To celebrate this milestone of traveling for half a year, we went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef today. By itself this is a bucket list experience and a trip of a lifetime, and we are lucky enough to make it a part of this trip. True to pattern, it rained heavily the entire time. We were soaked before even boarding. The waves pitched the boat from side to side as we motored over the choppy water with 5-foot waves. Our motion-sickness tablets kept us healthy so we enjoyed ourselves immensely, and it was fun to catch air unexpectedly. The visibility within the water was decent for viewing brilliant coral and tons of colorful fish. The snorkeling in Maui and Bali is better though.
There were days when I didn’t think our travels would last six months; thankfully, we are always excited about our next destination when our current destination makes us question our decision-making skills. We have a couple of days left in Australia and we are loving every minute here. Having two weeks with Dan and Marlene spoiled us and renewed us, but also made us miss home. Nevertheless, we are very excited about our next two destinations: Japan and Israel.
At this point we have been to five continents, 25 countries, and 130 cities. We have walked 1500 miles, and I have read 51 books and Aaron has read 34. He lost his phone in Cambodia and did a lot of reading during the three weeks he was phoneless. Our travel pace is still ahead of schedule and the budget is looking strong. I can’t fathom another full six months on the road, but it is an option if we want an extended time in the Balkans. We try to keep our plans flexible, but some countries like Japan require onward plane tickets which means we have to plan in advance. Once we get to Europe and we can travel between countries by land, we will be spontaneous again.
Now that our trip began six months ago and we have been out of Europe for over three months, we are allowed to return to the Schengen zone for another 90 day period. We won’t stay quite that long, but a few more weeks of hopping around would be nice. After SE Asia, it will feel very expensive. Likely we will do a quick tour through the Nordic countries then wander slowly from the Baltics to the Balkans. If we time it right, we will miss the worst of winter.
As we change climates from summer beaches to wintry cities we are taking the opportunity to modify our gear and luggage. My backpack broke in Vietnam and Aaron’s needed replacing so we bought smaller packs from Decathlon last week. We are trying to downsize enough to qualify our bags as carry-on luggage according to budget-airline standards. That means that our bag weight can’t exceed 7kg. Pursuing this goal, we went to Target yesterday and bought nothing.