Central Station, Rotterdam

And….We’re Back

We have been missing in action for a while from this space.  We have been travelling for nine months now, and just returned to the UK after 11 weeks on the road. So now it is time to refocus, spend a lot of time updating Red Door Ponderings, and either getting jobs or creating new opportunities.

\We have been living out of a suitcase for 12 months.  We are still talking to each other and, dare I say it, even enjoying each others company a bit more.  I recently wrote a piece on my experiences travelling as an indigenous woman and realised that while we have been posting a bit here on Red Door Ponderings, we haven’t really been sharing much about our journies, or about us – telling our story.  I am also finally catching on that I have been trying to keep my blogging something separate from all the other parts of my life, which is weird cos there really is no escaping it.  Funny how even though it is me doing it, I am the last one to figure it out!

It has been over seven months since we left New Zealand.  On one hand, it seems like ages ago, I read the local NZ newspapers and I realise I have lost a little bit of the context for the stories I am reading.  On the other hand, it feels like we got on the plane from Wellington yesterday and now we are back in the UK starting to plan for the next six months.

Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

The privilege of travel

We are lucky and fortunate to live the life we do. We know that through a combination of circumstance, luck and work we have the choice to be able to do what we do.  A choice that not everyone has. We know that it is a privilege to travel and to travel for as long as we have. We acknowledge and are mindful of this.

Let’s start with some stats, build an evidence base so to speak.  Since we left NZ we have

  • slept in 64 beds
  • visited 17 countries
  • taken 27 planes or trains – and spent a lot of time waiting in airports
  • had 14 house sits
  • looked after 31 pets
  • eaten a lot of spectacular food
Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain

Travelling Long Term or Slowly Travelling?

While we have been travelling since November, our travel style is that we do bursts of full-on travel (we are in the middle of 3 months travelling now) interspersed by house sitting.  This is the longest time I have not worked.  Ok, lets reset. I have been working, finishing off contracts, writing, doing proposals – and working on me. What I haven’t been doing is getting up and going to work every day, and will have to sort out some paying gigs in the near future.

One of the ways we have been extending our travels is by house sitting. House sitting has been a revelation and has transformed how we travel – and where we travel. Through House Sitting we have met some kind, generous people (and their furry companions) and visited places we would never have put on our itinerary if we hadn’t been sitting.  House sitting has also given us a reprieve from always being on the moved.  It is hard living out of a suitcase and eating out all the time.  First world problems I know, but there really is nothing quite like being able to make your own meals and stay put for a week or two.

Before we set off I had loads of romantic notions about frolicking on deserted beaches or visiting quiet French villages, sipping rose and watching the world go by.  Most of these fantasies were fuelled by Pinterest, Instagram and the like. Of course, there has been frolicking and Rose – but life is life.  You can change where you are living, but you are still you and your husband is still your husband.  And you are each others full time companion, friend, counsellor. The trick is, how do you be the best you day in day out, when you don’t have the normal everyday anchors you have at home – like a home, your friends, family and a job.  We are still figuring that one out, but we know there are a few things that work for us – our routine.  So setting up our things, eating regular home cooked meals, grocery shopping, keeping in touch with friends and family, laughing, time out.

So, we do our version of long term travel. If we are in a new place and we are tired and grumpy, we will stop and rest.  We choose what we see and visit.  Sure we look at top ten lists but we will always adapt to us. We explore primarily through culture and food (aren’t they the same?) – so create experiences where we can do that.  At the end of the day, this is how we roll – Our Bucks, Our Time, Our Choice

City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia
City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

Being Homesick

I have loved travelling. But sometimes I pine for home. Although, these days I am not sure what ‘home’ is.  I miss sleeping in my own bed, and watching my programmes parked up on my own couch or cuddling my own animals. Of course, I do. I miss my favourite foods. Seeing friends doing new things, or new additions to the family and my heart breaks that I am not there. But you can’t have it all.  If I was in NZ I suspect I would be pining to be travelling!  Facetime, Facebook and all the technologies lessen the pining. Plus having two sisters in London also means family time isn’t too far away.

So, where to from here?

So, we are back. You can expect to hear from us a bit more over the next months.  We have been to some beautiful places, eaten some amazing foods, experienced some pretty cool things and to be honest seen some things we never want to see again.  And we want to share it here.


We are Cath & Andy, avid travellers who are either travelling or planning the next trip. Come along and join us for the ride as we house sit and explore new destinations. On Red Door Ponderings you will find destination guides, travel essentials we love, and information about long-term travel in your 40s and 50s with your significant other.

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