So that’s it, the beginning of the end. At 10 am tomorrow we will be boarding a flight ready to whisk us back to New Zealand. You would think that we would have something really poignant to say as we reflect on our trip – some amazing pearls of wisdom on how much we have learned/changed as people, or something really moving about how our world view has broadened, but the reality is that, right now, sitting in a hotel room, ramming souvenirs and dirty clothes into our backpacks for the final time, nothing like that is springing to mind. We’re thinking about what time to get the taxi to pick us up tomorrow, making sure we request an aisle seat on the plane, not forgetting anybody’s duty-free order and the fact that when we get to Taupo, Sid (the most beloved Sandilands family dog) will not be there to greet us (RIP Sid). That’s not to say that we haven’t learned anything, or that we’re not just the teeniest bit different from when we left. I just think that perhaps those differences will reveal themselves a bit more subtlety – organically, and over time.
In saying all of that, we couldn’t sign out without any fanfare, so we have used Campbell’s mega (don’t look too closely or your eyes will bleed) trip planning spreadsheet to present:
“The Wilsilands World Trip – By the Numbers”
It goes something like this:
- 301 days
- 3 continents
- 12 countries
- 90 cities, towns, villages, islands
- 117 hotels, motels, guest house, homestays, Air BnBs
- 22 flights
- 22 buses and minivans
- 10 boats and ferries
- 6 trains
- 6 rental cars
- 1 travel insurance claim
- 4 sharting incidents (I’m not providing a breakdown of who was responsible for how many)
- countless laughs, a good few rows and only one semi-serious conversation about getting a divorce; and
- a whole lot of moolah (but worth every penny)!
- Favourite places to party: Las Vegas, Greek Islands
- Favourite beaches: Pelion Peninsula (Papa Nero and Milina)
- Most beautiful landmarks: Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon, Taj Mahal, Sapa rice paddies , Provence lavender fields, Jaisalmer Desert
- Most relaxing places: Provence, Pelion Peninsula
- Most challenging destination: India
- Best place for eating: Seville, San Sebastian
- Best local dishes: BBQ (America), pastries (France), lemon gelato (Italy), souvlaki (Greece), fruit smoothies and baguettes (Laos), chicken noodle soup (Laos), BBQ (Laos), bun cha (Vietnam), pad thai (Thailand)
- Best experiences: Driving Pacific Highway 1 (America), camping in Yosemite (America), cycling trip (Cuba) Fado club-hopping (Lisbon), sea kayaking (Lagos), Pinxtos crawl (San Sebastian), camel safari (Jaisalmer), trekking and homestay (Sapa), dirt-bike riding (Kasi), volunteering at ENP dog school (Chiang Mai).
- Best bang for your buck destinations: Greece, Vietnam, Thailand (northern)
- Countries we most want to go back to: Spain and Greece.
And, as my beloved Forrest Gump would say, “that’s all I have to say about that”.
Thank you for reading the blog and sharing our journey.
A&C – over and out!