After two travelling months we are comfortably back into our nomadic lifestyle but the transition from sofa to steering wheel is always a testing one.
Routine. This changes dramatically, generally we don’t know where we will be sleeping each night. It takes a couple of weeks for that daunting uncertainty to again be replaced by the excitement of the unknown and the freedom and fun of our situation.
Focus. Life simplifies considerably back to the basics of being fed and watered, keeping clean, warm, dry and safe. The Monday to Friday work emphasis is (easily!) replaced by exploring, learning and new experiences. Priorities change and life becomes uncomplicated in some respects yet challenging at the same time.
Familiarity. We go from the comforting familiarity of our home life to a constant bombardment of the new and foreign; language, money, food, customs, social etiquette, culture and road rules. In the last 8 weeks we have journeyed relatively quickly through 10 new countries, making it easy to confuse your “Ciaos” and your Kunas with your “Zdravos” and your Dinars. A desire to embrace the new makes becoming accustomed fun and we are soon greeting and eating local.
Communication. Andy and I shift from daily social interaction with family and friends to again being approximately a metre apart from each other 24 hours a day. Fortunately our relationship has been rigorously tested through a combined total of 11 months of ‘social solitude’ and we’ve survived smiling! Strangers become friends and you adopt an openness to meeting and talking to new people that is often missing back home. Distance from family is always difficult, on this trip my sister had her first baby which has been a stark reminder of the biggest sacrifice we make for our expedition existence.
Convenience. Flicking the kettle on for a brew is now replaced by a lengthier process of boxes, pans and water pumps. Opportunities to do laundry are sporadic, internet connection is irregular, supermarket shopping becomes experimental and when the weather worsens there is no drawing the curtains and settling down in front of the TV.
Stuff. Going from a full wardrobe of clothes, kitchen of equipment, larder of food and array of personal items to a few boxes of belongings takes some getting used to. However it doesn’t take long to appreciate the benefits of a minimising your material possessions and appreciating what you really need. In all honesty though, a couple of different T-shirts at this stage would be welcomed!