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