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Lessons from 1000 Days of Travel

1000 days of travel

We hit this milestone – 1000 days of travel – actually today it is in fact 1226.

Rather than write about all the amazing destinations and experiences we have had (I did that already!), I have been reflecting on how this has changed me and my philosophies on life.

Here are the main things that 1000 days of travel have taught me…

The More Obstacles You Overcome – The Better You Get At It.

We all have obstacles to overcome in life. Every day some old obstacles and some sneaky new ones will try and trip you up.

Travelling brings a constant set of new obstacles, running a business brings a constant set of new obstacles – do them both together and you get used to the fact that you can’t do everything, but you can overcome a lot at the same time.

Overcoming obstacles becomes second nature – the more you overcome, the better you get at overcoming them. The more problems you solve, the better you get at problem solving.

The World is Huge

Travelling through a continent by land/sea is an exquisite experience. You feel the vastness of the planet.

Ecuadorian Highlands

We underestimated how long it would take to “do” South America – South America is huge! And we spent so long in Central America that South America seemed even, huger!

Random Fact: The continents below the Equator on traditional maps are proportionally much larger than they appear. For example – this is the real size of Africa. I didn’t know that!

Busing/hiking/hitching/sailing/riding from place to place and country to country is something I have never really done before, other than the odd road trip.

I enjoy feeling very small in the scheme of things – there is so much to explore, even if you travel your whole life, you would never run out of new things to experience and places to fall in love with.

Long Term Travel is Easier Than You Imagine

What I have learned from 1000 days of travel is that your needs for long term travel are not much different to your needs when being in one place.

You need to have money coming in. You need to sleep somewhere. You need to eat. You need to feel safe. You need love. You need internet and salty snacks.

If you are a little bit clever (and persistent, hardworking & lucky) you can create a laptop lifestyle or location freedom and voila! The rest is the easy bit.

Digital Nomad

People sleep, eat and go online in EVERY country! People have kids in every country… even babies! There are nice people in every country. There are banks! There is no reason why you can’t live amazingly well in other countries too. Even with your kids/tastes/special needs etc.

Sure, you may not easily find your organic chia seeds, bra size or specific contact lenses but that is what internet shopping is for. For the most part, it is surprisingly easy to find what you need in the majority of countries you travel to.

The world is safer than you are lead to believe.

I had a natural fear (sense of impending doom) about ditching my safe life in safe Australia.

We have been given warnings about travel in Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, parts of Asia, inner city Dublin, Barcelona, the Middle East, Africa and USA.Riot Squad in Mexico City

We are conditioned to believe that there is something terrible waiting for us around every corner. We are afraid of what we don’t know and bad news travels fast. The media is a multi billion dollar industry and we are spoon fed bad news.

The reality is that some city’s/streets have higher crime than others. Some have much higher than others. In those places, keep an eye on your stuff and catch a taxi instead of walking at night. If you don’t like the feel of a place, move on to where you feel more comfortable. Think before you get blind drunk!

You may get robbed/hit by a car/ fall down a pothole/ food poisoning/ drowned/ shot/ ripped off in any country.

Any country.

If you use your common sense and look out for yourself you will avoid most of these things, most of the time, regardless of where you are in the world.

Stuff slows you down

I am a natural hoarder. I look after the things I buy/acquire. I keep things for a rainy day. Which means I had a house full of stuff, that over the years had travelled with me from Hong Kong to Palmerston North, to Wellington to Melbourne to Sydney.

My boxes of stuff was my “life”, awesome things I have collected, my memories, blah blah blah and I was sooo attached to it all!

It was painful and stressful to sell/give/throw it all away. Each thing had sentimental value or perceived monetary value – or both.

But here is the thing… when I am chilling on the beach in Thailand I don’t think about it. When I am hiking in the Andes I don’t think about it. When I am scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands I never find myself thinking about it.

The only time I think of my stuff now is when I am writing posts about how unimportant it is in the scheme of things!

Less stuff more freedom

Less Stuff = More Freedom

1000 Days of Travel – where to next?

We are undecided – which is one of the beautiful things about being mobile. We stay until we want to leave – and then we leave. My sense of freedom is expanded. If you want the real story, then you will have to wait until the 2000 days of travel post.

At that point I promise to share it all!

Just keep on paddling

Just Keep Paddling…

If you like it, please share it!


Speak your lovely mind!

  1. The fact that overcoming obstacles becomes second nature is impressive in itself Serena :) Enjoy your next 1000 days :)

  2. I think we are so lucky to live at this point in human history, where the digital nomad lifestyle is possible! :D

    Also – that last shot, is that Phang Nga Bay in Thailand?
    Karyn Jane recently posted..The Lost Book Club #1 – Down The Rabbit Hole by Holly MadisonMy Profile

  3. So interesting to hear your advice, particularly because I dream of doing what you’re doing. I like what you say about long-term travel being easier than you imagine. I think we can always find excuses to not do something we want to do. Also liked the point about it being safer than expected. We are so brainwashed by the news, you come to believe that the world is a terrible place filled with terrible people. Not true at all. Just the lens through which the media portrays the world!

    • It’s quite a hard mindset to shift, it is smart to be smart about safety! But if you let it stop you altogether you are going to have a small life :)
      Travelling in developing countries is just plain cheaper than living in Australasia, Europe or USA and life is easy :)

  4. I like the impressive list of activities you offset ‘stuff’ with. It is not easy staying ‘light’ – as a matter of fact, for me it is a permanent struggle but it is so much better not to own too much stuff as long as you have enough money to eat and sleep and travel. I look forward to reading about your next 1000 days and hope you will continue to have wonder full experiences.

    • We think we struggle with staying light too! I recently started making jewellery and now have 6 kilos of semi precious stones in my luggage – I was not happy when I was overweight on the last flight haha!

  5. I think travel is THE best way to learn how resilient we are, to stretch out of our comfort zones every day, to rely totally on ourselves. The biggest lessons come through travel, it changes us for the better and helps us accept, love, and live in a much deeper way. Good on you Serena and Johnny for showing us the way! xx
    Paula Johnson recently posted..Healing Trauma and Changing Lives in JordanMy Profile

  6. That is all awesome Serena. You are so inspiring. Love it all! x Andrea

  7. Totally agree travelling long term is life changing
    We travelled through South America for a year .. Wait for it.. 20 years ago! So glad we did it
    It was amazing
    We valued our freedom

    Hummm rethinking what next now

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