Hello from gloomy England! We’re officially back in the UK and have already had our first taste of proper English drizzle, as well as our first proper cup of tea. Returning back to normal life after a year of adventures is probably going to be a little tough. We’re not sure how long it is going to take us to adjust. Over the last week, we’ve enjoyed chatting about our year away, reliving the highlights and best bits. Here’s a little interview with us, where we talk about the trip and what the future holds for No Fixed Home!
What was your favourite part of the trip?
Charlotte: Wow, that’s a really tricky question. I don’t think I could choose one single high point. Seeing elephants in the wild at Udawalawe National Park was absolutely incredible. I got goosebumps and felt pretty emotional when we saw them. They are such beautiful animals, and we saw them being mistreated at a few points while travelling around Asia, being ridden by tourists etc. So to see them free and as they should be was amazing. Sticking with the wildlife theme, seeing orangutans in Borneo was pretty special as well. Some other high points were celebrating with locals and other travellers, like getting our hands (and everything else!) dirty at India’s Holi festival.
David: Realising the opportunity that we had, the ability to go anywhere and be free and flexible with our plans. If we heard about an interesting place we could just go! Of course, being a massive foodie, trying lots of different foods from different cultures was one of my favourite things too! Sri Lanka was probably my favourite country overall. I was intrigued by it since it is still relatively un-touristy. There is so much to see and do there and the locals were so welcoming and really keen to show off their country. Our sunrise trek up to Adam’s Peak was a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Were there any low points?
C: There are very few low points actually. I was pretty anxious before we left, picturing all the ways that the trip could go wrong. But we managed to avoid illness apart from the occasional bout of ‘Delhi Belly’ in India. We didn’t lose any of our belongings and didn’t get lost too often. Yes, we got scammed or overcharged a couple of times, but not seriously. A low point that stands out for me is the 24-hour train journey we took in India. We had only managed to secure waitlisted tickets and ended up sharing a berth. Not a lot of sleep was had on that journey!
D: Our first proper bout of ‘Delhi Belly’ (which was in Delhi, appropriately enough!) was one of the worst experiences of my life. After our dinner, we literally spent the whole night taking it in turns for the bathroom – I must have lost half a stone! The worst thing was that we had a flight to catch the following morning, so we just had to dose ourselves up with Immodium and hope for the best!
What were your favourite foods or meals while travelling?
C: We ate so much amazing food! India was amazing for veggie feasts. We were really surprised by how great Sri Lankan food was as well. We stayed at quite a few homestays there where the owners cooked up huge spicy dinners and amazing local breakfasts for us each day. Surprising vegan hotspots included George Town in Malaysia, where we filled up on fragrant laksa, and Bangkok where we dined like kings at Veganerie restaurant.
D: Balaji Dosa In Kandy, Sri Lanka, where we went pretty much every day while there! They did the best masala dosa that I’ve ever tasted, thin and crispy with a delicious spiced potato filling. We had quite a few amazing vegan burgers too, it’s difficult to choose a favourite! The Beyond Burger in Singapore‘s Grand Hyatt was incredible, but the burgers at Pinxin in George Town and Veganerie in Bangkok are definitely worth a mention too.
What are you most looking forward to about returning home?
C: Baths! I can’t wait to go back to my Mum’s house in a couple of weeks time and have my first hot bath in a year! We were really looking forward to our first proper cup of tea as well (let me tell you, it really hit the spot!) Being able to cook our own meals will be great. It’s difficult to have control over your own diet while on the road. We both love pottering around the kitchen and creating yummy vegan dishes. The thing I’m most looking forward to though is seeing my friends and family again – I’m sure there will be tears!
D: Seeing friends and family, I can’t wait! Also being able to cook properly again and having a fully working kitchen so I can get back to cooking up a storm! There are so many new recipes and ideas that I can’t wait to try out. I’m really excited to do some local tourism too. We really should take advantage of all the sights right on our doorstep in the UK.
Is there anything you’re not looking forward to in the UK?
C: Um, the weather! I am definitely a summer person and I hate the cold. It was a bit of a shock this week to transition from 37 degrees in Bangkok to 11 degrees in Horsham! I think it’s going to take some getting used to.
D: Brexit! We’ve only been home a couple of days and I’m already fed up of hearing about it on the news. The whole thing is a shambles. It makes our future so uncertain. There are so many things I’d like to do such as start a food business or live abroad in Europe – these things are all in jeopardy now. It’s frustrating that we seem to be heading down such a risky path and that many people voted for something based on false information. I think if another vote was held, the result would be different.
What are your plans for now?
C: Make some money! After a difficult decision, I handed in my notice and won’t be returning to my Library Manager job after my sabbatical. I’ve decided to follow my heart and take up a freelance writing career. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty scary and I know it will be tough to start with, but I’m prepared to work hard and give it my best shot. The freedom that a freelance career would give me to continue travelling would be amazing!
D: Going on another holiday! Tenerife here we come! But seriously, looking for a job is my first priority right now. I’ve got my CVs printed out and I’m ready to pound the pavements in Brighton next week. There are so many exciting vegan cafes and restaurants in Brighton now. I’m excited to get stuck in and carry on learning about running a cruelty-free business. I’ve got so many plans and ideas in my head for my own one day!
Does the future hold any more travel adventures? What is next for No Fixed Home?
C: Oh yes! I have well and truly got the travel bug. There are so many parts of this beautiful planet that I want to explore. Our travel list is pretty long right now! But of course we need to get our heads down and save a little bit of money, for the time being, so we won’t be jetting off any time soon. Well, we are actually flying to Tenerife this afternoon for a long weekend, as one of my friends is getting married out there! But apart from that, we’re grounded for a little while. However, we’d love to do some exploring close to home and see more of the awesome sights that the UK has to offer. I’ve really enjoyed writing these blog posts and running the website. I’ll definitely be carrying on a blog in some form or another.
D: Oh yes! I want to explore more of the UK but also further afield. We want to keep improving the way we travel, aiming for more green and sustainable trips. I’ve really enjoyed taking the photos for No Fixed Home while Charlotte does the writing. I’m excited to develop my travel photography further. Number one on my travel bucket list right now is Iceland, it looks incredible.
Stay tuned for further adventures of No Fixed Home! C & D xx