We still can’t really believe we are writing this, but Ted’s Great Adventure has come to an end. For now at least. After one and a half years, we were torn between happiness and sadness as we left our cosy AirBnB in Christchurch and headed for the airport. Unlike we had planned in the past, this flight took us west, not east. After three long flights with stops in Sydney and Doha we landed back in Edinburgh on the 30th October. No one was expecting us, so we had the best opportunity to surprise our family and spend some time together.
As we discovered, any long term travel is a huge adventure, both mentally and physically. You never quite know what will happen next. We underestimated so many things and were pleasantly surprised by others. We aren’t quite sure how we managed to spend 18 months almost entirely together. The only time we went our separate ways was when Zoë went to more kickboxing (after Matthias got banned) and when Matthias had to go to the dentist. Both in happiness and sorrow we (were) stuck together, but we are returning with even more friends than we started with; hopefully no one disowns us for not telling them we were coming home.
We think it is impossible to travel for so long and not feel changed in some way. As always, change can be empowering, but also stressful. We quickly evolved our own style of travelling which came to represent a low impact local lifestyle. We were horrified by piles of rubbish, saddened by burning plastics, humbled by hospitality and blown away by the beauty of people and our planet. We have definitely learned the true meaning of hospitality; both in giving and receiving. We feel like we are pretty good guests, but will definitely be practicing being generous hosts; you are welcome to come and visit us to find out.
So how does our journey look in numbers? Well, in total we have been on the road for 543 days. Wow! Really? It definitely did not feel that long to us. We haven’t tallied up every metre, but to reach our furthest point approximately 19,000 km from home and importantly to return home, we have been on:
- 22 planes
- 30 trains (incl. 1 shinkansen)
- 10 boat rides
- 92 long distance buses and minivans.
- 4 hitchhiking rides in Japan
- 1 automated people mover in Beijing
- 1 Haglund in the international antarctic centre
Alongside these major journeys, come all the taxis, tuk-tuks songkrans, trams, metros, airport shuttles, mono rails, local buses and long walks.
People often ask us which country was our favourite. We really can’t pick just one, as they are all so different. Our top two overall contenders are Japan and New Zealand, but there are plenty we would happily visit again. It totally depends on what you are looking for.
We have never once regretted our decision to hit the road, because it has been totally worth it. In fact, we wouldn’t change much at all. It has been our experience from start to finish and as an old German proverb suggests ‘No plan survives the first encounter with the enemy’ (Helmuth von Moltke). Almost nothing we have done has gone to exactly to plan but the things we didn’t plan became highlights. Even in a world swamped by the internet, we found local knowledge was unsurpassable to embark on a great adventure.
Last but not least, we want to thank all of you, our family, friends, followers and readers. Knowing you were reading our posts kept us writing and photographing. We are proud and surprised to have attracted over 75 followers and 5000 views, with Ted’s humble little diary. We hope you all enjoyed following Ted on his adventure.
Best wishes and many thanks to all of you!
Safe travels to travelers and backpackers wherever you are!
We can’t wait to see you soon!
Ted, Zoë and Matthias
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