We recently arrived back in the United States and to my hometown of Fort Lauderdale, FL. This completes one of the goals we set out for ourselves during our second year of nonstop travel: making our way entirely around the world, circumnavigating the globe.
Since we’ve returned back to the US, the one single question we’ve been getting the most from both readers and personal friends is asking, “Is this the end of our travels?” It’s a question that we’ve pondered heavily ourselves over the past several months as we’ve been weighing out a number of different possibilities.
The Adventure Continues
As we close out 2015, we are planning to continue traveling. We’ll actually be hitting the road within the US later this month and we may even dig out our passports one more time before the year is over. There’s just something a little unsettling about traveling for 22.5 months and not going for the full two years, so although we’re “home” for now, this run isn’t quite over yet! We’ll spill exactly what we’ve got planned in our travel update later this week.
Decisions, Decisions: Travel Outlook 2016
So the big question becomes “will we continue roaming around the world in 2016?”
It’s been a tough decision that we’ve been mulling over for much of the past several months. You would think that after traveling nearly nonstop over the past 22.5 months, that our wanderlust would finally be satiated.
Instead it’s been quite the opposite. It has only fueled our passion for travel even further. There are so many amazing destinations we’d love to return to, to explore deeper and further. But there are even more locations we’ve yet to go to that we yearn to roam around. You may think two years is plenty of time to see the world, but even after visiting over 50 countries, we feel like we’ve only scratched the surface. There are 196 countries in the world after all.
We initially came to this realization towards the end of our first year of travel. When we initially set out on this trip around the world in December 2013, we had only planned to travel for one single year. But somewhere around month 7 or 8 at a point when we had only covered Central America and parts of Europe, we came to an understanding that one-year wouldn’t be enough. That’s when we decided we would pursue a second year of traveling around the world.
Now nearly to month #23, we’re coming to the realization that two years may not be enough. There’s simply too much in this amazing world we would love to experience.
So will there be a third year of travel in store for us? We would love to travel indefinitely but there are some harsh realities setting in which may hold us back.
No Money, Mo’ Problems
First of all, we really need to start earning and banking money again. We’ve been funding our travels primarily on money that we saved during the five years before we set off on this grand trip. While we also have some side projects generating a little income here and there, the unfortunate reality is that we’re spending far more than we’re earning each month, which is simply not a sustainable way to live, whether traveling or not.
We still have a decent nest egg to come back to, to get us started again but I’m absolutely not willing to blow that on further travel. Yet if we can earn some money beyond that nest egg, I’m most definitely willing to spend any future earnings on further travel. So that’s an idea we’re considering for 2016.
Time is Ticking
Also, we’re not getting any younger. Next year we’ll both be turning 35 years old. Ugh, that was painful to write. If we were to decide to have some little travelers of our own, we’re quickly approaching that point in our lives where we’d need to take action on that. So this is definitely something for us to keep in consideration. If we were to act on that, it may be a good idea to have stability, a home base, a steady income source, and a healthcare plan.
But as that window may soon be closing, it also lights a fire under our butts to pursue the remaining travel adventures we dream about while we still have the energy and without all the extra baggage. There are lots of adventurous places we’d love to visit that I couldn’t imagine attempting with a little one in tow. The time to explore those places is NOW.
We’ve Become Zombie Tourists
On the other side of the coin, we’re a bit tired. We travel fast. Many would argue we travel too fast. Throughout the past two years of travel the longest we ever stayed stationary anywhere was for about 10 days in Santiago, Chile, to work on a project. And there have only been six other places throughout the entire past two years in which we’ve stopped for more than five days. (For those keeping score those locations were: Ghent, Bucharest, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Hurghada.)
Our Halloween costume of “zombie tourists” is an appropriate homage to our current state of being after all this fast travel.
During the past two years we have been typically changing locations every two or three days. That’s great for a one or two-week trip but doing that for nearly two years will begin to wear on you. Trust us on that. After rushing from one location to the next, often using overnight busses as a place to attempt to sleep, we often feel like zombie tourists.
While this fast pace has actually been a lot of fun for us and has definitely kept things exciting, it admittedly can get exhausting. We’re not at all tired of traveling nor being in exotic locations, but we’d just like to put our clothes into drawers for a few days instead of constantly living out of our bags. That has become a luxury for us in which we haven’t had much of during the past two years. It’s beginning to sound appealing to stay put somewhere for at least a few months, rather than a few days. We would like to just have a chance to stop somewhere, whether in a location near or far, to give us a chance to recharge our batteries.
We’re not quite ready to stop traveling but we’re also not quite ready to settle down and plant roots somewhere either. After living out this dream of ours for the past two years, I can’t fathom suddenly returning to a normal office job and diving right back into the daily grind. Yet we really wouldn’t mind being stationary for a few months to recoup and earn money. And believe it or not, I actually do find myself missing some aspects of the corporate world.
Hello, We Are John & Heather and We’re Travel Addicts
But as you’ve likely noticed, we have a bit of a travel addiction. So we’re essentially looking for a metaphorical halfway house between full-time travel and full-time jobs.
We have thought through and determined what our ideal situation looks like. We’re now at a point in which we’re simply trying to figure out if and how we can execute that.
Ideally, we’re looking to start working in more of a full-time capacity for the first few months of 2016. Contracting positions seem like a good option and I’ll be very actively trying to vet out a few different avenues in the upcoming weeks. If an opportunity is secured, it could lead us to an interesting new-to-us location to explore as we stop there for a while. A remote position could really open up the possibilities and it would actually make more sense financially to live abroad somewhere where the cost of living is low. These are all things that we’re very much considering, if it works out.
It would be great to be stationary for a little while and earn a few bucks to help fuel some further adventures. Yet ultimately we’d love to get back out and roam around the world a bit more. So our plan, for now, is to work for a little while then at some point later in 2016, try to get back out to some of those destinations that are giving us itchy feet.
But just like our travels have unfolded over the past two years, our plan is always evolving and we go with the flow. So who knows exactly what the future may hold for us? Its quite possible that we’ll be unsuccessful at securing the contract positions we’re looking for. Or maybe some crazy travel opportunity will happen to present itself. We have a solid plan in place for 2016 that we’ll be attempting to fulfill, yet we’re leaving the doors open to stray from that, should it make sense to do so. We may end up going a whole other route entirely, taking plan B, C, or D instead.
But one thing for certain is that we’ll never entirely stop traveling. Future travels may be for a few months or even a few weeks at a time, rather than a few years racing around the globe. Travel could take us to an interesting town up the street rather than halfway around the world. We may be slowing down a little, but there will always be a next destination that we’ll be excited to explore!
We’ll be sure to keep you posted here on the blog and our Facebook Page to let you know how this all pans out. And we still have an endless amount of travel tales, guides, and tips that we never got a chance to blog about while we were rushing all over the globe. So we’re really looking forward to finally completing all those draft posts we began while roaming around the world. Until then, we’ll just nervously head into the unknown of what 2016 may have in store for us.
Happy travels to you all!
Alyssa @ Uneven Sidewalks says
Same here! We totally understand all your feelings with travel. Man, you guys sure do travel fast! I can’t imagine how tiring that would be! But, that’s also why you have visited 50+ countries! So cool!
John Widmer says
Cheers to the unknown! Yeah, fast travel can get tiring but its also been a lot of fun and presented the opportunity to explore so many places within those two years! But I think its may be time to finally slow down to tackle some of the side projects and other responsibilities we just haven’t been able to tackle while keeping up this fast pace. Its all a big balancing act that I’m sure you guys know all too well and I think we could probably take a page out of your book by hunkering down somewhere for a while to do some work and generate income! 🙂
Francesca @onegrloneworld says
Great read, I really enjoy honest posts like this! It was interesting to discover what it’s really like traveling extensively and full time for such a long period. It was also interesting to read about your desires and mixed feelings on family and the work place! I traveled for almost two years too, but “slow travel” where I lived and worked teaching English. I got burned out too at one point but those darn itchy feet!! Hehe 😛 I think you should look at 2016 with excitement rather than nervousness – it’s a thrill having a wide open door! Whatever is meant to happen will and it could end up more amazing than you thought or planned! Hope you have a happy holiday season in the U.S. 🙂
John Widmer says
Thanks Francesca! Yes, we definitely have some mixed feelings between travel and the work place. We travel fast travel but perhaps finally embracing slow travel may be just what we need in 2016, and to earn some travel funds.
We also probably need to embrace your suggestion of going into 2016 with excitement rather than nervousness. Uncertainty just makes me so nervous! I’m a planner and I like to build a path that I can follow down. Delving into the unknown of 2016 is a little scary. But you’re right – its also very exciting! Its nice to have a few open doors. I’m just hoping that one of those doors actually leads somewhere and they don’t all dead-end, lol.
Likewise, a happy holiday season to you and thanks again for dropping by with some moral support!
Hannah @GettingStamped says
We are in the same boat…no clue where 2016 will bring us!
John Widmer says
Am glad to hear that we’re in good company! 🙂