As we counted our way down into 2016 last January, Marco and I realized that the time was finally here! The moment when three years of planning (well, mostly saving money) for this trip was finally coming to an end and the journey we had been talking about (no, dreaming about!) was starting. As January and February rolled in we started to get rid of all the things we had managed to accumulate since we moved in together. We sold all of our furniture, most of our clothes (of course, for those of you who know me, I held tight to most of mine) and packed the rest of the important things into 15 boxes which we sent off for storage at our parent's house. Getting rid of our possessions seemed so easy. It was like that spring cleaning we all go through after winter ends. On the contrary, what wasn't so easy was quitting our day jobs. I had it easier. As a jewelry designer and the owner of a small jewelry business, I had figured out a way to keep the business running while we began our journey around the world, by hiring a great team member and good friend (thanks Sarah G.) to take it over. Although I still had to quit my day job as a visual merchandiser at Madewell, which was a bit terrifying, Marco had it a bit worse. As a producer for the last 8 years, quitting a steady job that paid well took a lot of gusto. But just like ripping off a band-aid, he left behind the world of advertising, as we waved goodbye to our "normal" lives. On March 16, 2016, we turned in our apartment keys, grabbed our 44L backpacks, and began our journey.
Nine months, 4 continents, and 15 countries later, we welcome 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand! We sure have had many interesting experiences and fun adventures since that day in March, but here are some random/favorite moments, of 2016 to close out the year:
- Getting caught in a sand storm in White Sands National Park, New Mexico, and thinking we would be buried alive in gypsum. Instead, we obviously survived and got to spend the most romantic (although sandy) night all alone amongst the stars and moon.
- Marco accidentally breaking a gigantic glass of gin and tonic by squeezing it with his bare hands, all the while claiming that the glass was made of plastic in Santona, Spain, and miraculously just walking away with less pride rather than a trip to the hospital.
- Riding a camel for the first time in our lives in the freaking Sahara Desert, and managing not to throw up.
- Carrying a tray of uncooked anchovies to the baker through the busy Marrakech souq because our cooking class had no ovens.
- Feeling like a celebrity in India, taking awkward photos with entire Indian families who wanted to claim that they know a foreigner.
- Watching Indian TV and secretly missing the jingles from the advertisements that would repetitively play in your head after watching them.
- Getting to star in our own version of Alfred Hitchcock's, "Birds" in the step wells of Jodhpur, India, when two birds had it out for us, as we tried to snap photos of the ancient wells and they kept clawing us in the head.
- Reliving childhood in Tokyo, getting to play video games and collecting miniature toys from vending machines.
- Learning how to surf! And not only that, but learning in Indonesia dude!!
- Attending an Indonesian wedding in Gerupuk, Indonesia.
- Having your first ever MRI in a foreign country and the tech that instructs you barely speaks any English (wasn't as funny at first, but definitely is now).
- Learning so much about rice in Vietnam, that we could seriously start our own rice farm, and probably fail, but you get the point.
- Was invited inside a stranger's house to drink rice wine with fermented bee's (yum) in a small village in Central Vietnam.
- Riding on the back of motorcycles on the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail from Hoi An to Dalat.
- Overdosing on the amount of fresh tropical fruit readily available to us in SE Asia.
- Meeting up with old friends in Greece, Japan, Indonesia, and Cambodia.
- Learning to cross the street like a boss in Hanoi, Vietnam. If you've been to Vietnam, you know what we are talking about.
- Falling off our motorbike in Kampot, Cambodia, onto wet mud and Stefani crying like a little girl because she would now have to wash her jeans (also not as funny at first, but really funny now especially since the mud stain does not come off).
- Buying an entire grilled chicken leg on the side of the street, as a snack to eat on the train ride to Phnom Phen, Cambodia.
- Getting paid to travel to South Korea and Hawaii for United Airlines. Two places that were not on our itinerary but glad that we got to visit!
- Your entire family getting massaged by women prisoners in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the Christmas holidays.
- Making our own coconut oil in Chiang Mai, Thailand! Can you believe that? A moment I was very proud of and a great ending to the year.
Although 2016 was a bit rough for the world, with several issues that have affected all of us regardless where we come from, we are very thankful to witness people who are filled with kindness from every town, city, and country we have visited. And most of all we are very thankful we get to share our adventures with our new followers and friends on Instagram and Facebook. Thank you for supporting us in this.
As 2017 begins, we have 4 months left on our journey, and we are very excited to see where it takes us!