(actually written on 21 January 2010, post-trip….but I’ve dated it to appear at the top of the blog forever-n-ever….and then reinstated it in its proper chronological home as we kept pilgrim-ing)
When we set out we had *a long way to go*.
In particular, a pilgrimage from Singapore to London and beyond – overland all the way. The beyond bit was because we had time to fill, but no definite plans. As it turned out, we did not get to London, but we did get a lot further – as far north as Lindisfarne, as far south as Greece and as far east as Turkey.
And we did manage to go overland all the way – in trains, busses, tuktuks, elephants, bicycles, boats, motorhomes, taxis, oxcart, trams, tow trucks, motorbikes, horses, and on foot. We spent 568 hours in long haul travel in vehicles not our own (and then what must add up to a few more days in waiting time too!)…plus we covered over 15,000km in the motorhomes we bought (and later resold).
In the 449 days we were away (that’s fourteen months, three weeks and two days) we slept in 158 different places, passing through 33 different countries – staying anything from a day (and although you can drive the entire length of Serbia in one long day, we would NOT say we’ve really been there!) through to six weeks, occasionally stopping three weeks in one town.
newzealand australia singapore malaysia thailand laos
(thailand) cambodia vietnam china hongkong (china) mongolia
russia estonia latvia lithuania poland germany austria switzerland (germany) thenetherlands belgium england france italy greece
bulgaria serbia hungary slovakia czechrepublic (germany) (poland)
(czech) (hungary) (bulgaria) romania turkey
unitedarabemirates (australia) (newzealand)
We experienced temperature extremes from well-below-zero to mid-forties; that is freezing cold to blazingly hot.
We visited castles, cathedrals, temples, museums and ruins.
We climbed mountains, rode bicycles and horses, and took long walks.
We ate everything we were offered, the least favourites being sheeps’ tail soup in Mongolia and green Mekong river sludge in Laos.
We filled forty-three journals.
We repaired our shoes more times than we can count.
And that’s about how many photos we took, too.
We stayed with people, who live in bamboo huts with pigs under the raised floor, felt gers without running water, highrise apartments in cities…and we visited people, who live on the rubbish dump, in orphanages, in old stone buildings that have been standing for hundreds of years.
We were awed by the scenery, enveloped in the history, and had our hearts touched by the people we met.
We thank those who have virtually travelled with us on this journey for the encouragement they have given. We thank those, who, sacrificially in many cases, opened their homes and lives to us. And we invite anyone who happens across this spot in cyberspace to take a wander with us – many of the places we went were timeless; a century from now they will still be the same, they will not date, or not quickly anyway.
Maybe you won’t make it to all the places we did – there are 634 posts on this blog, not to mention a fair few extra pages as well. There are over one and a half thousand comments (no wonder we didn’t end up replying to them all!) from some of the more than 26,000 people who have visited (over 185,000 hits to date).
We went a long way, but the adventure of our lives-in-the-future is not over and we still have a long way to go. We will always be pilgrims.
You can find us writing now at have pinny, will cook,
and Jgirl15 is launching a new blog for children,
stemming from her own artistic passions and adventures
and inspired by the world-creativity we have experienced.
~ made by a child ~
One last word:
We were privileged to spend time with the folks at Big Brother Mouse in Luang Prabang. If you get the opportunity to go there, you will not be disappointed.
If you go nowhere else on this blog, please take a look at this post.
As suggested by a reader, we set up a paypal account to collect donations,
but we are having trouble linking it to the blog,
so our ongoing fundraising efforts are
going to remain localised for now.
Now I’m off to do the very last blog-job – turn the order of posts around so we can read chronologically as we revist our trip over the next year! (I’m ignoring the enormous job of editting every post in order to be able to print a hard copy for the children to have for posterity)