The Big Summary

So after 405 days on the road, our trip is over and we are back in London; adjusting to not living out of a backpack, having a routine and waking up in the same bed every day.

The trip was incredible and we loved every minute of it. We really didn’t want it to end. It’s hard to sum up in words so instead we shall continue our tradition with some lists and photos:

Africa on screen:

Top countries (all lists in chronological order as it’s too hard to rank)

  • Mexico: the food, the colonial towns and Mexico City
  • French Polynesia: a perfect combination of tropical paradise with a French influence
  • Australia: the quiet west coast was beautiful and we loved returning to Sydney
  • Thailand: the spicy cuisine, the green hilly north and the islands are a winning formula
  • Indonesia: not too touristy but with amazing natural wonders, friendly people and orangutans
  • Japan: there’s nowhere else like it with the mix of modern and traditional Asia
  • Myanmar (Burma): Bagan is world-class but everywhere we went was special and the locals were lovely
  • Botswana: our first safari experience with so many elephants and then wild camping in the Okavango Delta
  • Uganda: stunning terraced lakes and the out of this world experience that is gorilla tracking
  • Italy: so many beautiful towns, the Dolomites and a pasta extravaganza

 

Top cities

  • Panama City, Panama – we loved the beautiful colonial old town and spent a few days gazing up at the grand yet crumbling buildings all around us and getting used to life on the road (as it was our first stop):

Ruins, Panama City

  • Mexico City, Mexico – full of exciting neighbourhoods, good cheap food (tacos on every street corner) and things to do, a week flew by and we didn’t want to leave:

Mexico City

  • Yangon, Myanmar – strolling around the ancient crumbling streets full of food carts, fruit vendors and rickshaws it felt like you had gone back in time. And then there was the stunning gold pagoda at the heart of the city:

  • Tokyo, Japan – a crazy combination of modern and traditional with loads of neighbourhoods to explore. And of course loads of crazy food to try:

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  • Cape Town, South Africa – almost like a European city transported to Africa with amazing restaurants, views and the focal point of Table Mountain:

  • Kigali, Rwanda – unlike any other third world capital we visited – clean, calm, orderly and surrounded by green hills. Also supposed to be the safest city in Africa so we were very unlucky to be pick-pocketed!:

  • Venice, Italy – unlike nowhere else on earth and still incredible despite being full of tourists:

 

Top towns and villages

  • San Pedro de Atacama, Chile – our second visit to this Adobe town and it was as amazing as before with unique and stunning landscapes surrounding the town. Getting drunk on Pisco Sours around the fire was a highlight:

  • Tilcara, Argentina – we loved this lively local town surrounded by red rock canyons, giant cacti, multi-hued mountains and ruins. It was here we had the most delicious steak. The intestines given to us to try weren’t so good…:

Tilcara, Argentina

  • San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – our new favourite town! It was gorgeous; colourful cobblestone streets leading to shady plazas and magical looking churches and buildings:

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

  • Ollantayambo, Peru – a beautiful small town which is just the right mix of touristy and traditional overlooked by Incan ruins and an excellent base to explore the Sacred Valley:

  • Mae Hong Son, Thailand – encircled by green hills ripe for exploring and centred around a glittering lake where a delicious night market takes place every evening:

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  • Stellenbosch, South Africa – beautifully preserved white-washed colonial buildings (a rare sight in Africa) with delicious restaurants and gorgeous vineyards within easy reach:

  • Apricale, Italy – a medieval village tucked away in the Ligurian countryside, clinging to the side of the hill with million dollar views:

 

Top activities

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  • Campervan life around the USA and Australia. Having our own wheels and bed gave us the ultimate flexibility and we developed a new love for the great outdoors:

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  • Trekking to see orangutans in the wild in Bukit Lawing, Indonesia with an amazing and friendly team of guides:

  • The amazing first full day on our overland tour in Chobe National Park, Botswana where we saw giraffes, zebras and herds of elephants. This was shortly followed by a game cruise where we watched elephants wash, play and swim and hippos duck and dive in the water. It was an incredible introduction to African wildlife:

  • Wild camping in the Okavango Delta, Botswana was brilliant what with our own private ‘pool’, floating down the waterways on dugout canoes and the stunning scenery and sunsets; seeing huge elephants, hippos and zebras on a game walk was the icing on the cake:

  • Taking scenic flights over amazing landscapes in tiny planes with crazy pilots, Botswana and South Africa:

  • Quad biking up, down and on vertical angles across massive sand dunes near Swapokmund, Namibia:

  • An incredible four days of self-driving safari through the Kruger National Park (South Africa) with intimidating elephant encounters and spotting leopards and lions by night

  • Getting to be within a few metres of massive incredible mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda):

 

Top natural wonders

  • West Bay beach in Roatan, Honduras. Perfect calm turquoise water with white sand and just a little development on the beach. Probably the best beach in Central America:

Roatan, Honduras

  • The Altiplanico Lakes near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Situated in an otherworldly landscape dotted with flamingoes:

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

  • The Canadian Rockies were stunning, especially the turquoise alpine lakes surrounded by spruce trees:

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  • Death Valley, USA was exactly how you imagine, especially when staying in a campsite called Furnace Creek. It was so hot and felt like you were on Mars most of the time:

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  • Monument Valley was a sacred site for indigenous people, and felt strangely familiar from seeing the scenery in Western films:

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  • Huge and serene Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest crater lakes:

  • The best beaches we have ever seen in the Maldives; and the guesthouse we stayed in on Thoddoo was a real highlight, due to the amazing manager and his family:

  • Driving through the deep green Drakensburg Mountains (South Africa) up the bumpy, winding and stunning Sani Pass into Lesotho:

  • The friendly locals and deep green steeply terraced lakes of both Rwanda and Uganda:

 

Things different from our other two round the world trips: 

  • More road trips/driving 
  • More camping
  • Fewer overnight buses, more flying 
  • More apartments, less dorms
  • More visitors/meeting up with people
  • Less social (see below for reasons why)
  • More internet 
  • More computers/phone/staying in touch
  • More developed world
  • More spontaneity (as we didn’t have a round the world ticket so could change our route on a whim) 

 

Visitors and visits:

  • Jack’s Dad/Bill (Argentina & Hong Kong):


  • Jamie, Ali and Scarlett (USA):

  • Ralph and Lorna (New Zealand):

  • Stu and Morgan (Australia):

  • Glen and Bianca (Australia):

  • Ali and Karina (Thailand & South Africa):

  • Rach and Guy (Myanmar):


  • Paul and Laura (UAE):


  • Vic, Si, Ali and Karina  (South Africa):

  • Roberto and Nicoletta (Italy):

 

Best cuisines:

1. Thai (nothing could top our perennial fave):

Prawns, yellow curry and garlic pork

2. Mexican:

Fish tacos

3. Italian:

Truffle pasta

4. Burmese (a surprise entry):

Tea leaf salad

5. Japanese:

Tempura

 

Lowlights 

  • Brexit increased the cost of the trip by nearly 20%
  • Becki’s zip lining incident where she was left hanging over a cloud forest, Costa Rica
  • Jack’s Dad going home early from Buenos Aires (Argentina) due to illness
  • Messing up our USA visa so we had to leave the country early and head to another continent before returning (although we used the time to revisit Peru so it wasn’t so bad!)
  • Getting bogged in our campervan but luckily an Aussie mum helped us dig out, Australia
  • The aggressive flies which try to drink the water from your eyes, Australia
  • Becki getting pissed on by a cat when we were staying with friends in Sydney, Australia
  • Food poisoning in Bangkok (Thailand) which knocked us both out for three days and put an end to the street food extravaganza we had planned
  • Train delays (and inaction on our part) meant we missed our flight from Japan to Hong Kong. It was extra annoying as we were meeting Jack’s Dad so turned up a day late
  • Being the only couple which managed to capsize their canoe (and lose their brand new flip flops) on a river with small rapids, Namibia 
  • Poverty was highly visible in most developing countries we visited but it seemed worse in South Africa as it was mainly drawn along lines of colour
  • Safety in Africa (apart from Rwanda) was worse than anywhere we had ever visited and we were advised to always take taxis at night in most cities
  • Getting pick pocketed at Kigali bus station in Rwanda when surrounded by taxi drivers was a real bugger but the moto-taxi trips back and forth to the police station gave us a new appreciation for the green hilly city

 

Some favourite photos

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Near San Pedro De Atacama, Chile
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Near Tilcara, Argentina
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San Miguel De Allende, Mexico
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Icefields Parkway, Canada
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Rockies, Canada
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Yellowstone NP, USA
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Grand Canyon NP, USA
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View of Tahiti from Moorea, French Polynesia
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Aitutaki, Cook Islands
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Cape Range NP, Australia
Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia
Shibu Onsen, Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Bagan, Myanmar
Inle Lake, Myanmar
Rasdhoo, Maldives
Chobe NP, Botswana
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Sossusvlei, Namibia
Drakensberg, South Africa
iSimangaliso, South Africa
The Kruger NP, South Africa
Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Twin Lakes, Rwanda
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
Venice, Italy
Dolomites, Italy
Turin, Italy

And that’s it.  Until next time…

Thanks for reading.

Jack & Becki xx

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. What a stunning, dizzying read. Such an adventure! The photos are incredible and it looks like the most wonderful trip. Was glad to share a week of it with you!
    Welcome home xx

  2. Zoe says:

    Just fabulous. So enjoyed reading your travelling tales and the photos…….. Wow……. just WOW .!
    Hope to see you both very soon. Zoe xx

  3. Alice says:

    Amazing! What a trip…the best pic photos are incredible. How are you gonna top all that! x

  4. Stu says:

    Great blog and pictures guys – certainly looks like you had an amazing time! I’m guessing the 5 year count down has begun again! x

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