Two different people, different challenges but a similar dream - the prize is a year-long travel around the World
04.07.2011 19 °C
The first thing you need to know about me is that there are two of us. Or that is the plan, anyway. So far, it still seems to be only me. My boyfriend, lets call him ‘The Duke’, has not yet bought into the idea of having a blog. Or to be precise, he is very much on board when it comes to ‘having a blog’. What he is struggling with is the need to contribute into it. I know what you are thinking – why can’t I have a blog just by myself. The reason is: Discipline. Or rather the lack of it.
Whilst our relationship is good (no, I am not just saying it because The Duke is bound to read this), we tend to make each other feel very comfortable with just existing and enjoying whatever we are up to, without the need (and yes, discipline) to write about it. So I need him to be my partner in crime, otherwise it’s not going to happen. I can already see us being completely absorbed in the every day happenings of our journey, where my every (albeit perhaps a little feeble) attempt to write about how great a time I am (hopefully) having, will be skilfully defeated with the promise of seductive prolongation of the experience at hand. And this is the point where you might be saying ‘So what’s the problem. Just enjoy it and don’t write about it (whatever ‘it’ is). Hm. This could be an option and it might yet come to it. But there are few reasons why I (and occasionally even The Duke) think it would be great having a blog.
1. We are about to do something we have been talking about for years and I want to capture this for us, our friends, family and also for those of you who might find it useful, interesting or even entertaining.
2. I hope those who have got in there before us might share some insights, hints and tips that would help us to make the most of our trip as we go along. And help us to avoid making some easily avoidable mistakes (we are fully prepared to make the unavoidable ones ourselves)
3. Sometimes I feel like being creative (creative is used loosely and rather subjectively in this context) so why not to channel it this way?
4. Do you think someone might be interested in publishing a book about us and our journey or even making a movie and we could make enough money out of it to choose our next career step based on enjoyability rather than its earning potential? Nope? Ok. So just the three reasons then.
Another reason, falling into the first category, is ‘us’. When looking around the web, trying to siphon out stories and blogs of people who come from similar background to us, and have done what we are planning to do, the number of close matches was surprisingly low. This could be, of course, a testament to my rubbish surfing skills, although I choose to believe that there might be actually people out there who would enjoy reading our story, if not directly benefit from it. What makes me think that? Let me tell you a few things about us.
1. We are not teenagers or twenty-somethings on a gap year
2. We are not on a shoe-string budget, having to choose between paying for a museum entry and a dinner
3. We are not yet in total agreement on how, where and when to travel
So who are we? First of all, let me introduce The Duke:
Age – approaching fossilisation (my favourite joke these days. It resurfaces each year around two months before his birthday. The only reason I get away with it is The Duke has had the last five years to become immune against my, sometimes dry, sense of humour. Plus the fact that I am a decade younger, woo hoo). In numbers, this reads mid forties but very young mid forties if I may say so myself.
Nationality – German (I would even say 'very German' our dear readers! (Without wanting to sound overly confident we have readers, I would like to express an equal measure of confidence and hope that my mum, with the translating powers of my sister, is reading this blog. That makes the minimum size of our readership 2, haha!)).
What is The Duke like – lovely, of course. Imagine Clive Owen’s devastatingly handsome looks combined with Bono’s do goodliness, Colin Firth’s gentlemanliness, Tim Minchin’s sense of humour, Hugh Grant’s ability to get women excited and Jonny Depp’s devotion to his family. And then imagine the exact opposite and you have The Duke. No, just kidding. The Duke is a very smart, loving and easy-going 190cm of a man, with an exceptional ability to send me to sleep within a space of few minutes by reading good night stories. A skill that is hard to find these days. By that I mean the good night stories, not the ability to send me to sleep.
He is also excellent at saving work and breaking very simple household tasks into a number of unnecessary steps. For example he regularly divides the clearing-up of a dinner table into taking all dishes into the sink, only to come back ten minutes later and take exactly the same dishes to the dishwasher. He does this, despite the fact that to get to the sink, you have to pass the dishwasher in the first place. His ability to find a temporary storage, before depositing things in their rightful place extends to just about anything in our household, with the length between each deposit varying from few seconds to months.
Profession – fairly big shot in an IT department of a utilities company (Did you know that you cannot translate ‘big shot’ or ‘big cheese’ into German so easily?! For example, ‘big cheese’ would literally be ‘grosser Käse’, which in German means something like a pile of rubbish.)
Means – enough to complicate our planning by giving us flexibility about how to travel and where to stay. Not quite enough to retire early, though.
Done backpacking before? - Nope
Preferred way of travelling – planes, own or hired car coupled with staying in 3+ star hotels
And now a couple of things about me:
Age – currently in my prime, ahemp ahemp. For those of you who have been paying attention check out The Duke’s age and do the math. For those of you who haven't, I am in my early thirties.
Nationality – Czech, which consequently makes me drop-dead gorgeous (I have decided to use this section of my blog to throw a bait (read: incentive to write his first contribution) to The Duke, so bare with me)
What am I like? – do you really have to ask? If nothing else, then one thing should be clear by now and that is that I am great at being humble. (Yes, maybe this is another attempt to get The Duke to jump in. I am confident in your abilities though and believe you have correctly deciphered my message. The correct version is, of course, that ‘I am great’. Full stop. Humble is very yesterday.)
Profession – I am very happy to enlighten you about the nature of my bread-winning activities. Not that it is so exciting, but the title of my job has been puzzling people ever since I got it so I have absolutely no qualms about continuing in that legacy. Here we go: I am a Consultant. Yup, correct. That could mean pretty much anything. With the exception that I am a consultant in banking. Need a bit more help? Ok, I am helping different money houses to do their business, better, faster or just differently. Don’t say I haven’t warned you.
Means – a bit like The Duke but less so. I attribute this difference to the age gap. One would hope that in a decade I join the likes of him in the ivory tower of corporate world (assuming point number 4 from our ‘why to write a blog’ list doesn’t materialise).
Done backpacking before? - Yup
Preferred way of travelling – not picky. But when I have the time, I like mingling with the locals and other travellers, getting my share of BO treatment on public transport and exploring local fauna in youth hostels. Although when the time and place is right, nice comfy hotel and 4x4 drive with the occasional helicopter trip are not bad either.
That was pretty much the two of us. Where does it leave us as a couple?
Age – not quite a veteran couple like some of you out there but approaching five years together and still going.
Nationality – good question. As the language of this blog suggests, English is our common language and also the common language of the vast majority of our friends, colleagues and family. Whilst we met in the UK, after over a decade of enjoying the great weather and reliably disrupted public transport, we decided to finish our cup of Earl Grey and cucumber sandwich, turn off the cricket and relocate to the land of Octoberfest.
Despite the Duke’s Germanic roots, this was more by opportunity rather than design. I had my eyes set on Australia or Canada but The Duke got an offer that couldn't be refused and the rest is history. I am pleased to say there has not been a day we have regretted it. That hasn’t stopped us from thinking where we go next though. But for now, our next big thing is our trip (I will tell you more about it in a second).
What are we like? – rather normal couple. Probably best if we leave this for you to work out as we go along.
Profession – I shall not bore you with more details here. You’re safe for now. Aaaand - breathe out.
Means – the, so far deliberate, lack of little people in our life, teamed-up with travelling being our main fund-intensive hobby means our combined disposable income is enough to treat ourselves every now and then to:
- a great holiday
- new flat screen TV (after figuring out the birthday DVD will not play on our laptop) or
- long tax-return.
Although the truth to be told, being rather proud and independent by nature, one of the prerequisites for the travel on my side is to inflate my savings pot by a couple of hundred percent before we set-off. Dreams are better savored if achieved, rather than given and I want to make sure The Duke and I are equal partners in this adventure.
Done backpacking before? – I can see a little quiz coming up. Please select the correct answer:
Me – Yes /No
The Duke – Yes / No
It might be less important if we have or have not done backpacking then why do we want to go back-packing now. I did say we both love travelling. Whilst I have managed to turn my university holidays in not so distant past (moving swiftly on) into exploring England, Scotland, Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, The Duke has been all work and no fun and with every new grey hair the feeling that he might have missed out on something great is growing stronger.
Our joint holidays have been all great, but never long enough. Probably a familiar feeling to many of you out there. Back-packing generally stretches over longer period of time and more time means more flexibility on how and where to explore, with better opportunities to really experience the local people and culture.
And there might be one more reason why we think now is a good time. Whilst the jury is still out on the question of our lifestyle’s compatibility with the existence of little people in close proximity, we like to think that this World would greatly benefit from the presence of a divine human being created by the connection of my startlingly good looks, bright mind and profound empathy, with The Duke’s ability to quickly address various types of computer-related problems in a calm and professional manner. That was, of course, a joke. The Duke’s ability to address problems in timely manner has lots to be desired. Ok. Another joke. But you know what I mean. It is not completely unrealistic if we, for some reason, don’t go exploring the World in the near future, our flexibility might be for the next twenty years impaired by the presence of a new person.
So in order to prevent future regrets, we are seriously thinking, if not yet actively planning, to spend few months exploring the World. Few months would ideally be around a year, if not longer. There are few challenges we know of already that might make things a little bit difficult for us but I will come to those later.
Preferred way of travelling – Ok, this is actually one of the challenges. Our ideas of travelling are not entirely aligned, although this might not necessarily be a bad thing. It might even help us to explore broader range of places and find better ways of exploring these, than if we were set on the same thing right from the start. We will probably end-up mixing it up as we go along.
So there you have it. This is a 'brief' introduction into who we are and what we want to do. We will write a bit more about our World journey plan in the next chapters but before I move on...
I know how busy everyone is out there and sincerely hope you can find some time to read our blog and let us have your comments, suggestions or questions. We will try to make this as interesting and relevant as possible, including practical, enterntaining or just strange details as we make our way through this adventure. It is always nice and encouraging to know someone is out there following our travels so enjoy the read and let us know what you think. In return, I promise not all our posts will be this long...
A little side note before we move on: Neither of our professions is unfortunately anything to do with writing or other creative pursuits, and we, of course, want to make the reading of this blog worth your time. So if you think John O’Farrell might be available and interested in editing it for us, feel free to pass on our regards and blog address ;-). Otherwise we will, of course, do our best even without John.