The Privileged Travel Life – 200 Days on

Day 200 of the Privileged Travel Life – still alive, not robbed, not kidnapped, not divorced, still fat.Back when we left New Zealand I had a vague notion that we might get to Antarctica by February 2015, haha – it’s pretty clear now that we will be lucky to get past Latin America –  maybe Ecuador or Colombia.Trinidad Cuba

It’s in Trinidad, Cuba that we celebrate 200 days of this privileged travel life.

We’re living at Miriam’s house in Trinidad and we are very much part of this extended family. Miriam is the mother and Olinda is her friend, together they cook, clean, feed and look after us, it’s nice, it’s so nice we stayed all week. They’ve even cooked us barbecue lobster and whole fish for dinner on numerous occasions for just $10.Trinidad Cuba

Looking back at Day 100 in Mexico, it felt like we were never getting to Guatemala let alone Belize, the Yucatan and now Cuba.  But that’s how things roll living a travel life, you never know where you are going to be next and why. Everyday brings an opportunity for some sort of new adventure.

Cuba Snorkeling

Some highlights of the last 200 days:

  1. Learning (some) Spanish in Xela – I was a complete beginner, my Spanish was non existent apart from gracias and por favor, so the one-on-one classes were the perfect recipe for me. Celas Maya Xela
  2. Biking around the Villages in Xela – I fancied biking but soon realized that I had to share the road with the crazy Chicken buses and this scared me!Guatemala
  3. Risking our lives on Chicken Buses – determined to ride in these brightly colored and mystical looking chicken buses. That is until you realise you need God’s blessing to get there!Chicken Buses Guatemala
  4. Climbing Central America’s highest volcano @4220m – On top of the world in Guatemala – literally we made it to the highest point in Central America – Volcan Tajumulco standing at 4220 m. For us it’s a very tough climb, we are challenged every step of the way. 20 steps STOP…. PUFF PUFF….20 more stop again… PUFF,PUFF, can you feel the pain in my chest?Tajumulco Volcano Hiking.
  5. Watching Volcanoes Erupting – Yep there’s still lots of live volcanoes in Guatemala.Antigua Guatemala
  6. Climbing a Petrified Waterfall in Mexico – well sort off, we climbed alongside it, one of only 2 in the world, the other in Turkey.  A long taxi ride in rough terrain revealed this spectacle.Hierve el Agua Oaxaca Mexico
  7. Climbing an active Volcano on Horseback – that’s harder than you think, a horse climbing steeply up a volcano and me on the back!Antigua Guatemala
  8. Surviving the so called dangerous Mexico City, even if I did fall in a drain in the torrential downpour.Mexico City Evening Stroll
  9. Climbing some of the worlds highest pyramids in Mexico – I always thought these were in Egypt – learning something everyday on this journeyPyramids in Mexico
  10. Visiting the ancient ruins of Tikal in Northern Guatemala – setting out in the dark at 4am with the howler monkeys to watch and listen to the jungle wake up was a remarkable experience enhanced by Caesar the storyteller!Tikal Guatemala
  11. Caving in Semuc Champey Guatemala – not sure if I would like this or not, was a bit of a challenge, climbing steep ladders up waterfalls and swimming through some parts of the cave with a candle!Semuc Champey Guatemala
  12. Swimming with Whale Sharks in the high seas of Mexico – this is a story all by itself, I’m not sure which was more terrifying jumping into the high swell or actually laying eyes on this huge beasts of the sea.Whale Sharks Cancun Mexico
  13. Snorkeling with Nurse Sharks, Manatees and Turtles in Belize – Ok –  I screamed when the giant brown nurse sharks swum between my legs to say hello!Caye Caulker
  14. Ziplining In the Jungle in the Yucatan – first time but can’t wait to do it again.Ziplining in Cancun Mexico
  15. Rapelling into a Deep Dark Hole – Did I really do that?Rapelling in Cenotes Cancun
  16. Going to our first Travel Bloggers Conference in Cancun – a whirlwind 3 days of fun, learning and making new friends.TBEX Conference Cancun
  17. Drinking Daiquiris and Mojitos in Cuba – me drink white rum -NooooHavana Cuba
  18. Riding around Havana in a 50’s Ford Fairlane Convertible – that was pretty cool.Havana Cuba

All of this is just part of daily life and some of the reasons I love living outside of New Zealand. This cost of this travel life falls under our very modest budget of $135 a day. In fact right now we are sitting at just $102 a day. That’s $37,230 per year for 2 people having all this fun – pretty simple really.   Imagine all that living, eating, entertainment, getting around, having a blast would cost in New Zealand.  Hell –  a 1125ml bottle of Cuban Rum here costs just $7.00.

So that’s all the fun stuff, but sometimes is not so much fun although those times have been pretty rare.

Lake Atitlan Guatemala

The Lowlights:

Breaking my Camera; Not once but Twice!

The major for me has been my camera issues which have been all my own carelessness.   Celebrating out for dinner with our Spanish teachers at a fine dining restaurant in Xela, I sat my camera on a empty chair (not in it’s case – first mistake) and somehow managed to knock it to the tile floor. Commenting that wasn’t good for the camera, continued with dinner. It wasn’t until the next day I realized the lens would not engage, again not being too worried thinking Des will be able to fix this. This started a 2 week dramatic run around to try and get a new lens, also 2 weeks without a camera was real pain for me.  I had to put up with iPhone, but that was better than nothing. Long story we finally got one shipped from the US to Guatemala, the day it arrived felt like Christmas! I was in camera heaven again – but for how long was the question?

We arrived in Old Havana to our apartment late one night and as always when arrive somewhere I take some quick shots of our abode before we make a mess. Tired I returned the camera to it’s case, but omitted to clip it in and zip the case up. You guessed it next morning I picked it up by the strap and BANG it fell from waist height to the tile floor – AGAIN.

I am beside myself and in tears this time – I’m in Cuba no less and with no camera!!!!! 3 weeks in Cuba with no camera is my worst nightmare. Des tries in vain to fix it and almost does, but we give up in the end. Somehow I just feel so incomplete without my beloved camera. It records so many of my memories and tells the story of my experience. There is one good thing though I have my iPhone and Des’s Smartphone plus the new GoPro but it’s not the same as my NEX6.  I don’t think I dare to claim insurance on a second one! Now I have another ‘spare’ camera, a new lens and an adapter so I can buy another lens if necessary.  That just added to my luggage!

Shuttle Bus Rides in Guatemala

Another challenge was a 10 hour squishy and hot shuttle bus ride to St Elena.  And then the hassle of no taxi showing up to take us on to Tikal. Then we managed to leave behind our bag of dirty clothes in the van.  That’ll teach me for putting the washing in a garbage bag! Of course because we wear our best clothes first – these were all the ones we lost, like my fav shorts and tops. While they can all be replaced, that’s just not so easy in the middle of the jungle or on a tiny island in Belize! Down to 2 wearable shirts Des goes on to lose another one on the beach in Cuba.  He’s now a one shirt man!

Semuc Champey Guatemala

Another little cause for frustration was buying a Go Pro Camera in Cancun.  Although expensive, the camera was easy to buy, but try and get any accessories or a vital SD Card was impossible.  We traipsed around for a couple of days trying to find these in Cancun. So back to ordering and getting shipped from the USA.

Internet Challenges

The other thing that gets on our wick at times is the Internet – speed and reliability of it. We just get settled in to some work and then down it goes, or in the middle of uploading it goes and stuffs everything up.

Caye CaulkerSo realistically we have very little to complain about; we’re not sick, we’ve not been robbed or kidnapped, we always have some food and shelter.

It’s a privileged life with loads of adventures and new experiences and one that is surprisingly low cost.

We’re getting to like this life a lot.

Are you long term travelling? What are your Highlights and Lowlights?

Comments

3 Comments on “The Privileged Travel Life – 200 Days on

  1. Love the highlights and the lowlights! I keep thinking about at what point in my life I might be able to do this – knowing full well that it would never suit my husband. For now, I will just live vicariously through you!

    • Thanks so much Elena, I didn’t think it would suit Des either, but we’re doing it and it’s working, so you never know.

  2. This is fantastic!!! Love the pictures, the high and the lows, the relaxed and often funny style of writing; we are going to really love following your blog!!! (Plus we totally get the too expensive to live at home part – Australia, now that’s probably one up on NZ for costs!!!)

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