Although our trip might seem like a big adventure, we met tons of people on the way doing similar trips. What we did wasn’t that special; although no-one else can lay claim to driving across Russia. Backpacking offers a real opportunity to experience a country as the locals would, less so when staying in fancy hotels and taking taxis. I imagine we will continue to travel in this manner in the future even if we have money.
Enjoyable as it was at times to eat Western food and use Western toilets, we oppose the general Westernisation that we witnessed throughout the world. The loss of a nation’s unique culture is a tragic loss and yet we saw time and time again, that as more tourists visit a place, it gets further away from what made it so attractive in the first place.
Rather than ticking 20 countries off the list, visiting them has ignited a desire to return to them and get more off the beaten track next time. My favourite countries were the Baltics, Mongolia, Nepal. No prizes for guessing my least favourite.
Lonely Planet although incredibly useful for it’s maps, history and bus information is not the BIBLE I once considered it to be. I was all too often disappointed by a restaurant or guest house recommendation. It took me months to realise that we were better off discovering our own wonderful places, but once I did, I was liberated. I will never give a guide book such undue reverence again.
Poverty & Corruption
The levels of corruption and poverty we witnessed first-hand in every country was appalling. The more I see of the world, the more I see how grossly unfair it is how so many people live in such horrid conditions. And worse still, those that are supposed to be helping them develop don’t care at all about their welfare. I am sickened by the lack of morals in the world, equally in the West. It seems that those in power the world over cannot resist corruption. While Irish people may complain about the recession, the drop in their standard of living is nothing compared to the way most people in developing countries live. I am grateful for the life I was born into and the opportunities my parents have provided me, for I am one of the lucky few.
Child Travellers (not the Irish kind)
It was inspiring to meet parents travelling with children to exotic places on a budget. It gave us hope that our travels don’t necessarily have to end once we become parents.
CHANGE is afoot
We are arriving back to Australia full of inspiration for changes we would like to make in our lives. We don’t think we can change the world, but we do believe in the power of one. We intend to (i) be more environmentally aware (ii) donate more to worthwhile charities (iii) be less consumerist (iv) be grateful for our wonderful lives.