7 Weeks On- Reflections and Ruminations


Our time in numbers….150 : 50 : 70 : 25 : 39 : x4 : 6/2 : 0

  • 150 +….hours of planning undertaken before setting off
  • 50%….underestimation of how much we would spend!
  • 70+….movies watched whilst on planes/buses
  • 25+….books read
  • 39….days back at work
  • x4….the days back at work for the number of ‘back to reality’ humph’s by Hedd
  • 6/2….number of application/ number of interviews until Helen got a job
  • 0….regrets!

Well I can’t believe its been almost 2 months since we landed at Heathrow after an amazing 6 month adventure. Since leaving back in October, in many ways things haven’t changed; family and friends are still as lovely as ever, the UK is still in recession, the weather is just as temperamental, Liverpool FC still aren’t playing terribly well! But in other ways things are very different; I now live with my big brother and sister-in-law, I’m no longer a member of my beloved Royal Chester Rowing Club, I work in economic development not climate change (and enjoying it!), and perhaps most challenging of all- I am living 174 miles away from Hedd. We try to see each other most weekends however, and last weekend we sat in the sun and reflected on our incredible trip. I hope you enjoy our summary….

If we had to rank the countries we visited….

….it would look a little bit like this:



  1. Peru
  2. Zambia&Zimbabwe
  3. South Africa&Lesotho
  4. New Zealand
  5. Botswana
  6. Bolivia
  7. Argentina
  8. Australia
  9. Fiji
  10. Chile
  1. Peru/New Zealand/Zambia&Zimbabwe*
  2. Argentina
  3. Botswana
  4. South Africa&Lesotho
  5. Bolivia
  6. Australia
  7. Fiji
  8. Chile**

(*He couldn’t choose!; **8 and 9 missed out?…yes Northern Chile was that bad!)

Such a tough question, but the best moment for me of our trip was…



After a 3 day trek to Machu Picchu we went for double or quits and decided to climb Huayna Picchu-2720 meters. Achy and tired from the 5am start, we surprised ourselves and made it up to the top in 40 mins. I will always remember the sense of achievement pulling ourselves up that last stone step to the top. We found a rock overlooking the city below and rested. A feeling of absolute calm and contentment settled over me like a mist. It was at that moment when I realised just how privileged I was to be doing this trip and sharing it with someone I really loved.
  • Looking down on Machu Picchu from the top of Huayna Picchu.
  • Skydive from 15,000ft in Queenstown, NZ
  • Swimming at the top of Victoria Falls, Zambia

* My top three moments, impossible to pick one!

We didn’t have many, but the lowest moment for me of our trip was…



I had an alarming number of ‘run in’s’ with human and animal excrement throughout the 6 months! There was the urine incident on our bus to Vina del Mar, where the bus’ toilet seem to have leaked on my backpack in the hold (still gives me the gross shivers!). And then I was poo-ed on by a bird on 2 occasions- the first in Agua Callenatis, Peru, on my new t-shirt and the second as I leaned my arm out our 4×4 of safari in Chobe! Ah well, I guess I just needed the luck! My three hangover days:-

  • On a bus from Puno to Arequipa in Peru.
  • In Sydney after the Red Wine at Ian & Teresa’s wedding.
  • The day after my birthday in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.

Bucket List 2012 –

Perhaps inevitably we came back with a longer list than we went with as we heard fellow travellers stories of were they had been and opened our eyes up to more of the world. Here’s what made it onto both of our lists….

  • The Trans-Siberian Railway, China to Russia
  • Southern Patagonia
  • American Road Trip
  • East, West and Central Africa overland
  • The Arctic Circle (Aurora Borealis)
  • Western Canada & Asia (On Hedd’s list)
  • India and Nepal, trekking to Everest Base Camp (On Helen’s list)

So what’s next?

With the trip costing us more than we planned, as you can imagine there is the small, but annoyingly persistent, issue of debt clearing! So for both of us the immediate plan is to clear our debt as quickly as we can. Hedd is also ‘car-less’ at the moment so he has the added incentive for clearing his debt so he can buy a car and get his independence back! The next step is to both gain employment in jobs we enjoy within 1 hours of each other. For both of us that will probably involve getting a new job and relocating to a new area which, I think Hedd would admit himself, he finds a scary prospect! For me, I’m getting pretty used to that now! The goal is by Christmas 2012 to be living together in our own home (rented of course- lets not get ahead of ourselves!) After that who knows, maybe another trip – Hedd has a few ideas!!

Hedd’s final words of wisdom:

So the trip is over and we’ve come back to earth with a bang! Do I have any regrets, only one – that we aren’t still out there! It was an amazing experience and I’m so happy that we did it. I loved every minute of it, we visited so many amazing countries, met so many lovely people and did some extraordinary things. I have wanted to go traveling for a number of years, but have always found reasons to put it off. As much as I would advise people not to wait, to stop making excuses and just go, I’m happy I waited. If I hadn’t, I might not have fallen in love with Helen and we might never have gone on this trip together. It wouldn’t have been half as fun without her and I feel privileged to have spent six months traveling the world with her and I look forward to our next adventure. I guess I should finish with some wise words, so here they are: The world is an amazing place, try to see as much of it as you can. There is so much to see and its easier than ever for us to see them. However, the world is getting smaller and more westernized as global corporations pop up everywhere. Unique cultures are being eroded as youngsters are increasingly influenced by television and advertising. Many of the cultures and sights out there today, may not be there in a few years.

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