Home, Home on the Road

Home, Home on the Road

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When people find out how long we’ve been traveling, the first question they ask is, “aren’t you tired?”  Continuous travel is exhausting, that is why people traveling as long as we have settle in places for extended durations.  In 570 days of traveling, our longest stay in one city has been nine days.  On average we move to a new city every 4 days.  Our secret to keeping sane: finding homes away from home.

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Hanging out with Elenor and her flatmates in Hobart, Tasmania.

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Long-term travelers are their own subculture.  The friendships we make end quickly as we head in different directions, but often we meet again.  Sometimes this is by chance, sometimes purposefully, but it is always nice to reunite with people you shared a travel experience with.  For this reason we try to reconnect with people that live in cities we’ll be traveling to, and, when possible, stay with them.  It is these visits to friends’ homes that we are most thankful for, they give us the chance to rest and recharge.

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Getting Jill’s help mending my short in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Meeting someone who is traveling is very different from being in their home.  While traveling our desire for adventure and fun is heightened, while at home the “real world” responsibilities can’t be ignored.  Even so, the connection made on the road is often still there at home.  The context may have changed, but deep down the people have not.  It is this connection, the love of travel and shared experiences, that allows us to recharge while staying with travel friends.

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Bacon?  Yes, Please!

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While in Australia and New Zealand we reunited with travel friends we met in one country: MyanmarTravelers to Myanmar are the most seasoned travelers we’ve met, sharing an interest in a country that is known more for oppression than tourism.  These people also understood we’d arrived after months of constant movement and understood what we needed: relaxation, wine and home-cooked meals.  Their excitement for our stories and enthusiasm for travel reignited our fires.  Opening their doors to us they made a world of difference in our energy levels.

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Jen putting together a delicious home-cooked meal for us in Geelong, Australia.
We’re looking forward to meeting up with them again in Goa, India shortly.

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The experience of staying with fellow travelers is significantly different than Couchsurfing.  First of all, we share a common experience.  Second of all, Couchsurfers  are varied in their reasons for hosting, while travel friends take us in because they know and support us (click learn about our Couchsurfing experiences around the world).  Staying with travel friends is more relaxing than with Couchsurfers, with no first date anxieties.  At travel friends’ homes we really felt ourselves in a home away from home.

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A family dinner (above) with Rod, Jill and LOCAVORista’s parents in Auckland.  The following day Rod showed us a sight we’d never see on our own, an extraordinary gannet colony (below).

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It was great to see how amazing travel couples Jen and Linz, and, Rod and Jill, make a home just as well as they travel together (click here to learn about our travels with them).  Differently, it was hilarious to have an impromptu Monday night party with Alinor in Hobart, boxed wine hangover notwithstanding.  It is because of travel friends like these, along with our most recent travel friend/host Bob in Kathmandu, that allow us to rest, eat home-cooked meals, and recharge. Without these home-away-from-homes we wouldn’t be able to keep moving forward as we have.

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Boxed wine in Hobart.  You love it till the next morning, but it makes for a good time.

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YOUR TURN: What are your experiences meeting up with travel friends?  Ever visit them on home turf? Share your story in the comments below.

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Comments

» Mom A :
Jul 20, 2012

Just this year, as we were starting our trip to meet the two of you in Australia, we had a lay over in L.A. On a river cruise down the Yangtze River in China, we met Carolyn and Gene in 2010. They live just outside of L.A. To our delight, they were happy to give us the native’s tour for a day, have dinner, and catch up on person. That made an unplanned and potentially boring layover terrific!

In 2010, we were camping through the Canadian Rockies for a month and were invited by good friends Joann and Lyle who were also on the Yangtze cruise. It was enormous fine and a great break to stay in their lovely lake home, meet their friends, and join them at the Calgary Stampede. Again, a great break and the kind of hospitality only a native and fellow traveler can provide. A heartfelt thanks to them all!

LOCAVORista Reply:

Mom, both stories are amazing examples of how deep the travel bond is and the best part is every person I meet that travels has stories like yours. I know we have met many people on this trip that we will spend layovers with and hopefully future vacations with!

» Donna :
Jul 21, 2012

I guess I need to weigh in on this topic, being the granny couch surfer of the bunch … before couch surfing became a hot item!! We always think about how meeting other people from other countries has changed our lives … and it has. That’s not even a point of discussion.

The thought that never occurred to me was that I ever changed anyone else’s life. I have talked much about how Oma and Opa and Georg and Inge in Nierstein changed my life, just by knowing them and being their friend. It never dawned on me that being my friend had in any way changed their lives.

That is, until you showed up on their doorstep after your semester in Scotland, traveling with your friend through Europe. They told me how excited they were that you came to visit them. That was when I actually fully realized the impact all of us have on everyone we meet. Had they not known and befriended me, they would have never met your family or had the pleasure of your visit. It’s really cool to see it come full circle!

I won’t even get started on all the friends’ places I’ve stayed in over the years … that’s what made travel possible for me back in the lean years. And made it more fun too! And it’s always just a bit sweeter when you can host them back and show them your world.

Here’s to future “surfing!” :-)

Donna

LOCAVORista Reply:

Donna, your story is such a great example of all the ways that travel changes the lives of everyone involved. I have such incredible memories of staying with Georg and Inge and that’s all thanks to you!

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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