It’s been over half a year since we left Belgium, so it’s time for a recap. Not only a recap of the places we visited, but also how we felt about travelling, and especially about how we’ve changed in those past 7 months.

Which countries have we visited on our honeymoon so far?

August 5th 2018 we left Belgium via Ukraine to Sri Lanka. We stayed in Sri Lanka for 3 weeks and then had a ‘real honeymoon experience’ in the Maldives for a week. After the Maldives, we went to India for 6 weeks and Bangladesh for 3 weeks. After those 9 crazy weeks in 2 of the poorest countries of the world we went to Thailand for 3 weeks, where we learned to dive. Thailand was followed by 3 weeks Vietnam, 1 week Hong Kong (1 day Macau) and 1 week Taiwan.

We then visited Dubai (United Arab Emirates) for a week, together with Katrijn her parents to celebrate Christmas. New Year’s Eve we arrived in Cambodia to celebrate together with one of our colleagues from Belgium. After 3 weeks Cambodia (Yentl was sick for an entire week) we returned to Thailand. We’ve visited the Northern part of Thailand and afterwards we met up with Yentl his mom and grandma to explore Bangkok and Koh Samet.

When they left we took the train to the south, to Malaysia. We spend about 2 weeks in Malaysia, took the bus to Singapore where we stayed for 4 days and right now we’re staying in Bali, Indonesia for 2 weeks.

As you can see we’ve travelled very fast. This is only the second time we’re staying somewhere for more than 4 days…

Today we’re going to our second accomodation in Bali for another week of doing nothing but working on the blog and Yentl on his company website.

Next week we’re flying to Melbourne, Australia. Next on our list: New Zealand, USA (via Hawaii), Mexico,…

Frequently asked questions

Travelling the world for an entire year is not something you’re doing every now and then, so we’re getting a lot of questions. Below we’ll try to answer the most frequently asked questions. We’ll answer some of them individual, but the first few questions we’ll answer together.

When will you be coming back to Belgium?

We intended on travelling for an entire year (so until at least August 5th 2019).

Believe it or not, travelling is exhausting. Sometimes we really long for our own bed and stupid things like cooking our own meal or meeting up with friends. On the other hand, is this an experience we probably won’t be doing again anytime soon.

We also played with the thought of returning a bit earlier and then travelling in Europe for a while.

But honestly? We don’t know yet…

Haven’t you killed each other yet?

Nope, not yet.

We don’t think we’ve been separated for more than a week yet in those 6 months, and that includes Yentl his toilet time.

After a while, you know when your better half needs to be left alone or when (s)he needs a hug. It’s not always the easiest, but you really get to know each other through and through.

We think it’s really important that you listen to each other, and that you sometimes do things because your partner wants to do them. That includes going to a nice restaurant every now and then for some #healthyfood… 😉

How much does it cost to travel the world?

The million dollar question.

It depends.

We try to travel as cheap as possible. That means oftentimes taking the cheapest meal on the menu or spending less on accommodation. And, yes, sometimes we do need some more luxury, and then we just pay for a better accommodation. It’s simple as that.

But on the other hand, when you have to book an accommodation every single night, you do get good at booking amazing and cheap accommodations. On average we paid €7,37 per night per person in the last 6 months for accommodation. And about half of the time that included breakfast (ranging from one piece of toast with jam to a breakfast buffet).

We try to stick to a daily average budget of €20 per person. That is with everything included: food, lodging, transportation, but without the flights.

So far we’re averaging €19,75 per person per day (€27,21 if we would include the flights), unfortunately, the next few countries are going to be really expensive… Yes, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, we’re looking at you guys!

How are you able to pay for a year of travelling without working

Well first of all, that’s what they call savings. We’ve both been saving money since we started working.

Secondly, when we got married (just before we left) we asked people explicitly to not give presents but travel money instead.

As you can read in the previous paragraphs, the third reason is that we travel very cheap. €20 a day equals around €600 a month for accommodation, food, transport, activities and so on. Compare that the rent or mortgage you’re paying right now and it puts it in another perspective.

Lastly, Yentl had his side job as a web developer. This income we only use for travelling.

What was your favourite country so far?

Katrijn

That would definitely be the Maldives. The sea over there is amazing. Out of this world. It’s so clear, has lots of beautiful fish, turtles and dolphins. Combine that with the white beaches surrounding the islands and you’ve got yourself a dream come true!

Oh, and the breakfast over there? Delicious pancakes every day!

Last but not least we went on a snorkelling trip and had the opportunity to swim with turtles!

Yentl

That must be Sri Lanka. It might be because it was our first destination in Asia, but I really loved the people in Sri Lanka (as they are super friendly) and the food (fried rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner) is so good and cheap.

The country is also very diverse, you’ll find a lot of culture in Sri Lanka, but also beautiful beaches and lots of wild animals (monkeys everywhere).

What was your least favourite destination so far?

Katrijn

That must be Cambodia.

We did have a great time in the orphanage over New Year’s Eve, really enjoyed the crab market in Kep and were amazed by Angkor Wat.

Unfortunately, Yentl was sick for an entire week in Cambodia, so we were stuck in Phnom Penh for 6 days (which we had visited the week before). Furthermore, the people in Cambodia weren’t as friendly as in most other countries in SE Asia (in my opinion).

My least favourite part of Cambodia must be the Chinese people taking over. Rich Chinese millionaires are building hotels all over Cambodia. That does not only mean that there is constant noise and dirt, but they also ruin many of the beautiful cities with ugly skyscrapers.

Yentl

Taiwan must be the destination that failed my expectations the most. Perhaps I had too high expectations for Taiwan, the ‘Republic of China’.

When we were in the capital, Taipei, I ended up staying a lot in the hostel as the buildings and monuments in the city failed to impress me.

Luckily we had an amazing hostel (Sleepy dragon hostel) with great people so I didn’t mind too much and I got to work on the blog a lot.

What were the 5 things you will never forget of these past 7 months?

Katrijn

  1. Visiting the Taj Mahal. It was high on my bucket list, and it did not fail to impress me. It truly was a magical experience!
  2. Getting a certified diver. It was very exciting and a bit scaring too, but I’m so proud that I dared to do it!
  3. I really loved George Town in Penang, Malaysia because of the cute houses and the beautiful street art everywhere.
  4. The beach in Pottuvil, near Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. This beach was deserted. We were literally the only ones there as you can see in the picture below!
  5. I’m never going to forget Hong Kong because it’s an amazing and vibrant city that literally has everything: modern buildings, old temples, churches, mosques, good food (Michelin rated street food everywhere!), nature, local markets, people of almost every ethnicity,…

Yentl

  1. Learning to dive in Koh Tao, Thailand (and getting my first tattoo there as well, sorry mom.)
  2. The beautiful beaches and super clean water in the Maldives. I didn’t swim in any ocean for the next 2 months because it just felt very dirty.
  3. Being on a snake boat (those very long and not so sturdy boats) at night in the Sundarbans in India for a ‘night safari’, knowing that there are snakes, crocodiles and tigers in the wild there. It was super peaceful and quiet and there was no light beside the little lamp our boatman used from time to time whilst navigating the small rivers and the stars above.
  4. When we first arrived in Bangladesh we were (and still are) amazed by the lack of English (or any other language but Bangla). The country is the least visited in the world (in terms of tourists/people living in the country) and you could immediately see why. The country is super poor and hotels are very expensive (starting at 20-25 dollar per night for the cheapest rooms, compare that too 5-10 dollar rooms in Thailand, India, Cambodia… you’ll get a private villa with pool for 25 dollars a night there) and some people earning as little as 1,5 dollar per day.
    The thing that I will never forget about it, is going to the train station in Dhaka (the capital). There was no signage at all in English so we were kind of gazing around when all of a sudden 20’ish kids ran towards us and started begging for money. They just hang around our legs like little koalas and wouldn’t let go until some locals helped us and shooed them away. It literally breaks your heart when you’re standing there, but there’s nothing you can do about it because if you give them money you’re learning them that it’s okay to do this. All you can do is give them some food (opened, as otherwise, they would just sell it again).
  5. We went to Varanasi in India, which is famous for the public funerals next to the Ganges. Bodies get burned right next to the river so that the Gods can take the souls to the next life. The bodies are wrapped in white sheets, and then put onto logs which they burn in front of your eyes. Because of the many herbs and oils you don’t really smell too much of it though, but impressive nonetheless!

What was your worst experience in those last 6 months

Katrijn

At the time it wasn’t that much of a bad experience as we gradually rolled into it, but the dirt on the streets in India and Bangladesh is really disgusting if we look back at it now. Cows literally doing whatever they wanted on the streets (in some cities there are more cows than cars on the streets…). Imagine how much dung there is on these streets…

Even though there are a lot of tourists in India, some of the locals really aren’t used to seeing Caucasian people. Resulting in a never-ending quest for selfies with ‘white people’. There hasn’t been a single day that no-one asked us for a selfie or was starring at us in India.

One of our first days in India (when we still liked taking the selfies) there literally was a queue of people wanting to take a selfie… ‘Can you please hold our baby and can we take a picture?’ 🙂

Yentl

Being sick. I’ve been sick for an entire week in Cambodia and it really sucks if you’re in a foreign country. Those moments you really miss your own bed and food.

Thankfully I had Katrijn to take care of me. Thanks, Kattie 😉

How have you changed in those past 7 months?

Katrijn

First of all, it opened my mind even more towards other people, cultures, habits. Which resulted in a broader world view. I love to see how people live, work, eat,… Sometimes it was shocking if we saw for example kids working on a junkyard or come to us and beg for money or food. It breaks my heart to see this and makes me realise even more how lucky and spoiled we are in Belgium.

Because of this new view on the world we’ve taking a much more ecological approach whilst travelling. No more straws in our drinks (only our own reusable bamboo straws), never accepting a plastic bag and always carrying our own reusable one.

In Asia you really see what goes wrong with the environment and that does motivate us to do better in Belgium and whilst travelling.

I’ve also tried becoming vegetarian or even vegan, but I must admit that I can’t be a total vegetarian. I love meat too much. So we ended up being flexitarians. We try to ban meat as much as possible, but from time to time we do eat meat. And I’ve lost some weight, which is never a bad thing. 🙂

And last but not least we have a lot of time to think about the future: what do I want to do as a job, where do I want to live, what do I want to do with my life? I don’t know the answers yet so luckily we still have a few more months to think.

Yentl

When you don’t have to work for 6 months you get to think a lot. I also read a lot of those “self improving” books and they also make you think. A lot. About who you are and who you want to be.

As most of you know, we both work at Karel de Grote University College in Antwerp and we both have a ‘1-year unpaid vacation’ after which we can return to our jobs.

The first thing that I learned in those 6 months is that we (in Belgium) really have nothing to complain about. When there is a small hole in the road in Belgium, people start complaining. In Asia they don’t even complain when there is no road. We complain about earning 250 euros less. In some Asian countries, some people don’t even earn 250 euros per month.

We’ve met some great people in Bangladesh who had the best IELTS levels in English, but just couldn’t leave Bangladesh. Because they were too poor to pay for the plane and because the government doesn’t make it easy for them to obtain a visa for Europe for example. If they want a visa for Europe, they have to show 10 000 euro in their bank account. 10 000 euro is 50 times what some people earn per month in Bangladesh. That is more than 4 years working, without spending a single cent.

The second thing I learned about myself is that I want to do more for other people. Use my strengths to help others where they need help the most. It also made me think about my job. Is it really helpful what I’m doing? Or am I just working to earn money? As there are still bets running on whether I’m returning or not I won’t answer that question here 😉

Besides my job at KdG I’m also the owner of a little web design and marketing company respux.be. I’ve decided a few things for my company as well.

  1. I’m too cheap to offer the quality I want to offer. I made websites for as little as €500, that is just ridiculous knowing that there are websites that easily cost € 500 000. What I want to achieve is to make websites that pay for themselves.
  2. The company has to become even more professional. My clients deserve a professional approach from the first contact to the last, and every step in between.
  3. I’m going to make 1 free website per year for a non-profit organisation.

And last but not least I’ve lost 20 kgs (44 lbs / 3 stone) in the last 7 months already… 😊

If we had to summarise how we’ve changed in 1 word it would be ‘less‘.

  • less weight
  • less meat
  • less alcohol
  • less spending
  • less luxury
  • less waste (as in plastics etc.)
  • and last but not least: less money

Got any question for us? Let us know in the comments below!

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Better Travel TogetherGunilla Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Gunilla
Guest
Gunilla

You look happy, Katrijn and Yentl. Stay curious! See you in a while.