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Dan’s Thoughts After Three Months of Traveling

Published On May 1, 2013 | By Dan | First Impressions, Popular, Recent, Travel Journal
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There were a lot of unknowns when we left three months ago, including our condo not being rented.  However, in mid-April, we were able to lease our condo to two young professionals in Minneapolis.  Leaving the country without renters was a big deal for us, and something that was constantly on our mind.  We are thrilled to have found some tenants who can enjoy one of our favorite places in the world!  Below are some stats and reflections on our first three months of travel:

Stats from the first three months:

– Distance traveled: 20,291 miles
– New countries visited: 8
– Beds slept in: 22
– Times Dan has shaved his face: 5
– Times Dan has shaved his head: 6
– Fried rice consumed by Dan: A lot
– Items lost or left behind: iPad charger, hair brush(later found after it had been replaced), memory card (crashed on us), USB stick drive, sunglasses, one pair of headphones.
– Blog posts: 77

Living out of a backpack

This has been the biggest adjustment for me.  I’ve never been a fashion-savvy person, but wearing the same five shirts over and over again does start to get old.  If you follow our Flickr account, you’ll start to notice real quickly that we are not carrying a big variety of clothing.  We do laundry often as often as possible, but I have still ran out of clean underwear a few times and been forced to Cosmo Kramer my way around.

We’ve been moving pretty quickly, and our average time spent in each place has been four days. We had a nice rest in Ubud, Bali for 12 days, and another 10 day stint in Bangkok. Other than that, we get somewhere, see as much as we can in a few days, and we move on. Our next big break will be in September when we stay in Amsterdam for three weeks.  We also shipped a box of stuff home when we were in Thailand, and that has given us some precious space in our bags.  Thanks to this, I was able to buy two books about Burma’s WWII history at a used book store in Bangkok.  Why can’t every book just be available on Kindle already?

dan-songkranOur health

Before leaving on this trip, I had a few health issues, mainly with the veins in the lower part of my body.  Two surgeries later, I was basically told that it’s as good as it can get unless I opt for a more invasive surgery.  The issue is not even close to life-threatening, but it did cause me pain anytime I sat or stood for more than an hour.  This really affected me at work, considering I had a desk job.  What’s amazing is that now that I spend most of my day out and about instead of in a desk chair, almost all of my symptoms have disappeared. I had a feeling it was constant sitting that was making me unhealthy, and this trip is proving that humans are not meant to be in a seated position all day.

We have also been lucky so far in that neither of us have gotten sick at all while on the trip. We are pretty safe about what we eat, and I think our Camelback UV bottle is killing most culprits.

Cellphonevibrate-ringitis

I am happy to announce that I am almost cured of my cellphonevibrate-ringitis, the condition where you keep thinking the cellphone in your pocket is vibrating, when it really isn’t. In the past five years, I was probably checking email on an average of every 10 minutes, more frequently during the workday. I never got away from it, not even on vacations. At first, it was extremely awkward not having a cellphone with a data connection available to me in my pocket at all times. I missed it for the first couple of weeks, and it was sometimes frustrating not being able to turn on my phone and get directions, check the score of the game, or see what my mom was up to on Facebook. But three months later, I feel liberated from that constant “checking” of something on my phone, and we’ve learned that anything or anyone can wait a few hours or a day for our response. This is especially true when eating, and not having phones to look at. It actually forces couples to talk to each other.

Planning vs experiencing each destination

The hardest part for me on this trip has been truly appreciating each destination while we’re there. What makes it hard is that when I’m in Bangkok, I have to begin planning for Laos, when I’m in Singapore, I need to begin planning for Kuala Lumpur, etc. I’m always focused on the next destination, and when I finally get there, I begin working on the destination after that, and sometimes I struggle to enjoy where I am in the moment.

Missing work

That headline is deceiving. I don’t miss work. I miss the social life that comes with work and the healthcare benefits, but I don’t miss spending five days a week in a desk chair. Every time it’s Monday morning in Minneapolis, regardless of what time it is here, Alissa and I find a bar and cheers a drink to the fact that we aren’t heading to work.  This ritual keeps reminding us how lucky we are to have a break like this from the daily grind.

dan-trainMissing friends and family

Video chats are an amazing thing. They make extended time away from family and friends easier, but we do miss our loved ones. We have had some entertaining video chats with both two year olds and eighty year olds, and it has helped us stay in touch with home.

We love Summers in Minneapolis, and it is going to be tough this year when we miss so many of the happy hours, concerts, sporting events, and celebrations that we enjoy so much. As fun as these places are, nothing beats the Midwest United States on a hot summer Saturday.

America’s biggest exports? Fat and Sugar

Nearly every city we visit is covered in signs of corporate America.  Every country has had readily available Coke and Pepsi, and Laos, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands have been the only destinations that have not been invaded by McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King(correction: have not YET).  One day while walking on Bangkok’s Khoa San Road, a road lined with delicious and fresh street food, I noticed there was a line at both McDonald’s and Burger King.  America is great because it makes it easy for businesses to expand into other countries, but why does Cinnabun have to make its way to Indonesia and Thailand instead of a motorcycle helmet company?  There are so many great businesses providing healthy and safe products in America, but somehow only the deep-fried ones have made it past customs.

Upcoming destinations

We are currently in Laos, and our next few months consist of meeting our friend Justin in Burma, meeting my twin brother in Cambodia, then exploring Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, and China on our own.

alissa-skybar

Celebrating 12 weeks on the road at Skybar in Bangkok

 

 

 

 

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About The Author

is the founding traveler of This World Rocks. He enjoys writing in the present tense, is an avid sports fan, former NBA dunk team member, aspiring videographer, and a WWII & Civil War history nerd.

2 Responses to Dan’s Thoughts After Three Months of Traveling

  1. kyleshannon79@gmail.com' Kyle Shannon says:

    Hey Guys- Although we only know each other briefly via ultimate frisbee, I have been enjoying your posts and reliving some great places I once visited. As a fellow lover of travel, you’re making my feet itch and reminding me that there is much more to life than cell phones, and a 9-5 job. Standing at the bus stop yesterday I couldn’t help but notice that everyone but myself was hunched over and peering into their phones. Thank you for reinvigorating my interest in travel and far off places. Enjoy Laos…I have heard it’s a backpackers paradise! Cheers to the Monfres!!!

    Kyle

    • Alissa says:

      Awesome, thanks Kyle! When we started talking about this trip, we looked to a lot of other bloggers for inspiration, and the biggest recurring theme was do what you love, or work towards being able to do what you love (and give yourself deadlines to get there). Glad we could be one of those inspiring sites for you :)
      You should check out our itinerary and meet up with us for a week or two somewhere!

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