Retrospective on Our Big Trip

The idea of a roving retirement and being homeless has always been an exciting one for us and it was a happy accident that we started this journey with an around the world tour (Our Big Trip). But so much has happened in the last six months that we thought it would be interesting to look back on our adventure so far.

Mike and have talked about writing a wrap-up article for Our Big Trip OBT for a while. Because our voices and possibly our opinions are so different, we have decided to each write our own articles. The resulting article is a combination of our separate thoughts.

Diana’s Thoughts

This trip started as a bucket list thing but with time constraints. By that I mean, for some reason that I don’t even remember, we booked tours to all of our desired destinations in series with a week or so free between organized tours. We did realize that we were doing the tourist thing, without too much time to soak it in, but we figured the trip would give us an idea of where we wanted to go back to.

I think we accomplished that goal. Interestingly enough, the only place we liked enough to go back to for a longer stay was Thailand. People we met also spoke very highly of Malaysia so we might try that for a while too.

Of course, we have to go back to Africa, sooner rather than later, and we have to plan a trip to South America too. We loved Africa but other than South Africa, we wouldn’t want to spend an extended amount of time there.

General Thoughts

I guess we realized somewhere along the way that in the future we don’t need to impose time limits on ourselves, we just need to make sure we plan around coming back to the US frequently to see the parents.

Most people have a home and they think about the places they want to go on vacation. But, we don’t think about life like that anymore for a bunch of reasons:

  • Retired – we are retired and we can go anywhere at any time.
  • Homeless – we don’t have a home, so instead, we think of places as those to visit and those that would suit us for a longer-term stay, like a month or two.
  • Vacations – we don’t go on vacation anymore.

Trip Highlights

People frequently ask us about the highlights of our trip. I know I put a list in the 4 Months on the Road article but I’ll list my highlights here again:

What I’ll do Differently Going Forward

  • No more back to back tours with only a week or less in between. There were plenty of times we felt like we didn’t have enough of a break between our super-busy tours.
  • Living in hotels has changed our view of acceptable accommodations, budget travel won’t suit us most of the time. 
  • We need a longer, more home-like stay somewhere during every six month period.
  • We think of places in two different categories, places to stay for a while and places we want to visit. Some of the latter might get moved to the former.

In a future article, we’ll tell you what we have planned for next year.

Mike‘s Thoughts

Wanna See More

I feel like we just scratched the surface in Great Britain and Japan. We were in each country for 2 weeks, but there were many places we didn’t get to. With numerous sights to see and history to discover, I hope to find my way to each country again in the near future. Obviously, we have unfinished business in Southern Africa and South America. Those are easy targets going forward.

Australia beyond Sydney and Melbourne also appeals, especially a stop in wine country.

Wanna Go Back

Thailand had a vibe we really enjoyed and was an inexpensive place to park ourselves, so it will be on the itinerary again, too. While nearby, Malaysia will also be in play, we are curious about life there. I’d also like to do some trekking in Nepal, the people were friendly and the scenery was stunning. I had the feeling there was more to see in Jordan, although I wouldn’t make a special trip to go, having seen Petra and Wadi Rum.

Wanna Taste Again

Scotch, of course. One never tires of a wee dram. The wine in South Africa was cheap and good, so that is an easy pick. Food in Japan was intriguing, tasty and precisely made. Thai food was cheap, fast and good, an uncommon trifecta. In-country Indian food can be amazing, I’m contemplating a return to execute a multi-city food tour. 

Had Enough

Egyptian antiquities are great, but the smoke and graft proved to be quite a challenge. There didn’t seem to be much more to Laos and Cambodia. Perhaps we would do a few days if we are nearby in Thailand. Vietnam is a question, I feel there is more there, but the propaganda can be a little difficult to stomach.

Do Differently

Overall, we will be taking a slower pace. Spending more time in a given place will allow a greater understanding and appreciation for it without having to drive ourselves into the ground to cover it all.

I hope to find more of the hidden gems along the way.

I’m interested in exploring stopover possibilities. There are several airlines that allow free stopovers while transiting through their hubs. Some will even provide a room for an overnight, gratis. In particular, Iceland, Ireland, and Portugal look like good targets.

We will be working harder on getting acceptable lodging. If you have to only put up with an uncomfortable bed or chair until you return home, it is an easier burden to bear. Living out of rental housing for the foreseeable future, comfort while traveling has become more important for us. The same goes for noise, bad WiFi or weak AC.

Final Thoughts

This truly was the trip of a lifetime for us. Planning it fueled our final push to retirement and leaving California. As hoped, it has stoked an even greater desire to see the world and show us a few places are beyond reach. We would love you to keep following along as we boldly go…


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1 comment

  1. Mike and Diana, fantastic summary and insights one only gets from having done it. Appreciate you sharing your experiences, I think we have much in common. Mark and I are in Dolomites skiing this week and we plan to spend 3 months skiing in Europe, thinking in 3 years is a realistic target. The Sella Ronda circuit is amazing and I highly recommend it – summer and winter – in your upcoming year.

    If you plan a food tour in India, sign us up.

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