OUR FIRST CIRCLE AROUND THE WORLD COMPLETED: A SHORT RESUME

Today we set foot on our homeland ground after almost 20 months of constant travelling. Everything is different. We smell the air of Slovenia and it’s different, although it’s exactly the same as it was before we left. Our home is different, although no one has changed a thing in it. Ljubljana is different, the streets are different, everything is different, yet the same. Everything is so damn different because WE are not the same. It feels like we’ve travelled back and forward in time at once, feeling the sameness and the difference of the things surrounding us, lost in space and time, back home, but at the same time so far away from where we started our journey.

sunsetHOW DID WE DECIDE TO START TRAVELLING?

Ever since we met, we both knew that travelling would connect us more than anything else. One day, I asked Nejc if he wanted to go travelling with me for an unknown period of time, and he said yes. He quit his job after about two days, and four months later we were already on the road. We took our savings, about 9000$, and that was it. We didn’t know how long we would stay on the road, or where we would end up. We didn’t have a thorough plan on where to go, how to go, where to sleep or what to do. We never bought an outgoing plain ticket from the country we were visiting, because we didn’t know whether we were going to like it to stay for a week or a year; our only time guide was the visa limitation for each country. We didn’t know whether we were going to travel for a month or for a year, whether we were going to settle down in another country or come back to Slovenia. We didn’t know we would come back home until a month before. When we ran out of money, we looked for a job; when we wanted to travel, we travelled. Everything, absolutely everything on this trip was done by our intuition. And the greatest thing we learned after 20 months on the road is that if you trust and let yourself go with the flow, everything will fall into place. Many people want to go for a long trip, but never do so because they are scared – scared to leave their jobs, scared to leave their family or friends behind, scared of the unknown awaiting for them. But the fact is that too much of planning will get you nowhere. Because, if you start travelling with the small amount of money we had at the beginning, you can only plan for the next few months. But long-term travelling is not to be planned, just as you cannot plan your whole life in advance. You can only trust and believe that life will get you to the spot where you’re meant to be. Always.

Hampi, India. One of our very favourite places in the world

Hampi, India. One of our very favourite places in the world

Indian backwaters

Indian backwaters

WHERE HAVE WE BEEN?

We started our journey in Belgrade, where we couchsurfed for the very first time. After that, we were hooked. We realised that couchsurfing is not only about free accommodation, but about making great friends and spending time with the locals. It is actually the most local way of travelling possible.

couchsurfing

Our first couchsurfing and Rea’s stupid face 🙂

From Belgrade, we flew to Colombo, Sri Lanka, where we got our first dose of culture shock. We handled it very well, and wanted more. In Sri Lanka, we couchsurfed for the second time, travelled with local buses and trains, did some hiking, soaked up the sun in the famous Sri Lankan beaches and met our first travel buddies. We ate with our hands, bargained, got used to the chaotic traffic and spicy food. We drank fresh juices and ate fresh coconuts under the palm trees. We naively thought we prepared our bodies and our minds for the culture shock in India, but couldn’t be more wrong. When we got to India, we got another shot of culture shock, this time overdosed. We got so addicted that we spent over three months travelling to every corner of this crazy country from south to north. We saw its nature, its cities, we met its people, we hiked, we ate Indian street food, we threw up, we cried, we laughed, we got nervous breakdowns, we travelled on the tightest budget possible because we wanted our money to last, but most of the time we were simply HAPPY.

colombo

Our first day in Colombo and our first culture shock 🙂

Enjoying fresh coconut in Sri Lanka

Enjoying fresh coconut in Sri Lanka

Eating the traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry

Eating the traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry

varkala

Culture shock in India: expression No.1 🙂

Culture shock in India: expression No.2

Culture shock in India: expression No.2 🙂

Tasting out Indian spices

Tasting out Indian spices

Mysore market, India

Mysore market, India

In India, we met some of our best friends, we practiced yoga, went off the beaten track and learned that if certain places are not touristy, there is a good reason behind it 🙂

Meeting beautiful people in Rishikesh, India

Meeting beautiful people in Rishikesh, India

After India, we crossed the border to Nepal on foot where we met ZERO tourists. We stayed in Nepal for a month and a half, chilling by the lake, hiking through the highest mountains in the world and getting nervous in the dustiest city ever – Kathmandu.

Finishing the Poon Hill track in Nepal

Finishing the Poon Hill track in Nepal

The beautiful view of the Annapurna, Nepal

The beautiful view of the Annapurna, Nepal

The dusty city of Kathmandu

The dusty city of Kathmandu

Bodnath stupa, Kathmandu

Bodnath stupa, Kathmandu

From Kathmandu, we flew to Bangkok a day later because our flight was cancelled and we had the most chaotic day of our lives. After Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, Thailand felt like a vacation. With its amazing food, tropical beaches and crazy underwater wildlife it stole our hearts.

Enjoying Thai food

Enjoying Thai food

Our favourite beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand

Our favourite beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand

In Thailand, we met a beautiful couple that joined us on a road trip around Bali where we did our first diving, hiked through the awe-inspiring rice fields and spoiled ourselves in some of the cheapest and most beautiful resorts in the world.

Bali road trip with our Swiss friends

Bali road trip with our Swiss friends

Bali's magical underwater world

Bali’s magical underwater world

Playing around in the rice fields, Bali

Playing around in rice fields, Bali

After Bali, our budget was gone, and with 1500$ we flew to one of the most expensive countries in the world – New Zealand.

New Zealand's wild coast

New Zealand’s wild coast

Without having a slight idea whether we would manage to find a job to save up more money for our adventures, we put all of our energy and trust into searching for work, and eventually spent one year working and travelling in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We managed to save up enough to buy a van where we lived and travelled through all of New Zealand.

Travelling with a van in New Zealand

Travelling with a van in New Zealand

Our super van

Our super van

After 11 months, we flew to Australia, visited Melbourne where we met my lovely mom and planned to work for a little while to fill up our bank account again. But there was something behind our minds that made us leave Melbourne and continue travelling. After doing the most amazing road trip on the Great ocean road, we flew to Cairns and did one of our very favourite things on this trip: snorkelling at the Great barrier reef. From Cairns, we went to Sydney, and from there we flew to LA where we started our two week trip through the US. After the US, we finally returned back to Europe, visited our friends in Switzerland and came back to Slovenia after almost 20 months on the road.

Meeting my lovely mom in Melbourne

Meeting my lovely mom in Melbourne

Driving the Great ocean road

Driving the Great ocean road

Snorkelling at the Great barrier reef

Snorkelling at the Great barrier reef

Getting lost in Sydney

Getting lost in Sydney

A quick visit to the US national parks

A quick visit to the US national parks

Reunited with our friends in Zurich

Reunited with our friends in Zurich

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

A trip around the world was much more than just constant travelling. Travelling on a really tight budget in India where everything is already cheap was a big challenge for our minds. Getting to New Zealand without having enough money for a ticket back home, and without knowing whether we would manage to find work on time taught us that the best you can do in the moments of stress is to simply – chill. Getting to Melbourne where we were planning to stay for a while to work and save up some more money and suddenly deciding that we would go back home instead taught us to pause and think when something doesn’t feel right. Even though we got jobs in Australia, and despite our never ending craving for travelling and exploring more, there was something behind all this longing that brought us back to Slovenia. Somehow, in a funny way, it just felt the right thing to do.

Back home after 20 months on the road

Back home after 20 months on the road

Travelling for so long was the most powerful experience we could ever imagine having. It was knowing and learning about other countries, other cultures, but mostly about ourselves, and it has brought us like a spiral to the spot where we were a year and a half ago. The same spot, but one step higher in our minds and in our hearts.

sri-lankaWHAT NEXT?

As you might have already seen from this post, we don’t plan. We only wish and try to make our dreams come true. But dreams can change, and so can we, and if you ask us tomorrow, you might hear a totally different story from us. However, we can share with you what we think our plans for the future are today, and here it goes: we want to stay in Slovenia until April and explore as much of this beautiful country as we can. Then, we would like to apply for the working holiday visa for Canada, where we would work and travel for a year. From Canada, we want to move down to the Caribbean and South America, then to Asia, and eventually return back to Europe with the Trans-Siberian train. In short: we would like to make another circle around the world, but this time in the other direction 🙂

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38 thoughts on “OUR FIRST CIRCLE AROUND THE WORLD COMPLETED: A SHORT RESUME

  1. Tanja

    OMG … reading this story got me to tears, I’m so proud that “my descendant” thinks differently than others and lives in accordance with her current initiative … thats my daughter. After 20 months of spending all the time with Nejc, they probably came to realize: “This is a person I would like to spend my life with.” Big awareness!
    And when you get home after a year and a half of researching the world, you realize that your homeland is undiscovered beauty, waiting for you to get to know it better. Funny that we never go to explore our own country, because everything is so close:)

    So happy for you guys that you got balls to jump into unknown without any calculation and just go with your gut …. love you

  2. Dalibor N.

    Such a great article! I’m glad that I hosted you, like it happen two days ago, not twenty months ago. It sounds like that this trip changed you a lot on a positive way, I have really enjoyed in your posts and photos during trip. All the best in next trip and keep Rockin 🙂
    Regards from Belgrade

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Dalibor! So nice to heat from you! It does feel like it was yesterday, doesn’t it? 🙂 We’re so close now that I’m sure we’ll meet you soon again. Cheers! 🙂

  3. Mihela

    Here here, nice to read that other Slovenians are travelling longterm without any plan as well.
    Myself returned back to Slovenia after 355days of roaming around South America. It also started just with one way and without any idea when will be back. Also the route was decided upon along the way. My only objective was to get down south :). Anyway I also got some innercalling to return back at some point. But I already know I am here “just on a visit”. It’s only a matter of months before I take off again!

    And hope you two have not too rough transition back to life on this side of the world. Won’t be misleading – it definitely ain’t easy ;).

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Well hello there! Every now and then I stumble upon another Slovenian adventurer – so nice to see that there are so many of us getting lost around the world 🙂

      Exploring South America is another BIG project of ours, and if we eventually make it to Canada next year, we will surely spend 6 months discovering that part of the world.

      Wish you safe travels and nice to meet you 🙂

  4. Sheri

    A nice story of your life and the courage it took to do this. I enjoyed reading about your travels and what you have been through. More exciting is the fact that you love travelling more and wish to do it all again!

  5. Tait Hearps

    Such an epic trip, glad you had an amazing experience 🙂 let me know if you ever make it back to Aus and come to the Gold Coast… Might see you on the road soon 😀

    1. Rea & Nejc

      We didn’t have enough time to make it to the Gold Coast this time, so we’ll surely have to go back! 🙂 Are you planning on doing another trip?

  6. Shounak

    Wow. Incredible . It amazes me how you are one of those who travel full time with only time as your guide. Wish I could do that as well but I guess you cant do that with a baby. So will travel when I can.
    But your story is simply incredible

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Thanks so much, I’m glad that you liked it 🙂 It could be a bit more complicated having this kind of lifestyle with a baby, although I’ve read so many inspiring stories about families with children travelling the world full time. I’m not sure I could do it either, but it’s an amazing experience for sure.

  7. Rashmi&Chalukya

    Wow.. Life is an adventure and you proved. It needs great courage and will to leave everything behind and set on an unknown journey and hats off to you for that. You said it right we are not the same once we are back travelling places. We are more happy and content deep inside. Glad that Hampi our beloved city made to your best places list and hope you had a great time in India. If you ever wish to revisit we would love to meet up 🙂 All the best for your future endeavors.

    1. Rea & Nejc

      We will DEFINITELY go back to India once, we’d love to visit the northern part of it (from Punjab to Kashmir). It is one of our favourite countries to travel to, really a special one.

  8. Blair Villanueva

    Your article gives me tears of joy, and I’m always so proud of people like you who can travel freely and with no definite period. Such a lovely adventure of you! More please!

  9. Liana

    Oh my, I never believed this story could bring tears to my eyes. I mean, I ain’t sensitive, I just believe it’s an amazing story, and the fact you made it together is kind of incredible. Your story is powerful and truly; it’s incredible how much you can learn through your world tour. Bali is one of the most magnificent place I want to visit, and after travelling around Israel for 6 months, I have this anger to travel and to feed; There aren’t a thing I wouldn’t do than that and now you shared with me, and I’ll constantly think about that. I mean, I felt disconnected after 6 montsh not living in Paris, and you guys, after 20 months? Culture shock and disconnection for sure! Thanks for sharing!

    http://tomboychronicle.com

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Thanks Liana, I’m so happy that you were inspired after reading about our experience. Once you start travelling you can’t stop, that’s the fact. By the way, now that we’re back in Europe, Paris is one of the first places to visit on our list 🙂

  10. Brooke

    Love it! It is true that often if you can allow yourself to go only with what feels right and to continue doing so, things do work out for the best and you end up happier. There are always opportunities, but they aren’t always the RIGHT opportunities. Needing money sometimes pushes us to tell ourselves we want something we don’t actually want because we think it would be stupid to pass up the opportunity. But finding a different opportunity that feels good, even if it’s in a different direction than planned, is ok.

    I have had a somewhat similar journey myself this past 16 months. I was supposed to go back home after 12 but have now moved in with my boyfriend (who I met while traveling to his country) and will be in Spain for the next 7-8 months (unless a better opportunity arises!)

    CHeers and hope you guys are enjoying being home! Llubljana is lovely

    Brooke

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Hey Brooke, thanks so much for your comment! You are living in Spain? Whereabouts? I spent 6 years living in Granada, and a few months in Barcelona and today I consider Spain as my second home. It’s such a beautiful country!

  11. Linda

    Wow 20 months of constant travelling! That’s so cool! Looks like you two had a blast! It’s always great when you can share experiences like that with the one you love! I envy you!

  12. Voyager

    You have really been places, 20 months on the road is incredible, no wonder you felt changed when you reached home. It must have been a astounding 20 months and you are so much richer for all the experiences. Your travels are indeed inspiring.

  13. Danielle

    I just hope that in a few years time, I’ll be posting my own epic travel adventure story! I’d love to be able to ‘wing-it’ like you guys and see where my journey takes me! And I totally agree about Kathmandu – I stayed there for a month and spent most of my time with an incredibly dry throat from all that dust!

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Can’t wait to read about your own travelling adventure, Danielle! Where there’s a wish, there’s a will, I’m sure you’ll be on the road soon! 🙂

  14. Karen Burns-Booth

    Fascinating! What a wonderful read and with some very familiar places too – I was in Sri Lanka earlier in this year, and I loved it, the country, food, people – just everything! I loved travelling with you on in the world journey and your photos are really wonderful too! Karen

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  15. Tamshuk

    Wow. Just simply amazing that you traveled to so many places in one go. It has been the best travel experience I’ve ever read. Can imagine the entire range of emotions you’ve felt for those 20 months.

    I just got “atm card cloned” today and almost 90% of my savings are gone. In times like these I really needed to read the sentence “when in times of stress – chill”.. Thank you

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Oh god, I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your money … Sometimes this kind of things happen and you don’t really know why. It happened to us that we “lost” 600USD In Bangkok when we were already seriously running out of money, but not much was to be done. You just breathe deeply a few times and keep on going. Somehow, sometime, things fall back into place.

  16. Tae

    What an incredible lap around the world 🙂 Adventures like this are priceless and you’re sure to remember this for the rest of your lives. I loved your little van, did you like living in it in NZ? I hear it gets quite cold 😛

    1. Rea & Nejc

      Oh yes, we loved it a lot, although it was pretty challenging sometimes, not just because of the cold, but also because of the rain and the wind 🙂

  17. JONA | BACKPACKING WITH A BOOK

    You two are an inspiration! My partner and I are traveling long-term starting this December! We have Australia in mind as our entry point, but no fixed plans really. But next month, we’re going to Sri Lanka and India, and I’m already sooooo excited!

    1. Rea & Nejc

      That’s great! You’re going to love Sri Lanka and India, they are both very special countries. Enjoy your trip as it’s going to be a one of a kind experience.

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