A journey towards the sun!
A journey from the west to the east, for one year, through many countries.
After having migrated to Canada in 1996, we have been traveling together since 2000. Our travels include India, Nepal, Europe (Swiss, Italy, France, Germany, Nederland), Cuba and the USA. This time we have planned to travel for one year, from the west to the east (towards the sun). During this journey we could either be burned by the sun or become one with the sun. Whatever it is, we will have some new and unique experiences. It is too soon to conclude the outcome of our journey, but it is safe to say that these upcoming months may change our lives forever. Many people experience life altering experiences while traveling. Some people have shared these experiences; you can read their stories in our links. We also wish to share our experiences through our journal and hope it will inspire you as a reader and/or fellow traveler.
We plan to capture our days through daily journal entries and share them with you, our readers. Although English is our second language, we will try our best to truly portray our experiences without losing any substance in translation.
Before we begin, let’s get down to the logistics. Many of you may be wondering, much similar to our family and friends, how can we afford such a trip? Traveling to one country alone is expensive, how is it that we are affording to travel across the world? No, we are not rich and we did not win the lottery, we are an average middle income immigrant family. So how is it that we are affording such a trip? Well, we made some decisions in life, and have prepared ourselves mentally to make our dreams a reality. Unlike the average couple, who choose to have children after tying the knot, we decided children weren’t a make it or break it for us. Although we can agree children are beautiful and spending time with them is joyful, they are also a huge responsibility. When deciding to have children, you are also committing to them for at least the next 18 years of their lives, which includes a commitment of your love, time and money. We or nature made the choice that this wasn’t for us. Not to say our choice is right or wrong, but it is our/nature choice and this is the one we/nature made. Secondly, we are not ones for a luxurious lifestyle. We live within our means. We do not opt for name brand clothing or luxurious items. The house which we purchased is suited comfortably for our small family and serves our needs. While on our trip we are leaving our house in the care of Shirley’s sisters and mother. For those of you without this option, you could choose to rent it out. We have also made the choice to sell our car. These aren’t easy decisions to make, and it wasn’t easy for us, but as I mentioned above we prepared ourselves mentally to make our dreams a reality.
This journey, traveling around the world, is Shirley’s long-time dream. After having arrived in Canada, she took on many jobs, none of which provided her with much financial stability and freedom. She finally decided, to not depend on her (life?) partner and to do what she had to do to make her dreams a reality. She began studying accounting (CGA) while working. Since then, she has worked for 12 years and the last 8 at a Canadian bank. This year she decided to leave her job to travel for one year. When she informed her manager, they offered her a one year no pay leave and a job when she returns. From this, we learned one thing, sometimes we just have to do what makes us happy, and things will fall into place. Even if things don’t fall into place right away, brush ourselves off and move on.
Meerabharathy has been in Canada for the last 20 years. In all this time, he has made the choice to only work temporary jobs; which, although allows him freedom, it has its difficulties. He did not develop himself in any professional field. His dream field requires for him to complete post graduate studies, and he does not want to commit to staying in one place for that long. He finds it boring to live a mechanical and repetitive life. Also he doesn’t think we should live to work, but rather work to live.
Our plan is to travel around the world by backpacking within a budget. We did a lot of research and are looking for more ways to save. For example, we for the first time are trying to go for wwooing by using http://www.wwoof.net/. If it is possible, we will try and work while we travel, by taking on odd jobs throughout our trip. If however this isn’t possible, we will stay in hostels, which are quite common in Europe http://www.hostelworld.com/. We are also trying to find a local family guest house through https://www.airbnb.ca/ to avoid tourist industries, where everything is expensive and artificial. These efforts will force us to learn and experience some local life styles and culture. We are going to buy plane tickets on the way.
Our journey begins during the first week of July, where we will travel to London and stay there for four days and then go to Spain and stay there for one week. Then we plan on going to Morocco and staying there for two or three weeks; we love old architecture and journey through desert. We will then make our way to Norway, where we will stay for three days and meet with friends. Then travel to Sweden, where we are going to do wwoofing by staying in an organic farm and work six hours per day for two weeks, for our food and lodging. During our free time, we plan to sight-see, enjoy the nature and meet people. We found this place in the http://www.wwoof.net/ site by becoming a member. Each country has its own website and we have to get a membership by paying separately. In the other countries like Finland (two weeks) and Russia (two weeks), we have found three places to work for our food and lodging through our personal contacts. We’ve never worked these kinds of jobs before and we hope it will give us new experiences and learning opportunities.
We are planning to go to Italy and Greece, where we will spend another two to three weeks. Greece is our dream country in Europe, similar to India in Asia, where great human beings like Socrates was born. Then we are going to Kasmir in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and then coming back to India (Kerala) and ending the journey in Sri Lanka on February 2017. We planned our travels to avoid peak tourism periods, in these countries, which will help us to save some money.
The purpose of this journal is to share our experiences and connect with fellow travelers and learn from them. This would make our journey easy. Life is a journey, however traveling like this is an additional experience. When we initially told our friends and family we were going to make this trip, they asked us to write down our experiences. This is something we are going to commit to on a daily basis. Hopefully we are able to find the time. In a world of social media, this is by no means a way to show off or blog just to impress others. We truly hope our blog will inspire other people and give them a different perspective on life.
We are very excited and hope to have a happy journey.
Please write your comments and constructive criticism about our journal. We will try our best to read your comments and adjust our journal accordingly.
Except one place, Hawaii, we used to fight and argue all the time when we were traveling. Hope this time we would not fight and try to solve the problems and conflicts by discussing and finding a solution. Will see?
Shirley & Bharathy.
Proof read & Edited by Nishanthika