It’s been over two years since we left for our round the world trip. To say we miss it would be an understatement. We both talk about maybe doing long-term travel again….someday.
During this time while we are stuck at home and don’t know when we will be able to travel again, we’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing. We decided to do a reflection on some of our favourites and least favourites from our round the world trip.
D: By our numbers, it was Georgia even though you could live cheaper somewhere like Vietnam or Thailand.
M: Georgia. Based on my tracking of expenses, Georgia cost us only $80/day each. I think that is really good considering we stayed in fairly nice places, we drank wine almost every day and ate so much food. Georgia has huge value for the money!
D: Bhutan or North Korea. Russia was probably up there as well. France for me was pretty expensive because of all the toll roads.
M: Bhutan. We were only there a short while because we knew it was going to be expensive. Flights were $1,100 round trip per person from Bangkok and then our tour for five days was $1,600 per person.
Favourite Food Overall
D: (With mass sarcasm) That’s a good question Merai! Mongolian mutton. Siberian railway train stops. Yekaterinburg sushi. Egypt during Ramadan.
M: Georgia. Oh how I miss all the khachapuri and fresh bread and meats and eggplant and wine. I feel Georgia almost shouldn’t count because it was so good. My runner ups would be Thailand and Slovenia.
D: Mongolia is up there for me. Georgia and Scotland as well.
M: When I think back to Slovenia it makes me really happy. It reminded me a lot of Canada.
Most Friendly People
D: Bosnia and Herzegovina had incredibly nice people. When we went there we had a perception that we should be on edge and that changed. It seemed like everywhere we stopped people were friendly and wanting to help us. Vietnam was also refreshing as well. People weren’t pushing anything. There was a guy that came up to sell us a scooter ride and we ended up talking to him for ten minutes. A waiter in a restaurant talked to us just to practice English.
M: Bosnia and Herzegovina is probably the one that stands out the most for me. I was a bit hesitant about going there just because of the history of war, but the people there were amazing. We had such problems with our SIM card and asked random people for help that knew very little English. They really did all they could to help us.
Country to Return To
D: Mongolia. I still feel like there are incredible things to see and do there: the Gobi desert, the Golden Eagle Festival and the reindeer herders.
M: Georgia for some food. Greece for some beach time. Vietnam for some clothes. I’d also like to go back to Spain. I feel like it was really my jam and we didn’t get enough time there.
Country not to Return To
D: North Korea would be the top of my list. Not because of the culture just because I felt anxious the entire time.
M: I thought my top would be Thailand. I really hated every minute we were there, but now I wonder if I didn’t quite give it a fair shake.
Favourite Country Overall
D: I did really like Georgia: the food, the people, the landscape. It would be really fun to explore in winter or summer.
M: If you’re not thinking about going to Georgia yet based on our above comments, you should! I want to go back just for the khachapuri, but everything was amazing there. I felt safe walking in the streets alone. Everyone was friendly. The food, scenery and wine were spectacular. The only bad thing about it for me was Batumi, but the food and wine were still soooo good there.
D: Edinburgh. I wish we had another day there to explore.
M: Seville. I’d really like to go back and spend some more time there. I really liked the atmosphere of the city.
Favourite Historic Site
D: For the significance of my family history, it was Beaumont-Hamel.
M: Pyramids of Giza. They were one site that I had built up so much in my head and they didn’t disappoint.
Favourite Alternative Activity
D: Black hole kayaking in Slovenia.
M: Horseback riding in the Mongolian steppes.
D: The nude beach in Crete. The water was so clear with lots of cool fishies.
M: Well most people know we like our nude beaches now. Mine was the one we went to on Crete that was near a nudist resort.
D: The hike to the castle in Kotor. On the hike down there was a 15th century village at the back which was really cool.
M: Walking around the Fairy Glen on Isle of Skye was very spiritual for me.
Favourite Walking Tour
M: Sarajevo was hands down the best free walking tour of my life. The tour guide was so articulate and his story was so personal that you truly got a sense of the city’s history.
Favourite Multi-Day Tour
D: Egypt because the group we had was so much fun and we connected with everyone. And its Egypt. Mongolia because of meeting the nomads and horseback riding. Everyone in our group was liked minded and adventurous.
M: Egypt was probably my favourite because of all the history.
Iconic Site That Lived Up to the Hype
D: Pyramids of Giza. Meteora.
M: Pyramids of Giza. Olympus. Hoi An.
Iconic Site That Didn’t Live Up to the Hype
D: Stonehenge. Angkor Wat.
M: Downton Abbey because we didn’t go to the right place. Athens as well. It was really just the acropolis that was nice. The rest of the city wasn’t that great.
Favourite Food Item
D: Burek (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
M: Khachapuri (Georgia)
D: Slovenian wine
M: Georgian wine
D: Ottoman architecture that we saw in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
M: Spain. I would love to see more of it.
Favourite Live Event
D: Mass Games in North Korea.
M: Georgian dancing.
Favourite Road trip
D: Driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor. Bombing around Mongolia was fun too.
M: Wales and Scotland were nice.
Favourite Rental Car
D: UAZ Patriot that we drove in Mongolia. I’ll never get the chance to drive a Russian built car again.
M: The i10 had the worst turning radius. It made me laugh how many ten points turns we had to do. We had one in the UK and one in Crete.
Favourite Mode of Transportation
D: Rental car.
M: Rental car because it gave us flexibility and the ability to get out of the cities.
Favourite Clothing Item
D: One of my t-shirts: Gaslight Anthem or Patagonia. The Patagonia one still is in good shape after wearing it every second day for a year.
M: Black leggings. Wore them down to pieces. I threw them out once we got back to Canada.
Favourite Souvenir Purchase
D: Lady Buddha statue. Vladimir Putin mug.
M: I really didn’t buy any souvenirs. They were all Danny.
Favourite Airbnb Host
D: Marta in Slovenia.
M: I mean Marta brought us random baked goods.
D: Dog on the beach in Sri Lanka.
M: Cat that brought us the rat in Crete.
D: In Sri Lanka where Merai almost drowned me.
M: It was in a mall. I think we were in Spain. I was upset because I wanted to look at clothes, but Danny didn’t. Then Danny wanted to go into a Lego store and I got upset. We may have gotten into a bit of a yelling match in the middle of the mall.
Food Item Most Missed
D: My mom’s cookies.
M: Kraft Dinner? Mmm maybe my mom’s ribs or chocolate chip cookies. Oh and really good chips.
Favourite Lesson Learned
D: I learned to be more empathetic and not to judge people as much as I may have in the past.
M: I learned the importance of vulnerable communication in a relationship. Danny and I had to learn to resolve our differences quicker because we were stuck together for so long.
D: I can’t think of one. We were lucky to never even have lost our luggage. Not having our passports in Greece could have gone really wrong, but it didn’t.
M: We left Greece right before the forest fires started there. Staying in Tangiers also made me feel uncomfortable. Nothing was close to happening, but it felt super sketchy.
D: Taxi driver in Moscow that overcharged us.
M: Egyptian cab driver that tried to say the cost he gave was per person.
D: I gained an appreciation for the things that matter most in life. Less of a focus on the materialistic things.
M: Conflicts in the world trace back to power/money being valued over humanity.
It was really nice to think back over such an amazing time in our lives. Did we miss any questions that you think we should answer? What are some of your favourite and least favourite things about travel?