Your questions answered

Now that we’ve halted traveling for a few weeks, we’ve had some time to reflect on our adventure and your questions.

Here’s what you wanted to know.

What did you learn about dealing with some of your more stressful moments that had to be things you did not expect to have to deal with on this journey? 

We are champs are handling major issues. We can laugh it off when the camper catches fire or when we’re on the verge of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere Wyoming. I have a switch that flips automatically when huge obstacles get in my way. I can usually handle them calmly and swiftly and hold it all together. We kind of take turns being stressed. Not intentionally, it just happens that way now, which is a relief.

On the other hand, I often fall apart because of the small stuff. Maybe it’s just a release of the built-up stress over time that comes out when I drop a fork in the dirt or spill coffee on a cold morning in Yellowstone. Luckily, James balances me out and handles the insignificant stuff like a boss.

Of all the places you’ve seen and the things you’ve done in the past year what has been your favourite adventure?

This is such a difficult question, but a few things come to mind.

Having Bull Island to ourselves for a day.

Chasing my mountain fix in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Hiking 40 miles in the Scottish Highlands.

And falling in love with Florence all over again.

What are the top 5 pieces of advice you would give to someone else who has the desire to just travel for a year? 

  1. Minimize – Get rid of as much junk as possible. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to pack and prioritize. Plus, it’s freeing not to have so much stuff laying around.
  2. Plan ahead – We planned out some of our year and sometimes we just decided to wing it. The problem with winging it was that we spent a ton of time booking places to stay, researching things to do and searching for transportation when we went somewhere new.
  3. Prepare to unplug – It’s 2017 and technology has made it possible for us to be plugged in 24/7 right? Wrong. We had zero cell service in several locations, limited access to free wifi and no access to data out of the country. It was harder than we thought to find a good internet connection even in the U.S. If you’re working or researching things on the road make sure you schedule trips to the nearest Starbucks or public library for occasional connections to the rest of the world.
  4. Campground costs – We thought staying in our camper would save money. Turns out between the cost of campgrounds and the extra gas we spent pulling our camper, it wasn’t much cheaper than AirBnB. The camper has a lot of perks but it won’t necessarily save you a ton of money.
  5. Make friends – Talk to park rangers, locals, tourists, waiters, bartenders and shop owners. We got the best recommendations for things to do, hikes, places to eat, breweries and more from chatting people up. Plus, it can get lonely on the road after a while so don’t be shy.

In one year, what have you best learned about being together 24-7? 

I’ve learned that it’s difficult to be with anyone that much. Living together in a small space wasn’t as challenging as I expected. But I missed my friends, family and girls night. It was hard to be with the same person all day, every day for the most part.

We learned to take some quiet time occasionally and split up our workload when volunteering rather than doing everything together. We learned to walk away sometimes and to pick our battles. It was tough but we came out on the other end stronger than ever.

In all of your travels, what has been the most pleasant and unexpected surprise?

So much of our trip was unexpected. Some surprises were more pleasant than others but a few places really jumped out as being more spectacular than I anticipated.

The Library of Congress in D.C. was obviously going to be amazing. I love bookstores more than any human should and soak them in like oxygen. But the architecture and feel of this building was completely unexpected. Everything was so beautiful from the paintings on the ceilings to the story of the art on the walls to the smell of the books and the worn down indentions in the marble staircases. My library card is one of my favorite souvenirs from our whole year.

While Yellowstone lived up to the hype, the Grand Tetons were indescribable. If you followed our journey to Wyoming you know it wasn’t the smoothest part of our trip. We had so many challenges and I had a ton of let-downs in the first week or so after we arrived. And then we went to the Tetons and everything changed. It was like I could breath again, only to have my breath taken away by those awesome snow-capped peaks, beautiful fall colors and rustic barns that ended up being some of my favorite photos from our trip.

Most of you know that Vietnam ended up being very high up on my list by the end of our trip, but it truly was one of the biggest surprises. It was fascinating, foreign, strange, interesting, beautiful, dark, mind-blowing and real. That was the best part – I felt like I was seeing the real people and places that Vietnam had to offer, not just the tourist attractions.

In all of your travels, how bad do you miss Landon Wood?

I’m going to let James handle this one…

To say I missed Landon like Shaq misses free throws would be an understatement. Needless to say, I cried myself to sleep every other 4th night.

Is that beard as soft as it looks?

No. Just no.

Thanks to everyone who submitted and feel free to shoot questions to us anytime!

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