• Donna

What we Learned after 4 months of Travel

Updated: Jan 21, 2019

We’ve been on the proverbial world travel road for 4 months now, and this seemed like an achievement worth reflecting on. We’ve heard inspiring life-changing stories and jaw-dropping unbelievable accounts of sorrow and loss. We’ve known elation and joy, only to have it change into despair and anxiety within minutes. We’ve been on 3 continents in one day. We’ve traveled by airplane, car, bus, ferry, houseboat, dugout canoe, tuk-tuk, motorcycle, cable car, subway, funicular, electric ladybug, camel, and foot.

Looking back though, all of these experiences don’t mean much if we don’t reflect on them and try to learn from them. Life happens really fast, and without slowing down and appreciating it, it will be over before you can say “what in the world was that?”

Portland International Airport (PDX) departures.
Day 0! Departing from Portland airport

Some of our most memorable travel experiences so far are:

  • Walking 900 kilometers on the Camino de Santiago, from France to the Atlantic Ocean

  • Living with a Moroccan nomad family on the edge of the Saharan Desert

  • Trying to illegally board a ferry to Asia with our Turkish friend and his puppy Shiva

  • Performing our original song “Under the Spanish Sky” to a roomful of pilgrims in a candlelit concert, on the altar of a 12th century stone church

  • Speeding over Qatari sand dunes in a Toyota Land Cruiser, with our Iranian driver blasting “Despacito” over the stereo.

  • Helping Spanish nuns clean and prepare a pilgrim albergue for the day

  • Attempting to sing along Portuguese pros in a Fado Karaoke bar in Porto

  • Eating a traditional Indian meal off of banana leaves in a backwater Keralan village

  • Sneaking into opulent Qatari hotels, eating free dates and drinking free gin & tonics

  • Dancing on top of an LED-lit boat in the middle of the Arabian Gulf

  • Having our fortune told from coffee grounds by a Turkish gypsy

  • Travelling over the Saharan desert for 3 days, with 2 camels and a nomad guide.

  • Making friends with Syrian refugees in Istanbul, and sharing their story of struggle with our community.

  • Speeding on the back of an Indian scooter on a 3-hour beer quest in the mountain town of Munnar

Sahara Desert sand dunes Nomad Expedition with camels
Travelling over the Saharan desert for 3 days, with 2 camels and a nomad guide.

We have also learned some lessons that, we hope, will stick with us for a long time.

Perpetual travel puts you in a different frame of mind, forcing you to adapt to circumstances not encountered during ‘normal’ daily life. The act of living through these challenges is a teacher in itself.

Some of the lessons that we’ve learned so far are:

  • You can find peace wherever you lay your head, but the feeling of home requires something more.

  • A smile and a curious question can create infinite connections and open windows to the soul.

  • People really aren’t that different from each other. We are different mainly on the surface level -- food, language, local customs. Underneath that, everyone longs for basically the same thing.

  • Our real needs for happiness are actually very small. People find happiness in even the most dire of situations.

  • Health is one of the greatest, and often underappreciated, blessings in life.

...Looking forward to whats ahead!

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