We have decided to stop travelling and return to New Zealand. Sorry to the people who recently signed up to our newsletter – there won’t be any more!
As of this writing, we have now been back in Wellington for almost two weeks. Nothing much has changed, which is about what we were expecting. Most people we’ve spoken to have only had a fleeting interest in our trip, and I don’t blame them. It’s difficult to feign interest in somebody else’s adventure unless you’ve shared a similar experience. Perhaps people are worried that any question they ask will be met with an hour of tales and tangents. And they would be correct.
Life invariably goes on. People have their own worlds in which they live, and in this age of snappy, shocking information delivered straight to your phone screen, there doesn’t seem to be a place for long, slow yarns. People have very short attention spans. I include myself in that category. I have this nagging feeling when I’m actually telling one of our numerous tales that the listener thinks I’m waffling or bragging, which often makes me trail off or wrap it up. I’m also very much aware that I’m not a particularly good story teller. Some people can speak about taking a trip down to the shop to get some bread and make it an interesting tale. I can barely hold somebody’s attention despite having an arsenal of almost unbelievable experiences. If I hadn’t decided to write this blog, the whole trip would already be starting to seem like a long, unreal dream.
The intention of this blog was never to sell ads, offer half-assed advice, or promote ourselves as travel gurus. I didn’t trawl around the web trying to brighten our name in the limitless constellation of the travel advice blogosphere, or write guest posts or top ten lists. Here, at the end, the result was very much what I expected. The blog did enough of the right things to show up in specific Google results, and now there around 70 people viewing the site per day – a minuscule amount in the world of the internet, but still more people than I actually imagined visiting.
In spite of this not being a particularly popular blog, it has succeeded beautifully based on my initial goal for it. Caroline and I can now read back on the old posts and remember many hundreds of little details that would have otherwise been forgotten. Case in point, I just clicked the ‘random post’ button in the sidebar (that’s the banana with question marks) and was reminded of a tiny nun who lured us into a tomb and sprayed perfume in our eyes. We’ve had so many peculiar experiences, that something as small as a nun spraying perfume at us would have been completely forgotten had I not written it down. If there is one lesson I can offer you, happy reader, it’s this: if something particularly interesting happens to you, write it down with as much detail as possible. If you’re anything like me, you will forget the details as time shuffles forwards.
So where are we?
Caroline, through an official application process and a Skype interview at a shabby hotel in South Korea, successfully reapplied for her old job at NIWA. She is very happy to be returning to her friends, the smelly sponge goo, the voyages out to sea, and the routine which we both surprisingly missed.
I’m going back to school after – dear god – ten years in the work force and 2.5 years travelling through Asia. Whether or not my brain is still able to function for three years of study is a matter of debate. I’ll be taking a Bachelor of Communication majoring in Journalism. Investigative writing wasn’t really something I’d considered before travelling, but if anything, creating this blog has fuelled my thirst for hunting down interesting fact-nuggets and offering them up in (hopefully) less boring passages than I initially found them as. I’m very much aware that my writing needs work, so the upcoming years of study will helpfully hone those skills.
Right. I think it’s time to sum up and then be done with this blog for good. It all boils down to this: I couldn’t have done it without Caroline. Her uncanny ability to pick up languages meant we could sit down at tiny, backwater stalls and still eat well. She made fake plane tickets to ensure we could get annoying visas while I wasted time on the internet. In the physically challenging times she adopted the determined look of an army general who’s seen it all, and encouraged me onward. She lay in the damp tent next to me as Japanese typhoons pummelled us, thoroughly disliking it but not complaining and even trying to find the bright side. I know for sure that I couldn’t have lasted as long, or seen as many places, or spoken to so many people, without Caroline. So thanks, Shrew. I love you.
This is also the only post that Caroline won’t be proofreading first. Ha!
Cheers all. See you in Wellington?
Taipei’s art scene
Cycling through Fujian Province
The very odd Cao Dai religion
Motorcycling into the wrong jungle
Inside the world’s largest reclining Buddha
Monks on a bus (and us)
Ten days of no eye contact
The fifth dimension
Far too many leeches
Little jungle people
20 Replies to “The End”
I think you’re selling yourself a bit short. You’re a marvellous story teller and I’ve throughouly enjoyed your blog over the last couple of years. From the entertaining posts, great photography, and your seemingly never-ending stamina, it has been quite an adventure. And while I’m just some random guy on the internet, I’m very happy that you decided to document your travels in this public manner and allowed me to travel vicariously with you. This is/was a GREAT blog and you should be proud of your work.
Wow – thanks so much Eric. It’s very nice to hear this from an internet stranger such as yourself. When I said I was a poor story teller, I was referring to the verbal side of the coin. Writing about things feels a bit more comfortable. Writing also provides the luxury of proof reading and a delete button! I am proud of the blog, no doubt about it. Perhaps the tone of this post is a reflection of the impending and inevitable gloom that follows an exciting holiday.
I would be greatly surprised to learn that this was anything more than a ‘temporary’ hiatus…for you. You’ll finish your course (graduating in 2020?) and then want to be off travelling again no doubt….I hope that you will consider continuing with either this or another blog….at that point…The demands of my life as an international hobo (…oh…sorry! We are called ‘expatriate English Teachers’, aren’t we?)…has greatly restricted the occasions that I have had to read your postings. I look forward to making amends for that oversight. Thank you for the time you have put into the blog.
Hi Malcolm. Yep, 2020 (yikes!) is the likely end date for my studies. You’re totally right – I (we) will definitely want to travel again. No doubt about it. We didn’t even get to India, which in my head is just an explosion of everything the human race has to offer. Perhaps you’re right in thinking this will just be a hiatus for the blog. I’m not getting rid of the domain…
Dave, the blog was great, and I read every post. Can’t wait to catch up in Welly. You’ll be planning the next one in no time…don’t let the domain expire 😉
Saruman! Looking forward to seeing your beautiful mug again. I’m doing my basic handling skills test this Saturday…
You did well, you set out for what you wanted to both do and you did it!
And now you can enjoy looking over all your posts/blogs and reminisce.
(That’s why I took a zillion photos and videos of our trip)
We forget some details over time when we are onto the next thing and the blogs and photos and videos- you can look back and know it makes it all worth it-
You both take great photos and you had better be writing for some travel place or similar sometime soon and get paid for it. …. Maybe UK with me haha
Thanks sis! It’s been an adventure, for sure. Who knows what we’ll be doing in four years (apart from hearing nonstop about the next US election)?
I think your clock wrong
Yeah, but what is time?
Congratulations on the end of this part of your journey and the beginning of the next. I loved following your travels, just as I loved hosting you two. I wrote a reference on the Warm Showers List today for a young German couple who stayed with me for four days. I said that about twice a year I host people that I enjoyed so much that I miss them intensely when they are gone. I wonder how their travels are, and wish we could have good conversations in my apartment again. Before Anna and Lukas, you two were the last ones that really hit my heart. I love you two and wish you the best and hope we meet again!
Nancy, we miss you too! New Zealand really isn’t that far from China when you think about it, so feel free to pop in any time.
I opened my RSS reader, after putting my little girls to bed, just before I do the dishes – this is my nightly ritual. Tonight was one of the good nights, among the usual list of articles, the Egg Banana appeared and I whispered to myself ‘yessss’, I’ll read all of the other items and save it for last so that I can savour it.
This has been the same since you were in Vietnam. I’ve read every single word, and I’ve mentioned it elsewhere – there’s something very good about the way you’ve documented these adventures. Something so different from the dreaded industry travel bloggers, always interesting, always humorous, somehow soothing…and always leaving me with a stomach knotted with envy – every time you announced where to next I thought ‘but that’s exactly where I desperately want to go and that’s exactly how I’d like to do it!’ Then I’d stand up and ponder your stories while i did the dishes.
I’ll miss your posts, they’ve been a highlight of the things I read on the internet, and elsewhere.
Wow… thanks so much. That’s very touching. It’s kind of crazy for me to think that this blog has been so enthusiastically read by somebody I’ve never actually met. I’m really happy that you’ve enjoyed it, and also relieved that I won’t be the cause of your stomach knots any more. Back to the dishes with you.
i’ll miss your stories, looking forward for your new blog, i am sure there will be stories in your new “adventures”
Thanks QQ66. Are you, per chance, a robot?
We only just found your blog recently but feel like we’re super similar to you two – a kiwi couple, one half of Asian descent, I write a blog in a similar (though not as funny) vein to you and my boyfriend proofreads. We even have Cactus packs. In the last couple of months you have basically gone to a whole lot of places that we’re about to go on our trip which is very helpful and I’ve really enjoyed the bits I’ve read so far of your blog. Thank you for the detailed account of applying for Russian visas, we just got ours by posting our passports back to NZ. Good luck for the next stage!
Hi Brittany. Cool to know you’re out there and seeing the world. What is the address for your blog? I’d love to take a look.
Good luck in your new endeavors. You provided a lot of inspiration for my travels. Take care!
Sad to say I just found your blog. Bummer that you’re settling down, but at the least there’s an entire website of content I get to work my way through. Best of luck!