride a incredibly badly treated horse & cart!) enjoy the salty sea air and delicious fresh seafood restaurants.

Monkey business

At 5780skm Bali is relatively small and we felt we got to see a fair share of it. Ubud is the place we’d like to call our favourite. If you’ve seen Eat, Pray, Love and that’s what your hoping for when you visit, Ubud is where you’ll find it. Away from the hustle and bustle and bargaining of Kuta, Ubud is much more relaxed with a tranquil and sacred feeling.

Bali rice fields

From the luscious rice fields to the famous monkey forest you are not short of options here. Not at all shy, the monkeys are inquisitive and quite fun to interact with but they are mischievous little buggers so make sure you take care of any loose belongings. If you’re lucky you might even see some monkey loving.

The cobbled streets are lovely to wander around, looking in the quaint shops and stopping in the different happy hours, the days soon turn to nights and before you know it you’ve been here longer than expected. Rent a bike to fully explore Ubud’s hidden gems. If you’re looking for a cheap, friendly hostel check out The Happy Mango tree, with private or dorm rooms, reliable tours (including Mount Batur) and great breakfasts, you can’t go wrong.

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Getting up and out at 2.30am is hardly our idea of fun but when it is to climb an active volcano, we made an exception!

Climbing Mount Batur was no easy task. Our first encounter was a huge thunderstorm which lasted for hours, continuing during our ascent. The lightening lit up the dark sky providing sparks of light in an otherwise blackened environment.

Rain fell sporadically through our journey, refreshing us as we trekked through the night in still relatively warm temperatures. Carrying torch lights on the now slippery surface, we stopped at various rest points to regroup before finally reaching the summit after hours of walking, climbing and tripping.

On reaching the top, we were greeted with an egg…. which we boiled on one of the steaming vents from the volcano. We then took a seat and awaited for sunrise which eventually came but was blocked by low lying clouds. The view was still unmissable just not quite what it could have been.

Being on top of a volcano really is an awesome feeling and we cannot recommend it highly enough. One of nature’s most powerful and destructive features was literally warming our feet with the possibility of an eruption at any moment.

Two people, one world

A few other highlights for us consisted of the hot water springs not far from Lovina, the many waterfalls you’ll stumble across, and of course the beautiful temples which there is certainly no shortage of. Lastly, don’t forget to test your bargaining skills on the latest Bintang vests, elephant print pants and “Namaste Bitches” tops.

It’s a great country to experience a new culture, especially if you haven’t travelled to Asia before. However, it is extremely touristy which we feel has detracted itself from its true Indonesian roots. If you’re thinking of visiting Bali do it now as our bet is that in five years time it will have changed even more.

Temples