Six months flew by far too quickly. The last ten days, even more so. When we boarded the plane to Cape Town on Friday evening, we were relieved to be going home, and ready to reunite with those little comforts of home. Arriving in Cape Town we were met by lots of balloons, confetti and a wonderful welcome home party including lots of family! It was a special time, finally being back with familiar faces and hugs.
The first thing we saw as we were coming in to land was Table Mountain and we looked over to each other and said “We’re home!”, it was a beautiful sight. Even more exciting is that I found out shortly afterwards that Table Mountain was pronounced (provisionally) as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. [Thanks to everyone who voted!]
Some people asked us what the first thing we wanted to do when we got home was, but once we were home, it wasn’t long before we were back to our old habits, like sitting on the couch catching up on TV and Playstation games! It was definitely a treat to sleep in our own beds once again and to still be sleeping in our own beds three days later. We had a fantastic evening on Saturday night with a few friends doing the traditional South African thing, a braai (that’s a barbeque), and since then, we have been doing washing-or throwing out clothes no longer suitable to be worn-and doing admin like banking and making appointments for the dentist!
One thing in particular that we have realised is that when you have been living for six months with just the belongings in the backpack on your back, and you arrive home to a room full of things and clothes, you begin to feel like life is too cluttered. I, in particular, really missed my clothes and shoes, but now that I know that I can go six months wearing the combination of about 10 items of clothing and 2 pairs of shoes, my large wardrobe now seems like an utter waste of space. However, saying that, I don’t have the willpower to get rid of it all so I will have to just get used to it!
There have been a few common questions from friends and family since we have been back and so I thought we would answer some of them here:
1. What was our favourite place?
Our common and easiest response to this question was Thailand but to be very honest, it is a very difficult question, considering the number of places we visited on the trip. The best way to answer this, although not something you will want to hear, is that each place has its unique qualities and every place that we visited gave us new memories and adventures. To break it down though, our favourite landscape had to be Lake Pangong; our favourite holiday destination was definitely Thailand, with its relaxing beaches and beautiful islands; our favourite futuristic city was Singapore, living in the future; our favourite place most like home was Sydney but Brisbane and Melbourne are a close runner up; our favourite natural wonder in America was Antelope Canyon; and our favourite American city…now that’s a hard one…San Diego? Austin? New Orleans? New York?
2. Best travel experience?
Driving the RV across Mid-West America!
3. Worst travel experience?
Getting sick in Mumbai on our second night in India!
4. Time when we were the most scared?
Various times driving through India on non-existent ‘highways’ and on the edges of mountains.
5. Best food?
This would definitely be the cuisine of Thailand – from Pad Thai to fried bananas and fruit smoothies! But special mention to New Orlean’s southern cooking, like Jambalaya, and Asheville’s Shrimp and Gritz! Apart from the fact that we got so sick, most of the Indian food was also pretty good – although spicy food for breakfast can get a bit much!
6. A place that we could see ourselves moving to if the opportunity arose?
This is also a difficult one, as so many places have different opportunities and attractions. Places like Brisbane and Australia in general caught our eye because of the similar climate and friendly people. There were some other places for various reasons, like Singapore, Asheville, San Diego…but in the end they all still pale in comparison to Cape Town!
Those are the usual questions but if anyone has anything in particular to ask us, leave us a comment or send us an email through our Contact Us page!
We would like to send a special thank you to each and every one of these people who hosted us along the way and took care of us. Bear with us there are a lot of people to thank. Firstly in the UK, Dorothy and Keith Baldwin for putting us up and even taking us to the airport at some unearthly hour! In Europe, big thanks to Chrissie to hosting us in Schape and showing us around Berlin. To Trevor for spoiling us in Geneva, it was lovely to see your beautiful apartment and to spend time with you in your new city. In India, our very generous friend Praveen Kumar who not only helped us to find our feet but also looked after us while we were ill in Mumbai. To Ali and Nigel for the most unexpected luxurious experience of our trip in Agra, letting us stay in the Oberoi and treating us like their own children! To Marion and Jade who came to visit in Thailand, this really made it one of the most special places we visited. Also to Lindsay and Hayley in Phuket, two extremely fun girls Then to Karen and Ronan for inviting us to stay with them in Singapore and for the fun week we had there. To our Aussie family Lee, Rob, Claire, Glen and Kyle in Melbourne, Jeanne and Edwin in Sydney, and Robs and Dean in Brizzy, you guys made our stay in the land Down Under really memorable and really comfortable after the trials in India.
In the USA, Dave Nadelberg in Los Angeles who graciously gave us a place to sleep even though he didn’t know us from a bar of soap. In Phoenix, Bret and MJ, not only did they give us a place to stay, they also made sure that we had a tent for our trip to the canyon-lands and let us borrow the blow up mattress! To Adriano and the rest of the gang at Newport Place in San Diego, thanks for a great week and a lot of laughs! To our couch surfing host in Daytona Beach, David, you are a lifesaver, thank you so much! To Veenen for taking us flying in Daytona Beach! To the Gurney family in Asheville, who made us feel quite at home and took care of us so well. Getting to the end now, to Renee and Vincent in Cary, who gave us the good stuff-their homemade boerewors-and showed us the most authentic Southern experience, a corn maze! To Jean-Pierre who let us stay in his spectacular apartment in DC, for taking us out for dinner and for treating us to great South African wine-we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. To Helen and Judy in New York for completely spoiling us, and for driving us through snow storms-and spoiling Trist on his birthday in the Big Apple!
Back in the UK, to Ang, Grant and Ethan for letting us recover from our jet-lag and for the late night karaoke session To Ailsa and the Briggs’ for spoiling us in Worcester, taking us flying, and to Jonathan for the fantastic Roast lunch! To Michael for putting up with us both at the beginning and the end of the trip, and giving us his bed while he slept on the floor. To Rich for having us in London in the beginning of our trip and for taking us out in Notting Hill at the end. And last but not least, to Amandine and Barry for the last minute hosting, in London and in Dublin and for celebrating our last couple of days on the URT with us!
Finally, to our families and friends back home for all the support and love, and to all of our followers for keeping up with our travels along the way. We will continue to write about the planning and the stories of the Ultimate Round Trip so continue to visit the site when you can, or if you haven’t already, subscribe to the emails on the home page!
D & T x