Editor’s Note: If you are considering a big life change like ours, you can find out exactly how to rally your emotional, social, and financial resources to get it done in our book, Dream Save Do. Now let’s get to today’s article.
- 13 buses
- 45 trains
- 2 camels
- 2 horses
- 2 cars
- 3 boats and ferries
- 5 days of walking
This is what it took to complete our 18,000-km journey from Thailand to Portugal without using a plane. We finally arrived at our finish line destination of Lisbon, Portugal, on October 4, 6 months and 3 days after we started.
The trip was not without hardships, fights, or disappointments. This is life, and it rarely works out exactly how you think it will. Most of the time, this is a very good thing, opening you up to possibilities you never considered before.
That said, we did learn a few lessons from this journey:
- Disappointment often comes from unrealistic expectations. We projected far more on China than she could deliver, and it tainted our enjoyment of this grand country.
- When you try something new and challenging with another person, there will be disagreements. This is why you see so many fights on shows like The Amazing Race. It is stressful to make so many individual decisions about transportation, food and lodging every single day, but it is also the only way to freely enjoy a journey and take advantage of opportunities along the way. We’ve learned how to fight productively.
- We’ve learned a bit more about our core personalities: Warren that he doesn’t have to live up to a false ideal he has of himself, and me to discover I’m actually an introvert and need time alone to recharge after social situations.
- We both learned to live more in the moment, making decisions as they were needed instead of far in advance. While this did cause some stress, it freed us up to travel according to our current mood and not a previously determined itinerary. The best tool in this plan was our pass from Eurail.com that allowed us 15 days of travel on trains all over Europe. We sometimes didn’t decide where we were going next until we were on the train platform, and that was exhilarating.
- Completing this 6-month journey with the self-imposed restriction of no planes challenged our creativity and strengthened our bond as partners. It pushed us to do things we might not have considered before, taught us the savvy to get out of some sticky situations, and left us with a feeling we can do just about anything if we are together.
We end this particular journey with a 2-week cruise back to the US, where we’ll visit family and friends for a few weeks before we begin our next adventure. We have no idea exactly where that will be just yet, but we know it will be warm and sunny.
We already have plans in the works for our next big writing project, and this one includes you in a very big way. 2013 is going to be a great year, and we’re excited at the adventures it will be bring for all of us.