A month on the rails

Sunday, February 17, 2013

So we have been on the rails for over a month already. So what's it like to be a digital nomad?

Ross Perspective

This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time but either haven't had the time or the money to do so. Having saved for many years and spent hours upon hours planning the trip actually being here and living it out at times feels surreal.

Living a double life takes some getting used to trying to keep up with what's happening back home and then heading out to spend the day in a completely different world at first is strange. Keeping in touch was easy until Moscow when we could easily watch BBC news but since catching the Trans-Siberian the lack of quality internet and the China internet police has made it extremely difficult to keep in touch. It's nice to listen to the BBC radio when getting ready to go out in the evening and hear the traffic news back home, oh how I miss the M1! Keeping up with the Panthers (live) is proving difficult as games are in the middle of the night but we can't complain as we are still top of the league with a game in hand! Its mid-February this just doesn't happen, maybe just maybe this is our year.

Being only an English speaker can be difficult at times but we are travelling through way to many countries with different languages and alphabets to even attempt to learn any meaningful amount of local lingo. We do try and learn a few things in the places we are staying the longest but this can cause more problems than it sorts as people often think you can speak more than you can. Sign language or communicating by calculator is best and anyway getting by is part of the fun of travelling! Having a hair cut by sign language and a few photos we took before leaving home was an experience I will never forget. I have learnt to ignore the cocky travellers who claim to be fluent in the local lingo and claim you can't get by if you can't speak to the locals as its total rubbish.

Travelling with Sonya is an experience and we all know she loves to talk. You soon know the true colour of her hair when the old ladies push and shove. I often have to remind her to just 'smile and wave' We haven't had an argument yet but there is plenty of time ahead!

Eating authentic food is great but I do long for some home cooked grub. You can only eat so many random delicacies before you want sausage and chips! We have even resorted to buying our own hotplate so we can do our own cooking when the hostel doesn't have a kitchen.

So what's my favourite travel gadget? It has to be my S3 I wouldn't leave home without it or something similar again. Being able to check emails, Skype people, map yourself, read word docs etc etc makes life so much easier. We often research stuff on the laptop and copy it to the phone before heading out it's just a life saver.

Do I miss the UK? (sorry Mum) I can honestly say I haven't felt home sick once but I do miss having a routine and I'm British through and through so will be coming home at some point. I just hope that it doesn't have to be until the money runs out.

Sonya's Perspective

We've been on the road now for just over one month and it's strange to feel that we have another 7 months to go if all goes well. I thought it would feel like we should be coming home by now but I think this trip feels different because we planned it for so long and we know it's not just a holiday it's a chance of a life time!

I would say that it feels like a lot longer than one month simply because we have been to so many different places that vary in culture and climate. For example, we started in Amsterdam which is such a chilled out place and is so open minded; now we are in China and the difference is huge.

Some places we have been to have a strong religious aspect to them and you notice it everywhere you look. It could be a Mosque in Moscow or a Temple in China, either way it's there for you to see and it adds a certain vibe.

The climate obviously plays a big part of the overall impression that we get from the places we see. So far we haven't been disappointed! We expected it to be cold and we packed our bags accordingly! I'm so glad that we did because it would have been a totally different journey if we hadn't come prepared.

This experience has certainly opened up our eyes to how different our daily lives are in the UK. Every day is different from the last but it will only ever be as good as we make it and so far all the prep has paid off!

We all take the NHS for granted in the UK as we found out recently when we both had the flu! Back home we would have gone to the doctors and got some antibiotics, job done! Here it went on for far longer as we still have some lingering symptoms a couple of weeks later :-(

Ross has been great to travel with and sometimes it's like I have my own GPS navigation system as he seems to smell the direction we should be headed. He always manages to make me laugh or smile even when we were both feeling rough. He is a much calmer traveller than I am, he's already had to put my claws back in on several occasions! I think it baffles him why I get so annoyed with rude people. I just can't help it! Manners don't cost a thing but try telling that to some of the people that we've come across. (Mostly little old Chinese women!) Grr...

One thing I will say for anyone coming to China is be prepared to use chopsticks. I've never been that good at using them in the past but believe me when you're hungry you soon learn, even if you do get the locals giggling into their bowls of food. :-)

Also I have a problem. I need to buy some new jeans and tops. As you can imagine the girls here are tiny so this is not gonna be a simple task!! I've been into a few clothes shops and found a couple of nice hoodies. Unfortunately I only fitted into XL :-( I also tried on some jeans that fitted me around the waist (just about) but they were far too long for me... work that one out! I always thought that Chinese people were short but that's all changing. The kids of today are all shooting up!... How old do I sound?

So am I missing the UK? Simply the answer is no. Now if you asked me if I miss my family and friends that would be a different story! I miss chatting with my friends at work and hearing about their lives and although we have chatted with family it's not the same as seeing them in person.

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