Dealing with the Side Effects of Long Term Travel: A Failure's Guide


I was in the bathroom this morning getting ready to go to the supermarket with Ricky. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and some slide-on shoes. My hair went into a ponytail, with a headband to keep back the flyaways. I slapped on some mascara and some deodorant and was ready to go.

And then it hit me.

Nothing has changed.

During the nine months we were traveling I looked pretty much the same—ponytail (when my hair was long enough), t-shirt, simple shoes, tiny bit of makeup, and looking barely presentable to go into public. 

I realized that I was living the side effects of long term travel. They are unavoidable.  Sometimes I find myself forgetting to change clothes after a couple of days.  I have to remind myself to change my shirt. I forget that I can do laundry when I want, and I have enough clothes to wear while I wait for other ones to dry.

And days like today I forget that I’m not traveling anymore and I can actually take a little bit of time to style my hair (though I’m getting close to chopping it all off again), or put on some makeup, or even make better clothing choices.

One thing that Ricky and I both suffer with as a side effect of traveling is that we’ve forgotten the value of money. We’ve used so many different currencies while constantly mentally changing it over to dollars or Euros that we forget what things are actually worth. That resulted in a lot of stupid purchases when we first got to Beijing. We spent 1200 rmb for curtains and 550 for a rug. That’s about $300 dollars that we actually needed to spend on things we, you know, need. 

And it’s a constant thing.  Our priorities are pretty messed up right now, because what we valued while we were traveling (the occasional ice cream, a nice meal to keep us sane after days of fried rice), isn’t what we should value now. We spend too much money on McDonald’s because we can, when we really don’t want to spend any more money than we have to for dog food.

Basically we are terrible people with imaginary money to burn.

 So hopefully we’ll get a handle on this real-people thing we call life and I might actually put on some make up or do something with my hair.



Super Domesticity Girl to the Rescue, Or My Transition from Vagabond to Martha Stewart


Just a couple of months ago, I was on the road. I was hanging out with macaques, eating cobra, and having my arm covered in giant black scorpions. I was riding a motorbike through Vietnamese mountains and taking pictures with endangered species. I was snorkeling in Thailand and wandering through ancient temples. So, with all this in mind, my question is this:

When did I become so damn domestic?

It hit me the other day that things have changed dramatically in my life. I was so proud of my productive morning: I walked the dog, did the laundry and the dishes, and baked homemade bread. And I liked it (well, aside from the dishes part). What the hell happened in my life??

Ricky and I ended our travels because we were a bit traveled out. We were at the point where we just wanted to wear real-people clothes, and be able to shower every day, and sleep in the same bed every night, and not have to live out of a backpack. We were just ready to settle down a bit.

But I had no clue I would enjoy it so much. Since we have arrived, I have loved cooking in my own kitchen, and taking care of the dog, and sitting in my huge armchair in the evenings and watching some TV.  It just feels right, right now. After nine months of traveling, it’s just nice to take a break.

In the beginning of our travels, though, I didn’t think I would need a break. I felt like I could wander the world forever without stopping. I had heard of those permanent vagabonds that somehow manage to hitchhike their way across continents and I thought “I could totally do that! I never want to settle down! I have everything I could ever need, right here on my back!”

However, after 6 months, I was just about ready to call it a day. Granted, 6 months is a dang long time, but I didn’t expect to feel that way so soon. But the stress of travel was getting to me. We weren’t on holiday anymore. I was enjoying it, but it was rough some days.

Even then, it’s a little strange to me that I am enjoying normal life so much. I have a job, I’ll be starting school in a month, and I make homemade pancakes. It’s weird, and it’s not. It feels good and normal. And until Lady Wanderlust calls me again, I think I’ll just enjoy it, because, really, I make some awesome pancakes.

Happy Family: Pets and Apartments (Also, a shoutout for adoption)

So, we're pretty much settled in. We have our TV and our bikes, but we can't really get some of the other things we would like, since our paycheck wasn't for a full month. Ah well.

Here are a few pics of the apartment.

Me, cooking the first meal in our kitchen that was apparently made for elves or something.

Handsome Ricky cleaning the windows. He even did the outside. We're 17 storeys up.

Not the cleanest living room. But at least there are comfy chairs, even though they are so far apart. And look at our classy dining table!

So there's that.

But also, our beautiful little lady dog. We adopted her from a local shelter. They guess she was abandoned by her owners when she got pregnant. She's affectionate and house-trained (huzzah!).

We called her Gimley, but no, she is not a red-headed stubborn dwarf. She's got white hair and blue eyes and so much energy. Here are some pics.

The second time I met li'l Gimley. She immediately jumped into my lab, probably to escape the other 40-something dogs at the shelter.

Chilling on our new carpet. 

Hanging out together after our respective showers. 

So adorable! Or is it totes adorbs? Something like that.

Her new favorite spot, sitting right above my head. She sometimes sneaks me ear kisses when I'm not paying attention.


Like I said, she's really affectionate, though more so with me than with Ricky, so far. I do most of the walking and feeding and bathing and stuff (which we had agreed upon a while before we got her), and I actually quite enjoy it. I love that she loves me so much, even when I have to put her out on the balcony during the day or have to wash her. She's quick to forgive. 

Now for the good part. ADOPT!!! Adopt a pet if you're looking for one! My first pet was a mutt we adopted from the pound, and she was a happy puppy and led a nice, long life. I loved her so much, and was devastated when my dad told me she passed away around Christmas time of 2011. 

It makes me so happy to see how happy Gimley is, and what a good life we can give her. They treated her and all the other dogs very well at the shelter, but it's not the same as having family. 

If you are looking for a pet, there are so many ready for adoption. And don't rule out the older dogs. Gimley is about 2 we think, and it's nice not to have to worry about housetraining or general puppy destruction. Just take your time to hang out with a few dogs and find one that suits you and your lifestyle, and you could end up with a new happy member of your family.

A New Adventure Begins....Can we do it?

Hey all! Wow, sorry for the scattered posting in the last year! We've had ups and downs as we've been planning and preparing for our...