Long Term Travel ~ Not always as easy as it looks

Saturday August 30th ~ Taking the train from York to Ipswich, England

Travel like being on a merry-go-round

Travel is like being on a merry-go-round

Sometimes traveling gets old.  There I’ve said it…

Have we been having an incredible, amazing journey?  You bet we have!  I will forever be grateful for this time away together.  We have passed through so many countries as we have traveled around the world, seen natural beauty that left us breathless, checked off UNESCO site after site, and visited more churches, Cathedrals, and museums than I can count.


The small amount of clothing that we brought with us that all fits inside carry-on luggage is getting worn, stained and in some cases, thread bare.  And anything that is still decent, might as well be worn out because after wearing the same things over and over again, I am quite tired of it. 

I’m ready to be home, but not really.  We still have a month and a half before we will return to California. And I am looking forward to several things ahead, specifically:

  1. Transatlantic Cruise with stops in the Faroe Islands and Iceland
  2. Seeing Boston for the 1st time
  3. The fall foliage of New England
  4. Visiting family and friends as we drive across the USA
  5. Seeing Mt. Rushmore

I am learning quite a bit about myself and my traveling preferences on this journey.  Some of the experiences will help us plan better on our future trips. A few things I will be taking into consideration for next year will include:

  1. Staying in one place for a longer period of time.  Probably renting again through Airbnb or similar.
  2. Going home more often in-between specific destinations so I can change out my wardrobe, see friends and family and simply have some “off” time.
  3. Seeing more of the USA, specifically the National Parks.
  4. Planning a bit more.  This time we left much of our time open, which had pros and cons attached to it.
  5. Traveling by motor home now holds great interest to us and we will be investigating purchasing a small used one when we get home.

Of course these ideas are open to change or reinterpretation over time, as our moods change, or after having some rest at home I may be charged and ready to take off indefinitely again – only time will tell.  That’s the beauty of being retired with little possessions or responsibilities, and the freedom to make choices based on whim or whatever new travel opportunity passes our way.

What has been the hardest part of being on the road for this long? At the top of the list has been missing friends and family, but a few others surprised me…

  1. Knowing where to get things done, i.e. where to get my hair cut and colored or get a mani/pedi. (I know, my vanity has no bounds, but trust me these things matter to most women).
  2. Having easy access to a chiropractor.  Both of us are used to getting our back adjusted whenever it gets to bothering us, but neither one wanted to try a random doctor on the road.
  3. As I alluded to before, getting soooo tired of my limited choice in clothing and shoes.
  4. Shopping at Trader Joe’s.  How we take for granted buying healthy food items.  We have found it more challenging than we thought it would be. And along that same thought:
  5. Eating at our favorite restaurants that we know are “safe” for Tim’s allergies.  It takes time, some research, and too often trial and error to find places he can eat without getting sick.  Often that means him choosing dishes that are bland, plain and unimaginative simply trying to not get a reaction.
  6. Dealing with laundry while on the road.  We have had good luck in finding local laundromats, and they usually offer a wash and fold service, but it is still not as convenient as having a washer and dryer at home where you can throw in a load at any time, day or night.
  7. Cooking our favorite “home-cooked” meals.  Although we have had a kitchen at several places, that does not mean we have had a full supply of spices, fresh herbs and other seasonings.  It would simple not make sense to stock up on these items for a short stay.
  8. The weather!  We are so blessed with wonderful sunshine in Southern California, and we have missed it.
  9. Our nice comfortable bed.
  10. Tim misses riding “his” bike.
  11. Routine.  It is nice to be in the familiar areas, where things are known.
  12. Driving a car and the convenience of having more control as to where and when you go somewhere.  At home it is so easy to simply jump in the car and go.  Although public transportation is great in most foreign cities, it still takes some learning, and does not quite compare with the freedom of a car.

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful (although this post may not sound like it) for the freedom we have to go where ever the opportunity aligns with our interest.  The world is a great big amazing place with wonders to see, countries to explore and cities to fall in love with.  Somehow I think that before long I will get my travel mojo back firmly in place and be singing the praises of our next fabulous stop-over.


About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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30 Responses to Long Term Travel ~ Not always as easy as it looks

  1. Quan says:

    Thanks for sharing my sentiments exactly! Yes, I’ve hit the wall traveling… and I still haven’t traveling for as long as you have. You’re right – traveling takes a lot of constant ‘effort’ to get the little things done (laundry, meals, etc). I’m sure that you’ll appreciate home 10x more when you come home to sunny SoCal… and then start to plan your next adventure.


  2. hawther says:

    I have been following your travels, but never commented. You’ve lasted much longer on the road than I am capable of. A month in and all I want is my bed, a grocery store where I know where everything is, and not having to think so much about the next meal or stop.
    We just did a 3 week US road trip (in a tightly packed car) and I highly recommend it. If you decide to go that route with a RV I would highly recommend trailering a small car. There were quite a few spots in national parks that could not be reached in a large vehicle, especially for parking. Plus it is great to be able to leave the RV hooked up so you don’t have to do it every night.
    Also recommend making sure you hit the smaller parks (national monuments and state parks)–they were usually our favorite stops, particularly Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota, which is an easy stop off I90 on the way to the Badlands and Mt Rushmore.


    • Hello Hawther and welcome. I’m so glad you posted a comment. The RV we are looking at is a very small one on a Sprinter chassis which should let us get through the National Parks. Thank you so much for the Pipestone National Monument recommendation.


  3. andthreetogo says:

    I certainly have gotten to the point where I just wanted to settle for a bit while we have been traveling. It’s been a year and a half since we left Northern California. After a year of traveling non-stop, we have settled in Phuket just to regroup and refresh before plodding on our way again.
    Some of the things that have helped me:
    1. H & M- They are in most countries and I can always find new clothes that are inexpensive so I have been able to change out my outfits more often. (Shoes I have not been so lucky with, I have not encountered a country so far outside of America that has size 11… boo hop).
    2. We often rent apartments off airbnb.com and that helps with the space and usually the laundry. We always make sure the place we rent has laundry facilities. It’s a must with a toddler. 🙂
    3. There is a website called angloinfo.com that has helped me many times in our travels to find hairdressers, nail salons, and waxers (my main need). It has also helped me find doctors along the way, so maybe they would have chiropractors as well.
    This feeling is completely normal and eventually passes (it does, really!) and if it doesn’t, you guys have done so much, some much deserved rest and recuperation may be in order. 🙂


    • Thanks dear for the encouragement and GREAT suggestions. I’m so thankful that we have options open to us. I knew there would be a learning curve to figure out our best travel pattern and needs. Thankfully we can take our time and will get it right eventually!


  4. christinelaennec says:

    Our family made a four-and-a-half-month-long trip to Europe back in 1974 when I was 13. We collectively (and individually) all had moments of “hitting the wall” but for me that trip was utterly life-changing. I caught the travel and living-abroad bug and I can relate to just about all the items on your list. More recently, I’ve found holidaying in more remote parts of Scotland to be challenging in terms of being vegetarian, and also for my daughter’s food allergies. We’d always before hired a cottage for a week and brought what we needed, so it hadn’t been an issue. One thing I really notice as I get older is that the lack of a comfortable bed can really impact my energy and happiness levels!
    I hope that the inconveniences and hard work of travelling subside for you a bit, and the golden moments come to the fore. Coming back home can be sweet relief in many ways. And then you find you miss things you discovered and experienced on your travels!


    • Hello Christine! Thank you for sharing your experiences on long-term travel. I was surprised that so many little things were on my list, but when you combine them, it started to take a bit of a toll on me. I feel confident that after a short break at home, I will be restored and very excited to get back on the road again soon. We are already planning a trip for two weeks to Guatemala the end of November and have booked a month in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana leaving mid-January 2015. The traveler in me is not dead, just ready for a tiny RNR!


  5. Brenda Thompson says:

    Thanks for keeping it real. I love that about your blogs Joanne. I’ve never traveled for extended periods of time, but even on shorter trips, towards the end, I always start missing home. (Tending to my garden, my various workout routines, hiking close by where I know it’s pretty safe, cooking dinners for family, seeing our friends, having the dogs around, being in our bed…)
    I have gained so much from your extended vacation. Thanks for being you, and sharing with all of us.


  6. Nigel Tillett says:

    Safe journey home to you both . Nigel and Mel , @Twenty5 Ipswich . Was a pleasure having you in


    • Thank you so much for a WONDERFUL dinner. I have not had a chance to write up another post, but definitely want to recommend your restaurant (@Twenty5) to anyone stopping over in Ipswich. After traveling around the world, it was one of the finest, freshest meals we have enjoyed along the way. Wishing you huge success with your new endeavor!


  7. Maha says:

    Ahhh…yet another example of the dual universe that we inhabit — yes/no, good/bad, pleasure/pain, on-the-road/home-sweet-home!

    I loved cruising the country (the “blue highways by-and-large) in my little Class C Toyota Dolphin. At 21′ length I could basically go anywhere and I felt like a turtle, carrying my house on my back, so to speak. To me now, after those 1000s of magical miles, the ideal rv would be this type: http://tinyurl.com/pr6v6ay

    Thanks as always for your well-articulated, fascinating, and honest tales of the road!

    Love prevails,


    • Maha says:

      Oops…wish the program allowed for edits (like “blue highways”). I meant to add that my ideal rv type is a Class B. The Volkswagen Rialta is no longer manufactured, but there are many used ones available online. And I notice that Winnebago makes a Rialta as well. If money is no object, Mercedes manufactures a nice Class B as well!


      • Maha says:

        Hahaha…I also meant to tell you about some little travel books I came upon some time ago that provided some of the inspiration for some my travels. The books are very easy reads (If I were home I’d send the 3 to you!) by Barb Thacker, a quirky and delightful.author. The other part is that you’ll get some great ideas for domestic travel!


      • Maha, as always, thank you for your encouragement. We are excited about trying our hand in the RV world. Something quite small that we could take into all the State and National Parks is what we are thinking. Tim is currently checking out KOA, Good Sam, and Thousand Trails for membership options and deals. I think some parks also offer cabins or RV’s to rent for the night. I appreciate the book referrals. Very excited for you and your upcoming trip. Was glad to read you bought your tickets!


  8. Suzanne says:


    We have never toured abroad for more than six weeks, and doubt that we ever will, for many of the same reasons that you have stated. I agree that it is important to stay longer in one location since it tends to provide a sense of place.

    I am not a fan of RVing, but it might be just the ticket for you guys. These days we are concentrating on seeing the US, and we make two or three trips per year using Amtrack, our car or rentals. We are in the Finger Lakes Region of NY right now and have had an incredible time exploring this area for the past week. We flew into Laguardia, rented a car and drove five hours to Horsehead, NY where we have based ourselves for the week. It is the perfect length of time for this area. We are learning to take one, two or three week jaunts, followed by two or three months at home. It is what works for us.

    Bottom line is that eventually, we all learn what works and that travel is a very personal and individual thing.

    You have had the experience of a lifetime and will always cherish this time in your lives. There is no crime in wanting to be “HOME” for a while. Thanks for providing a wonderful “blueprint” for the rest of us. I have enjoyed your narration and beautiful photography. Suzanne


    • Suzanne, I think you are spot on, in saying “we all learn what works and that travel is a very personal and individual thing’. What is heaven for us, would not work for someone else and visa versa. Enjoy your time in NY!


  9. I recently spent two weeks re-discovering my “roots” in the Netherlands. We rented a house just a block from where I lived as a little boy. We also had an opportunity to visit the Normandy beaches of “D Day” fame; an amazing part of our trip. As we neared the end of our stay, I was ready to come home. The trouble with credit cards, parking and traffic issues were minor irritants, but still irritants. The US is still the most comfortable place to live. And the reason that “home’ is comfortable is that most of us have spent years making it just to our liking. That’s not possible when you’re in a place for a few days or even a few weeks.


    • I hope your time in the Netherlands was all you hoped it would be and that you enjoyed your “walk down memory lane”. We sold our home before we set out to travel indefinitely, so our “comfortable place” is now gone, however we do have our tiny cabin in the mountains to return to in between our travels. We are trying to find ways to make home wherever we are, and as I wrote, is a challenge at times. I’m confident that eventually we will find the right formula that will work for us, with balance of time at “home” and time on the road. Thank you for stopping by!


  10. Arie, one of my life goals is to someday have a book published. I always thought it would be a work of fiction, but maybe this journey will lead me in the right (or write) direction.


  11. I’ve wondered about the complexity of retirement travel and I seriously can’t live without hair care. Yikes, I shivered when I read about your trouble finding hair care. Yes, I’m vain. I don’t even want to think about healthcare abroad. I’m a gynecologist and I couldn’t even explain to a pharmacist in Rome what I needed for my “lady business”. Ha ha. Thanks for the reality check. I guess I’ll work a little while longer. I’m blessed with work.


  12. leahlarkin says:

    Amazing and hats off to you both. Quite an adventure. Thanks for liking my blog.


  13. Pat Dugand says:

    Thank you for stopping by and liking my blog post. I have really enjoyed reading your posts…they are very informative, especially when I have just sold my home and everything in it to begin the RV life fulltime as a solo. Food for thought and then some! I believe, as humans, our instinct is to always return home. I will make every effort to make my new home as comfortable and cozy as possible for the permannce. Luxuries I don’t need; practicality and simple is the way to go. All the best to you.


  14. c_in_b says:

    T and J, I have re read this post after nine months travelling. We find ourselves in Daegu, Korea wondering where to go next. Do we continue around the world to Seattle or spend a little more time in Asia. We have the luxury of having everything we own in a couple of suitcases. Some of the travel through India has really been tiring. A few times we have thought how nice just to stay in one place for a few months. But, this has always been countered by the feeling of adventure when we board a bus, train, or plane. It’s good to be on the road again. I see you are finding your style of travel and I enjoy reading your discoveries.


    • It seems to take everyone a bit of time to settle into their own travel style and pace. After trying the back to back tours, we have decided that either longer in one spot, or taking a break between trips is our comfort zone. I’m sure you too will find your own preferences.


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