4 Years Of Travel and Now We're Headed Home......

Written from San José, Costa Rica on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
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Four years ago today we arrived in Dublin Ireland and began this crazy world tour. After 4 years of exploring, wandering, discovering and gallivanting we have finally almost made the full circle of the World Tour!!!! Tomorrow Chris (the Gentleman Adventurer), Spidey (our navigator) and I will be back in Toronto where we started this trip 1464 days before :). That is IF the Canadian customs officers decide to let a couple backpackers back in the country :)....................................

I hear Canada is a wonderful country to visit. and since we have just over a week there it should be no problem to see all the highlights :). We will arrive in Toronto the night of the 9th May and already pre-booked some home stays for our first couple nights. I'm hoping to buy some mukluks and a heavy scarf to keep me warm. Hopefully the people running the home stay will help us book a dogsled ride where we can see the polar bears. So exciting!!!! Lonely Planet has warned that there have been violent attacks from Timbits in the GTA area!! Because of the wild Timbits we have decided to rent a car for the weekend and plan to go to beautiful Lake Louise, the Rocky Mountains and Vancouver before back in Toronto area for a night. Then we will head to the French area of the country and see Montreal. I can hardly wait to try poutine with maple syrup (traditional dish). It should be a fun adventure. I hear Canadians are very friendly and I am trying to learn some of the local dialect like... Oout an aboot.. and saying Eh as much as possible as well as adding extra U's to as many words as possible, so I will blend in better. I also want to try out other exotic food like back bacon on a bun, and moose meat, and wash it down with Canada Dry and Canadian Club Whisky (known as CC and ginger). YAHOOOO!!!!

Ok just joking, but honestly over the last 4 years I can't even tell you how many times we have walked into a country and were so ignorant about it, and we said things just as silly :). Fortunately there are a lot of good-natured people that we shared a laugh with. You have to laugh at yourself while travelling, otherwise you're the only one not rolling on the floor in hysterics. Tee hee, all good. And anyone reading this and doesn't get it you should come visit Canada....... for longer than a  week and I'll show and tell ya about it :).

I know I have said it before, but I had no idea this one year trip could possibly stretch so long. It wouldn't have been possible without the support of family and friends via the internet. The people we have met along the way who were so helpful with ideas and advise, traveled along with us, shared a drink, and opened their doors to us. Also Couchsurfing played a hand several times when we needed it and helped us to meet even more good people who now I call friends. Once we are settled we'll finally start taking Couchsurfers and have a couch for any friends who want to come and visit us for awhile. It's an open invite to everyone and no time limit on it. Just email and if we have space you will always be welcome :). Besides I will be desperate to hear about other peoples adventures and learn about places we missed along the way :).

Soooo just because the trip is coming to end I'll still give you an overview of where we went this past year. We've added 9 more countries bringing us to a total of 51 countries!!! May last year we were in New Zealand where we spent a few more months before heading to Tonga!!! Tonga was fabulous and my ultimate highlights there were on Vava'u Island where we got to swim with a mom and baby whale, manta rays too  :). Yahooo!!! Both things I will never forget :). From there we headed over to the gorgeous islands of Fiji. I fell in love with a little island called Nananu-i-ra snorkeling every day and eating coconuts all the time :). We also stayed at our friend Amir's place in Suva which was really nice before heading to the Garden Island of Taveuni where we picked our own fruit and had blended rum drinks with Luke and Kendall (a couple we worked with in Rotorua). Then a change of pace and off to Argentina!!! The country with Buenos Aires where we spent two one month visits (first time because of my infected leg, second because of theft) before seeing spectacular Iguazu Falls (from the Brazil side as well), and Salta area. Uruguay we liked so much we went back a second time to Colonia with Chris' aunt Heather who was visiting us. From there Northern Chile and the Atacama Desert were amazing (although the driest desert in the world had flooding...). Bolivia where once we caught our breath saw some crazy landscape , bought dynamite after drinking a shot of 97% alcohol women with their long braids and bowler caps :). Bolivia is beautiful but after the wonderful buses in Argentina (see post on the whisky bus) it was slow going on crazy roads...... We finished off the continent dashing around Peru seeing all the southern highlights including Machu Picchu, and the Colca Canyon :). Now we are in beautiful Costa Rica where we had great plans to see much of the diverse county, but after arriving at the Caribbean Sea fell in love with the Sloths and decided to follow their lead and have a Holiday after our Adventures. (Most of the links above are to the photo's of each place. If you want to see the Babble click on Back to the Map!, and then More Babble on the Post card you want to read :))

For the people who think traveling around the world is a vacation.... well try it and you can tell me :). I know the people who have done some backpacking know that sometimes it's not all smooth trails. It is worth it though and I'm so happy that I did this trip. A lot of the world is very inexpensive to visit (after the flights are done) and it really is possible to go with barely any planning and just see where you end up. Also I think I've proved that you don't have to be 20 years old and in great health to do it :).

So this is my last half day of  "vacation" since we had to take the bus back to San Jose at 11AM. We woke up extra early and headed to the beach :). The Caribbean Sea was the calmest I have seen it since we arrived. Normally when I head to the beach here I jump and play in the waves, but today it was crazy calm and so clear you could see perfectly. In fact after we swam out a bit both of our shadows decided to swim away from us. We tried chasing and catching them but couldn't get them to stay attached!!! Eventually we did finally catch them and wrestle them back to shore where we could sew them back in place. Talk about Peter Pan Syndrome!!! Tee hee

So tomorrow we are flying home...... The last couple months I've been really nervous and worried about heading back, but now I am getting excited. It's been 4 years since I've seen friends and family and I can't wait :). Chris has posted a bunch of lists to summarize the trip (Chris Liberty Highlights) that you may want to see. His latest were 20 Things I'm Looking Forward to About Going Home, and 15 Toronto Restaurants I've Missed ..... I feel the same way about most of them so please take a look at his so I don't have to bother making my own :) Tee hee.

CANADA EH!! The adventures are definitely not over yet. Once we arrive home we will have a lot of things to keep us busy.... family and friends to see..... food that I missed to eat..... and of course little things like finding a new place to live, and a new job. Yep another Adventure, and I think I am up for the challenge.

This trip has meant so much to me. I've seen places I have always wanted to see, and others that I had never known existed. It's been a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs but worth the ticket. I have spent every penny I had and don't regret it at all. Before the trip I was in a rut and restless to break free. Yes this may have been a rather extreme way to get out of it, but All or Nothing!!!! Tee hee. I hope that all the adventures I have been through, I can keep in my heart, and break some of my old habits and start adding adventure to every day life. There really is a ton of things I can do in one place it's only limit is my imagination.... and possibly by pocket book :).

I'm so glad I did this trip and couldn't ask for a better travel partner. Chris and I have had to learn to read and accommodate with each others moods. Try to comfort each other in time of need, and give the other space when needed. I'm a chatterbox at the best of times (no it's true), and Chris by nature a quiet man who likes his space. Somehow in the last four years we've made it work and whenever I see anything cool or beautiful I automatically look for him to share it :). We had never lived together before this trip and jumped straight from living in two different cities to 24/7 together. There's been a lot of compromises from both of us, but we made it work :).

I don't want to make this even longer, but I have seen so many places and things. Met so many people with different cultures, beliefs and views of the world. It's just good to know that there are mostly good people in this world and that are just living their lives peacefully and willing to help out a stranger. There are of course a few that steal and make your life a living hell, but luckily they are in the minority. I've learned a lot from my time away and although it's still me, I hope I'm a better person from it... at the very least after more then 20 000 photos hopefully a better photographer :). Chris and I both have pages with some fun statistics that if you get a chance there are lovely charts and things :). My favourite on my Trip Statistics is the last chart titled Countries. And Chris' World Tour Statistics has a ton of cool stats that I never thought about adding, and later didn't want to steal :). I hope you like the site and maybe someday I will get to add more to it.... but for now....

The only question remaining is will Spidey stop or will he start a second round the world tour??? Keep Checking Spidey's World Tour page and see :). Oh and because I just don't have enough links here is one more with all my World Tour videos :). Keep the volume DOWN since it's often the sound of wind :)... but still fun to watch. Also here are links to the summaries of each year in order from India, Indonesia and New Zealand

Thanks everyone for reading this, and once I get settled hopefully I can catch up on some overdue emails.

Sheryl the World Traveler!!!!

PS. I will add at least one more post about home :)

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Nice plane and I love when they mist it so you don\\\'t get headaches :). LACSA flight San Salvador to Toronto Free rum on the flight San Jose to San Salvador. Thank you LACSA Air :) Cockpit door open when I got on our second flight :). LACSA Air San Salvador to Toronto :) Free rums and coke on the flight San Jose to San Salvador. Thank you LACSA Air :) Chris and I enjoying our drinks on our LACSA flight from San Jose to San Salvador Cockpit open when I got on our second flight :). LACSA Air San Salvador to Toronto :) First flight San Jose to San Salvador. Just follow the arrows. Our last hostel room for the trip, Chris\\\' packs on the left, and mine on the right. San Jose, Costa Rica Nice plane and I love when they mist it so you don\\\'t get headaches :). LACSA flight San Salvador to Toronto
May 9th, 2012

It was an honour to meet both you and Chris at the beginning of your adventure all those years ago (It feels so long ago as I now have a 2 and a half year old who didn’t exist when I first met you!) Can’t believe you have travelled for 4 years, but your stats, facts, photos and Chris’ lists have kept me up to date and entertained.
Enjoy going home and reaquainting yourself with Canada - I look forward to the homecoming posts, and if you ever find yourself in England, do look us up, would be lovely to see you both again.
Kate xxxx

Kate Whittaker
May 9th, 2012

What a pity you are not returning home via South Africa …. Shall be most interested to hear how you guys get to settle down again once you are home. I cant imagine how it will be for you because with me, after spending, say, three months in Canada, when I get home I just want to “hump my bluey” and be on the road again. Good luck - hope to see you over there. Will be with Pauline from 12 September until after New Year.

Joan Jones
May 9th, 2012

What an awesome ride my friend!!! I hope to one day do the same as you have done.. I’ve loved readin about all your adventures, and wish it didn’t have to stop :( You’ll just have to go on lots of little adventures in Canada and set up a new blog!! - Finding Sheryl Canadian style!!! I hope you are greeted by friends and family at the airport, all with massive hugs and kisses for you! Stay safe m’ dear and keep in touch :)
Marion

Marion
May 9th, 2012

A great way to wind down by recapturing your wayward shadow. I’m wary of Spidey though, he could have caught something due to its overly friendly behavior. A quarantine at the Toronto airport may be good for him…..tee hee.

WongCC
May 9th, 2012

Sheryl! Chris! Home?!?!? I can hardly believe it. It will seriously be a big adventure. I wish you all the best with the adjustment, and if you ever need to escape back to Ireland, be sure to let me know. ;) I’ve been watching your pictures, maps and statistics pages all along (even if I’ve gotten VERY slack with blog comments) and I’m still as blown away as ever by the amazing things you’ve seen, done and travelled by. :D I love your account of “one week in Canada” - LOL. SOMEDAY. The very, very best of luck to you both, and do keep in touch and up to date!

Mary
May 9th, 2012

PS - That you experienced flooding in the driest (and least life-accommodating) place on the planet really entertains me. One of many, many highlights. Definitely unique!

Mary
May 24th, 2012

Wow guys.. This must be a strange ‘back home feeling..
It’s a while ago we traveled together for a short time but Wessel and I think a lot about your great adventures. We wish you all the luck and I’m glad you spread the positive words about our world and it’s different beautiful characters.
Well..Have a good time in Canada!!!
Marleen / wessel

Marleen (met in SA, from Netherlands)
May 24th, 2012

Marleen, Chris and I have never forgotten you and Wessel. We had so much fun driving around with you guys, climbing through caves, jumping in waves and riding on ostridges :). YAY!!!!

It’s been pretty crazy to be back home and definitley a strange feeling. Maybe you guys can head this way sometime and we can have more adventures :).

Thanks for writting and I’ll send a proper email soon

Sheryl

 

Sheryl

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