Looking out across the calm Lisbon shore, I am moved by the memories that brim to mind. It is mid-year already and time to reflect on all I have seen and experienced in my last 188 consecutive days of travelling.
You would think that after six months, I would be used to living this reality of new cultures and places and people, but honestly, I am still marvelling at the fact, and often struggling to keep cool about it all. With every new place I feel as though I’ve started a new chapter, inherently linked to all the other travel adventures, but ultimately a new, unique, defining experience that I can file under ‘this is why life is wonderful’.
Looking back, I’m astounded that in the last 188 days I’ve experienced climates between –20C and 45C, explored ten countries, learnt how to ski, walked hundreds of kilometres on the Camino de Santiago, slept outside, slept on couches, slept on floors, in a campervan, in a tent, in hostels, hotels, luxury suites, trains, planes, and buses. I’ve attempted to learn and communicate in at least seven foreign languages. I’ve met scores of amazing people with amazing stories. It is all a bit ridiculous really.
In the past two weeks alone I’ve been bouncing around all over the place. At the end of June I was exploring Southern Spain with friends, walking in Ronda, lazing in La Herradurra, gawking at buildings in Granada and Cordoba. Then, with a train to Algeciras and a ferry to Tangier, I was in Morocco, where I explored the exotic medinas and souks of Tangier, Fez and Marrakech, before camping in the Sahara with Berber desert-dwellers. And now, after four consecutive days of transit, I’ve found myself in Lisbon, Portugal (via Madrid, Spain) where I’m determine to stay put, regroup and chill out for at least a week.
In the last few weeks, it has become apparent that even while living my dream life, even while collecting those ‘this is why life is wonderful’ moments, happiness does not come automatically. Sure, most days I can’t help but smile ear-to-ear, feeling grateful and relaxed and free. Some days I’m like a jumping bean, uncontainable in my state of enthusiasm. But, as in everyday life, there are still some travel days that find me bewildered by logistics, overwhelmed by culture shock, transit-weary, mildly unwell or homesick for my family, friends and familiar life. There are some days when I fail to note the full glory of the experience, too wrapped up in documenting or writing for deadlines or planning for the next leg. And, like everyday life, there are days when I must be careful to appreciate the joys, accept the mishaps as lessons, remember that feeling a little worn out is not an excuse to assume a jaded face.
As I look back at the year, I’d also like to take a moment to say thanks to all of you. Sharing my travels is an absolute joy, amplified all the more by the feedback, stories, tips and kind words you leave on my blog along the way. You make my day often, so thanks for that.
Also, a warm hello to all my new followers, who have subscribed for updates just last week, after reading my Freshly Pressed post about Cycling in San Sebastian. Welcome and thanks for following! I hope you enjoy my travels as much as I do.
So, that’s my little reflective piece for the 188 day mark. This week I hope to jot down the adventures I’ve had in the last few weeks and trickle them out to you. But in the meantime, here is a little photographic summary of my travels over the last six months.
January: Australia, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom
February: United Kingdom and Bulgaria
March: United Kingdom – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
June: Spain and Morocco
July: Morocco, Spain, Portugal
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21 thoughts on “188 Days of Travel”
very cool! Congrats on traveling and living to the fullest.
PS – Did you sleep on Erg Chebbi dunes while in Morocco ?
Thanks Elena. I try 🙂
No, didn’t get as far as Erg Chebbi dunes unfortunately, but I did sleep on the dunes just beyond Zagora.
Cheers for reading!
And same to you, darling niece. Sharing your travels has been an absolute joy! xx
Thank Patti! Lovely to know you’re following along. Hope all is well. xo
Thanks for sharing! I finally got my butt in gear and will be walking the Camino de Santiago beginning in August (I’ve always wanted to go in May, but the time is finally right now-so here goes-hot and crowded!).
Thank for renewing my inspiration to make this happen.
I look forward to continuing to follow your adventures!
How exciting for you TPV! That’s not far away!
While May was wonderful, I’m sure August will still provide a wonderful adventure for you. Just make sure you have lots of anti-inflammatory meds for heat-swollen feet, and lots of spare, dry socks to keep your feet dry… oh and a light scarf is great to hide from the sun in the open plains of the Meseta.
Glad I could provide a little inspiration. Let me know if you have any pre-Camino questions. I’m always happy to help if I can!
Gorgeous photos! I’ve always wanted to go to Lisbon!
Thanks for reading. Glad you like the pics 🙂
Me too, so glad to finally be here in Lisbon. Stay tuned for stories about the city in future posts.
Reblogged this on Biegi Zagraniczne and commented:
Can’t count how many great places to run!
I really love reading your reflections about traveling. I traveled for extended periods of time a couple of times a few years ago. I kept journals for the most part and you have inspired me to go find them, blow the dust off and get lost in those adventures again! I think when you travel the way you are, you get a sense of your true self and what your goals and needs are. Isn’t it great that you are a blogger too and are able to capture these special moments?
Thanks so much for your lovely comment Elizabeth. I’m glad you enjoyed my reflections and are feeling inspired to dust of your journals.
I agree – long-term travel does put some of life’s bigger things into perspective. Travelling seems to de-clutter my life and enrich it will inspiring experiences, which seems to be just enough to give me a better perspective on me, my life, my relationship with the world.
I do love that blogging allows me to document the journey and access the travel-mindset a little easier when I’m back home and in need of something to keep me out of the inevitable rut.
Thanks again for reading! Nic
These are wonderful Nic, I wish I’m in your place!
As always, thank for reading Lela.
Hey Nic – great review of such an amazing trip. Love your photos. As I prepare for my trip to Europe, your stories from Morocco have me thinking of heading down that way after the Camino! (Thanks for the info and photos – excitement for the Camino is currently running in the stratosphere! Starting in September – can hardly wait!
I’m excited for you Anita! You have so much amazingness in store 🙂
As always, thanks for reading. I’ve got more Camino info, Spain travel and Morocco stories to come… as well as the next 3 months of travel ahead of me of course.
Morocco is like another world. If you are interested in exotic madness at its best, I can really recommend it.
amazing just like the freemans
Thanks Pete! Thanks for reading 🙂
well done sunshine, always inspiring to read and view your adventures. Very proud of you both. Starting to turn green thinking about you in italy. luv M
Nic you are AMAZING!! Love reading about your adventures, you are an inspiration xx
Thanks Ash! Thanks so much for reading xo