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Backpacking around the world – A résumé

by - 16 Jan 2011

We have been on the road for 12 months and we have travelled through 15 countries. Everything we owned in this year we carried on our backs and our possessions rarely weighed more than 15kg. Backpacking is not just a long vacation – it is a challenge: We had to downgrade our requirements and get used to a lower living standard; we had to renounce comfort, we had to cope with the stress to organize everything ourselves and we had to learn to live with the insecurity that we never knew what would happen tomorrow.

Backstein-Toilette im Tan-Ky Haus Toilet in Vietnam

Why did we impose this on us? Because at the same time it was the most wonderful and invaluable experience! Let’s be honest: You are damn lucky if the only task you need to perform for 365 days is to look at the world’s wonders, enjoy its beauty and sample some of its best foods.

Taj, Sarah, Friedrich Malerisches Bagan
Great Wall Uluru in the sun
Alpengluehen Fox Glacier Machu Picchu
Karibiktraeume werden wahr auf unserer Kuna Insel dumplings and soup

During this trip we experienced our limits and had the chance to overcome them. All our challenges made us grow. This journey has broad our horizon. While we visited and learned about other countries we also reflected on our own culture and we put it into a new perspective. We tried to share (and not only to watch) the local living conditions hoping to become a part of the local culture and to experience every country from an inside perspective.
We learned to be more tolerant and open towards people who chose to live a different lifestyle because we found out that almost every one’s life is an interesting story if you just care to listen.
We noticed that the poorest people were often the most warmhearted and generous. Moreover they seemed to be a lot happier than most of us. This made us realize that the key to luck and happiness is obviously hidden in other places than we usually assume.

This is how every trip teaches us not only more about other people but also about ourselves. Every journey to places far away is also a journey to oneself.

Hmong Frau hilft Friedrich durch den Matsch Sarah wird von der Tischnachbarin spontan mit Henna bemalt
left: Hmong woman gives Friedrich a hand, right: Indian woman paints on Sarah’s hands

After 365 days our journey has come to an end. Be sure that we go home with mixed feelings. One last chance for the public to look into our hearts and read our secret thoughts:

We can’t wait

…to see our friends and family again

…to enjoy a properly working hot shower

…to have a good mattress

…to eat only what we like

…to eat German Vollkornbrot und drink German beer

…to be exposed to a sound volume which allows us to communicate in the street without yelling

…to rely on common rules which everyone respects to regulate our every day social and economic life so that not every little step needs to be argued about

…to trust in schedules and count on an efficiently working infrastructure (Believe me: what we consider a delay will be praised an almost early arrival in other parts of the world)

…to come back to a life without grabby street vendors who consider us a walking ATM and chase us down the street to sell something

…to be back in a world where we are not treated as strangers anymore

We are going to miss

…how Friedrich points out enthusiastically every little gecko that he spots

…how Sarah becomes friends with every stray dog we meet so that there is always at least one around to accompany us home

…to be free to do every day only what you really want

…to look every day with amazement and surprise at the world when you observe something that you have never seen before

…to have the opportunity to try things you never dared to do before

…to talk with other travellers about “the world”

…to escape from the hectic pace of western society and forget all your “to do lists”

…to live in a world where every meal is so cheap that it is a waste of time to cook for yourself

…to feel ripped off whenever something costs more than 5 bucks

…how Friedrich and Sarah privily start to cry on busrides even for the cheesiest movie

…the inner triumph when you have won an exhausting bargaining game (especially if your opponent is an Indian taxi driver)

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6 Kommentare
  1. Eva permalink

    a very nice closing article for your blog! i’ve very much enjoyed reading it this year. The summary you’ve given gives a good additional impression on what it’s like travelling for so long. I’m glad you got home safe and you made wonderful experiences. This is for life!

  2. Thommy permalink

    Though I only left a few comments to your blog posts I followed it the whole time and really enjoyed whitnessing your journey. 🙂
    Enjoy the memories and the „new life“. (Vätta) Thommy

  3. Kath permalink

    danke danke danke, für die vielen tollen Reiseberichte!!! ich habe alles mind. 5mal gelesen und musste oft staunen, lachen, vor lauter fernweh aus dem fenster gucken …. aber jetzt wohnen wir ja quasi wieder um die ecke und ich freu mich auf viele treffen!

  4. Schade, dass es schon vorbei ist.

  5. Welcome home and thanks – enjoyed some of your reports and the world class pictures!

    :-)) Hermann

  6. Jen permalink

    You both are inspiring and I feel lucky to have been included in your travels. Welcome home 🙂 xox

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