Tag Archives: Round-the-World

10 items I cannot travel without

Having been on the road now for over 4 months there are items which I have used all the time and inevitably items which I admit I could have left behind.

I will not count my winter gear into this as I cannot not yet know the extent of what will be used until I cross down to South America, so for the time being this applies to hot and warm climates.

Top 10 items in no particular order:

  1. STERIpen – This compact UV device allows you to quickly sterilise water of up to 1l at a time, in essence making any tap water safe drinking water. Despite the initial cost for the device this has more than paid for itself as we easily get through 4-5l per day.
  2. Sarong – I know everyone says how great it is to pack one but after these few months I can’t stress it enough. It has acted as a dress, as a skirt, as a beach towel, for creating shade and as a light blanket. Am sure I will discover more uses as I continue on my travels.
  3. Spork – It is amazing the amount of times you will need a spoon or a knife or a fork when you are self catering, even more so when you are self catering on the road! This lightweight all in one is perfect for ensuring you have all your utensils to hand.
  4. Packing cubes – This is the first trip I have used them and it has made my life so much easier that I will never go anywhere without them! I use Eagle Creek cubes and have all my clothes split out between 4 medium cubes, this makes finding items easy and helps me to re-pack my backpack in minutes – definitely recommended.
  5. Swiss Army Knife – Similarly to the Spork the Swiss Army Knife allows you to have everything you need to hand, depending on the model you select you get different items such as tin opener, corkscrew, scissors, saws etc.
  6. Sunglasses – Probably obvious but I have used these daily and would probably be blind by now without a pair!
  7. Flip-flops – I did not actually bring a pair with me and only bought some when my KEEN sandals were stolen and I was waiting for a replacement. However, I have to say that for the space they take up they are definitely worth packing as they allow your feet to breathe.
  8. Camera – You just can’t go on holiday or travelling without one! I admit I would love to have a digital SLR with me but I didn’t want the worry of a new expensive camera on my head every time I took it somewhere. Do I regret it? Occasionally, when precision action shots are needed but on the whole not.
  9. Sleeping bag – This was one of the items we weren’t sure about and nearly left behind, but I have to say that a lightweight sleeping is well worth the space. So far it has been used extensively on the buses through Mexico as they are freezing cold, as a pillow in hostels and even needed as an extra blanket when we have been on higher grounds. I can also see this being used even more once we hit colder climates.
  10. Wind-up torch – We bought 2 small eco handheld wind-up torches to take with us. Although not as powerful as the likes of Petzl head torches they have proven effective and we never need to worry about the batteries running out.

What are your top 10 travel items? Have you discovered any new essential gear you will take with you on future trips?

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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Decision time

So we’ve been doing the maths behind our travels and as it stands it will end up taking us 5 months to complete our tour of Central America, that’s nearly 2 months longer than estimated.

This in itself is not a bad thing, however, we have a 12 month round-the-world (rtw) ticket which expires on 21st February 2013.

Why is this a problem you may ask? Well if we just had South America left to see then it might not be, but we have paid to get us all the way round to New Zealand and then onto Fiji (one place I do not want to miss), continuing to Australia, Bali, Singapore and then back to the UK.

As it currently stands we would only have 5-6 months in which to see South America, and after being reminded of its enormous size by a world atlas I am left wondering just how we will accomplish it.

The obvious thing to do is to streamline our onwards journey to enable us to see South America and I could live with skipping Singapore and Australia, partly because they were free stop-overs anyway, but I cannot justify losing a flight to New Zealand as that is serious air travel from Chile, our final stop in South America.

Plus, let’s not forget the very reason we are going to New Zealand is to possibly emigrate there, so not taking that flight by mid January is not really an option.

Obviously funds also play a large part in our decision-making and so far we have done really well in terms of expenses versus budget, so if our trend continues we could afford to extend our travels, but do we really want to miss out on our pre-paid flights?

So what do we do?

We have decided that in the worse case scenario we will use Singapore and Australia as stop-overs and stay only 4-5 days in Fiji and Bali, this in itself will cut down our onward travel by over a month.

Next we will try to claw back a few days for each country as we go. If we can get 3-4 days back per country over the course of the next 5 months we might get 4-5 weeks back for our travels outside Latin America.

This will obviously mean taking a few extra flights than we had planned for but I think that it will still work out cheaper than having to buy a new ticket to New Zealand.

These options should then just about put us back on track. Obviously this will rely on us sticking to the new schedule and not getting ill, or finding anything new to see along the way and everything working out just as we plan…


Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Learning to Travel

How do you go from living a 9-5, Monday – Friday life to travelling, and more importantly to actually embracing the experience?

As we spend our first “chill out” week in Caye Caulker, Belize, I am starting to wonder how and when does the brain fully take in the experience of travel?

We are now in our second country and second month of travel and yet I feel I am almost going through the motions of certain things. Don’t get me wrong, it has definitely dawned on me that this is long-term and I am not missing my “old” life one bit, in fact, part of me has already moved on to the possibility of extending our travels, if we can penny pinch along the way.

However, I can’t help feeling that a certain aspect to our travels is missing, something I can’t quite put my finger on. Is it the fact that we are renting a place and the daily chores of cooking, etc, is far too familiar to me? Or is it something else?

Before we embarked I had had thoughts of travelling and one day having an epiphany moment of “oh my god, I am travelling the world” and that with it, something more would follow. Yet I have not had this moment, instead I have felt a certain detachment in some respects, almost as if the concept of what I am doing does not actually astound me. This leaves me thinking is it because I have already travelled so much in the past?

I have been privileged in the fact that I had already notched up a fair few countries under my belt prior to this adventure, so are my expectations higher because of it? Is it simply a case of “yeah, I’ve already seen something like it,” or is it maybe because everywhere I turn, every site I visit is filled with coach loads of tours each one taking away a little bit of the mysticism and magic from it, leaving me feeling like I am just another $ to be made?

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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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