Notes and tips from a year-long honeymoon
One year ago exactly, on the 14th of February 2014, my wife and I got married. We subsequently quit our corporate jobs and embarked on a one year backpacking journey through Latin America for our honeymoon. Sounds like a dream? Well the dream can be within your reach too.
Here are 5 myths about taking time off to go backpacking and why they are wrong.
1. It’s too expensive
A backpacking trip, done comfortably, will only cost you somewhere between $1000 a month (Asia) and $1300 a month (South America). Plan it in advance, aim for a specific number of months, and start saving!
2. My career will take a hit
My wife and I both had very good jobs and a lot people thought we were crazy to quit them. Some might worry about the impact a year off will have on their CV. I have learned as much during this trip as I had during my MBA in a top business school. If a recruiter cannot see the value of this amazing experience I just went through, then I probably don’t want to work for them anyway.
3. Independent travelling is too difficult
There are tons of backpackers in Latin America. They all do pretty much the same route called the gringo trail. Every time you get to a spot, people will start telling you about the great next spot you should check out. Add to that the scores of websites, travel guides, and blogs that help you plan all the logistics and riding the gringo trail couldn’t be easier.
4. One year is too long; I will get bored and tired
Every country and every region offers an incredible amount of diversity so you will never stop being amazed. The freedom of time gives you the flexibility to improvise and experience things you would never have the opportunity to try otherwise, such as working in a farm or locking yourself for 10 days in a Buddhist temple in silent meditation.
5. I will never be able to go back to a normal life
A year off gives you a lot of time to think. Think about what you really want to do in life. Think about the different opportunities out there. As our trip is ending, I see myself getting very excited at the idea of starting something new work-wise and applying everything I have been learning.
In Morocco, as in some countries like India, weddings are very important and can cost a fortune. We decided to do a backpacking trip instead of a wedding ceremony. I urge you to do the same and here is why.
The trip will cost only a fraction of what a big fat wedding will would.
Instead of one night, you get one whole year of amazing memories.
3. Your family will not kill you
Yes, in some countries, not having a big wedding party may be synonymous with disaster. The nice thing about the trip is that, because you leave right after you get married, you are not there to get yelled at. By the time you come back, things would have cooled down. Plus, they will have spent one year seeing all your amazing photos on Facebook.
Backpacking as a couple can have its problems. Here are five tips you should keep in mind so as not to risk finishing the trip alone.
1. Perform a test run
Before you embark on the big journey, go backpacking together for 2 or 3 weeks to make sure it works. Also, set expectations for what the trip will look like.
2. Do your own thing
Spending 24 hours together every day for one year can be very difficult. Make sure you do things separately once in a while.
3. Split the tasks
Formally splitting tasks can remove needless conflicts and stress. One can, for example, be in charge of cooking and booking the hostels while the other could take over transportation planning and budget.
No matter what you do, spending so much time together will result in some conflicts. Just remember that what you are doing is incredible, that tension once in a while is normal, and that this experience will make you so strong as a couple that you will be able to handle anything life will throw at you in the future.
5. Meet people
Getting to know other travellers can be the highlight of your trip. You may however take less initiatives talking to people because you feel good in your intimacy. So make sure you get out there and socialize.
As I’m writing this, we are in Rio de Janeiro. Millions of people have flown into the city for the Carnival. The parties outside are so grand that no wedding party could ever come close to them. I look back at the past 11 months and at all the memories I have accumulated and I can’t help but think that this has been the best decision I have taken in my life.
Tarik from the Moroccan
Tarik Lebbadi is a curious Moroccan who had to quit everything to go see it all. He loves nature, adventure sports, cinema and photography. Follow his adventures on his blog: https://moroccangringos.wordpress.com