In every way, 2011 was an amazing year. Jamie Talbot and I travelled the world, visited 15 countries, and met countless inspiring people. We spent time with our families and friends in Australia and England, and made new friends everywhere else. Eight months on the road was revitalising yet tiring, but we’ll never forget the opportunity we had to take the such a huge chunk of time off work, pack up our lives and travel, free of worry, debt and responsibility. The trip brought us even closer together, too – so we got married at the end of it! And now, we start 2012 with a new home in San Francisco – overjoyed at what 2011 brought us and excited to see what’s ahead in 2012. Here are my favourite memories from the year on the road.
Before anyone mentions it, the United Kingdom is definitely not my home. But it feels like it now, as the ‘home base’ for a month in the middle of our seven month trip. It is to be a welcome break spent with family and friends, in somewhat familiar surroundings, and a chance to recharge the batteries before we set off for Spain, South America and North America in June.
We started our time in London, after a particular heinous experience through immigration at Heathrow. The unexpected and unwanted barrage of personal questions left me frazzled and thirsty, so we set off for a proper pub lunch in Holland Park, where we were staying with friends for six nights. By the time we got there, there was only enough time for a few pints of beer, some potato wedges and of course, my first decent chocolate brownie in months. Delish!
During the time in London we did a bit of the tourist-y stuff, but I had been there before, so it was mostly limited to a bit of shopping, a spot of pub-hopping, and catching up with Monkey’s friends. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I made the typical purchases for a foreigner – all in H&M, Marks and Spencer, Top Shop and Zara – but with the aussie dollar performing so well the purchases were all much cheaper than expected. An opportunity to buy more, if you ask me.