|Here are descriptions of our past adventures:|
We are not new to travel.
David and I met at a young age and saved to travel through working from the time we met at 17 and 19. Our first overseas experience was a six month working stint in Sydney, Australia when I was 20 and David 22.
We flew from there to Singapore and travelled overland by bus through Malaysia and up to Thailand. Staying on the remote tropical islands felt like a sanctuary and we revelled in lying in hammocks and deciding what to eat at the cheap restaurants each day. We spent six weeks just on Koh Phangan. The North was waiting for us so we moved on to explore as far as Chang Mai and Chang Rai enjoying the jungle and the local handicrafts on offer. Bangkok silk was a must have and sent home to be used later! We absolutely loved it there and found the three month visa not long enough!
Forced to leave we flew from there to Jordan for a week which was an amazing experience being picked up at the airport by some kindly retired Army Colonels who treated us like family and took us to their ranch for a real BBQ of New Zealand Lamb. Having them as friends opened doors for us which seemed surreal at the time as we were driven at night through all the check points down to the Dead Sea for a swim. We couldn't believe how thick the water was to float in. At that point we had never heard of Petra but after hearing we must go from these two men we made the trip ourselves to walk through the Siq at 40+ degrees and arrive at the same pink rock carved treasury that was featured in the Indiana Jones movie before it became well known years later. Jerash was another Roman City we discovered and delighted in how well kept it was after being covered in sand for so long. A great trip for a seven day stopover!
Egypt was next on the agenda. What a feeling seeing those pyramids. Goosebumps realising that man alone could not have completed them! We travelled down the Nile by train (which was an experience in itself) to Karnak Temple, Valley of the King and Queens and all the way to Abu Simbel, Aswan and the Dam. It was very hot travelling but an experience which I will never forget. Even got to have a camel ride!
We flew from there to Athens, Greece and so began our exploration of every country within Europe. Those Eurail train tickets were fantastic for poor kiwis sleeping every second night on the train. Travelling as far North as Helsinki in Finland (by ferry) we only missed two countries which were open to us then- Spain and Portugal so back we must go some day! Our map shows us zig zagging across the entire continent as we worked out how to get the best sleep by going the biggest distance! It made no difference to us that we would sometimes go backwards. We certainly covered a lot of ground and in retrospect am glad we did!
At the end of this we got on a ferry in Le Havre, France to go to Cork in Ireland, a rough route as it ended up being Gale force ten winds and it felt like we were lucky to make it! After doing the obligatory Guiness tour and seeing all on offer in Dublin we sailed again this time over to Holyhead, Wales.
Our time was well spent traversing Wales, Scotland and England. Meeting up long lost relatives of David's in Fife, Scotland who even provided us with a family tree and reason for the Great Grandfather even coming as far afield as New Zealand. They were priceless pieces of the puzzle. Scotland was kind to us and our photos show many blue skies even though it was too cold to camp. Hostels were the only option, just a shame you have to be out in the day time! Where do they expect travellers to go in that cold?
London beckoned and with a drained bank account we set about getting ourselves jobs to sustain us and save enough for airfares home. It was hard living there and even harder to save but at the end of the three months we were on our way back to Dunedin. We enjoyed visiting friends and family but didn't stay long as we wanted to get back to Sydney to live. After meeting and befriending a girl in Koh Phangan we stayed with her in her flat in Tamarama until we got ourselves sorted in our own flat in Bondi Beach. She has become a life-long friend. We lived there for a few years, enjoying all that sun and sand could offer before we decided we wanted to travel again and began saving towards our Wedding and the second trip.
We planned to travel again immediately after we were married back in Dunedin, New Zealand. It became a two year overland journey for our honeymoon from 1991 to 1993. Bali was the first stop - an easy to negotiate island for us honeymooners with impressive wood carvings and quiet temples. It was a great starting point.
A ferry ride later we were in Java which was very busy and bustling and slowly made our way up to Sumatra visiting the Orangutanís in the wild and Pandanaran where the fruit bats blacken the sky at night as they fly to find fruit to nourish on. Then over to the civilised Singapore and along up to Malaysia. Thailand was beckoning so we moved as fast as we could and felt quite at home back there meeting up with a friend in Phuket for a couple of weeks. Once again we relaxed on the gorgeous beaches before getting ready to continue North.
We flew out of there for Hong Kong. It was a taste of civilisation and along with it Western prices as we had to share a room to cut costs! Unheard of in the rest of Asia. The bonus being that we could actually buy McDonalds and KFC of sorts. We all lay in the room in the daytime watching BBC News and English programmes. When you've been on the road a while it becomes a treat to see anything in English! It was a taste of home.
Heading into China was an experience in itself in those days, as so few people spoke English then, you had to speak Chinese and we rarely felt welcome anywhere. Looking back we were lucky to see it before the changes that have taken place now as the world's manufacturer. It was there that David became sick with Pneumonia in the worst place possible, a place called Kashgar where they have world renownd camel markets. He never made it to that market and always said he would be back to do it someday!
Once he was well enough to walk again we made our exit out of China and into Pakistan travelling down the Karakorum Highway the Old Silk Route and into Pakistan and India. We unexpectedly bought a brand new Enfield 350cc motorcycle in Delhi and spent the rest of our travels on it. What an inspiration that turned out to be! After India and Nepal we drove overland with a German couple and a Swiss fellow on two other Enfields through Pakistan, Iran and into Turkey. We parted ways there and continued on into the rest of Europe. We certainly noticed the increase in prices so moved on to the U.K. fairly quickly! Rather than London this time we worked in York for three months before returning to Dunedin for Christmas (the bike was shipped too) and then onto Sydney again to live. Four years later our oldest son Sean was born, and everything changed again.
Once Sean was nine months old we returned home to Dunedin where we have spent the past 13 years bringing up our family of three. Now it's time to begin again....