It's hard writing reflection pieces, as over such large swathes of time you forget what you have actually been up to.
Since our ‘200 Days Away from Home' post, we have explored the rest of China, visited Hong Kong (and met my parents), backpacked Vietnam, travelled to Thailand to see my Granddad. Then we did our little ‘epic' adventure of Myanmar (Burma), which for me is certainly a highlight of our travels.. Then stayed with my Granddad for a little longer before sunning ourselves on Koh Phangan.. Where we also almost killed ourselves on a moped. After which have been taking a break to mend our slightly broken bodies in Penang & Kuala Lumpur.
So here we are. 300 days away from home and with an end in sight. We've taken the decision to fly home for Christmas & New Year to spend time with our family and friends. After that, we're going to have to start putting some money back into our bank accounts, which have seen better days!!
This isn't meant to be a reflective piece on travelling, that time will come and I'm sure we will have something to say about what it's all meant for us…
I would stress that passing the 300 day barrier is a big hurdle when on the road. It's the longest we have ever been away from home by significant amounts. We don't honestly understand how people can keep on travelling indefinitely, we both have scratched our heads over those types of people. It takes a lot of energy (and of course money!). I think the only way to make long term travelling work for you, is like most of these ‘pro' bloggers do and hold up somewhere for a month or 2 every so often. That way you get some normality back and structure.
We've achieved a lot though, and it's not just something that's going to leave a blank mark in the CV. Studying a new language in China at a Tier 2 city Normal University is not something you can down-play. Going to a foreign country is one thing, going somewhere there is absolutely nothing written or spoken in English / Latin Alphabet is hard. But it was worthwhile, because we now can start learning it proficiently when we're back home.
We visited some really cool places and met many interesting people that helped illustrate a different view of the world. We learnt about our limits of comfort and how to not fall into problems along the way. Some places we saw were awe-inspiring and incredible. And other places that we never wish to return to. The one thing that we've slowly become to appreciate as time has gone by, is as much as it was a weird, crazy, out of this world place.. China holds something for us. There is absolutely no-where like it on this Earth. And that is a good thing, more than it's bad. I kind of miss it more and more each day!
But all good things, have to come to an end. But an end to start something new. We've spent 2013 almost entirely outside the UK & EU. 2014 is just around the corner and we still have plenty of things to do before this year is finished completely!
Here's to the last few weeks of backpacking in Asia!