Hello everyone, we are indeed alive! We have been taking some time away from writing about travel to a) follow the medical professionals’ advice and lie low and b) to do landscaping on our new house. As unexciting as that may be to some of you, it’s been great to have a project to keep us busy during these strange and trying times.
While we may have been busy staying close to home and this might be a bit late given the time of year, we couldn’t help but be encouraged by how many people took up cycling this year. Most local bike shops were sold out, had long waitlists, and it was even hard to find a good used bike on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. Cycling is an activity we have loved doing around Calgary for years so we’re happy to share some tips for easy bike rides near Calgary to get you dreaming about cycling next year when the snow is gone (or maybe even this winter if you’re a brave frost biker!)
Why is it that the best places are often the hardest ones to get to? Travelling to Bardia National Park in Nepal (sometimes spelled Bardiya) is no exception. It takes at least 15 hours to travel to Bardia by a gruelling and bumpy bus ride from Pokhara or 17 hours from Kathmandu. But it’s worth it, we promise! This is because Bardia is the natural home to majestic royal Bengal tigers where you may see them the way they are meant to be seen: wild and free.
These are strange and trying times. In a few months, we have witnessed a virus spread from one city in China to over 183 countries and territories around the world. We’ve seen a handful of cases turn into a global pandemic that has claimed almost 66,000 lives and infected over 1.2 million peopleand counting. (When I started drafting this post, last week that figure was at 200,000!)
Borders have been closed, grocery store shelves emptied, businesses ordered to shut down, and hospitals overwhelmed. The situation is evolving rapidly but one thing remains clear: now is the time to stay home and avoid travelling.
We are (at times, begrudgingly) home! After the most exciting 14 months of travel around the world, we made our way back to Calgary, partly out of necessity, but also because there’s truly no place like home.
It was hard to leave the world behind, but travelling long term is challenging too. We were fortunate that Thea’s job was waiting for her when we got back and that Phil found a new one quickly so we can start saving for more travels and new adventures!
Now that the dust has settled off our backpacks, here’s the most common questions we’ve received since we’ve been back:
“So what’s it like to be back?” This is the question that we’ve had to answer most often since returning from our 14 month trip around the world. The short answer is, it sucks. We would have loved to have continued hiking, cycling, and SCUBA diving our way around the world, meeting new people, discovering favourite foods, and visiting familiar friends in foreign places, but the responsible thing to do was, of course, to make our way back home to Canada.
The long answer is more complicated though. We are very happy to see our friends and family again and we have had lots of fun setting up our new place and settling into a more stable routine. That said, being able to hike and explore every day while we were travelling was pretty freaking amazing.
Wow, where to begin with this post? We have been in two different worlds and then, after over a year abroad, we finally made our way back home. From our last post where Thea hiked in the Himalaya and then we both chased tigers through Nepal’s remote terai region, we boarded a plane from Kathmandu to Bangkok for one last Asian stop before we would return to North America for the first time in 14 months.
Indeed the dream is coming to an end but not without some amazing adventures first so let’s recap!
Further to our last trip update, we parted ways in Nepal. We had both dreamed of hiking in the Himalaya but those dreams required a bit of an adjustment with Phil’s broken foot. We each travelled solo temporarily so Phil could rest and allow his broken foot to heal and Thea was able to scratch her hiking itch in the Himalaya. We also spent some time in the jungles of Nepal searching for tigers, rhinos, and Asian elephants. Read on for more!