Chapter 12 – The Final Chapter



The Final Chapter


Say it isn’t so!!!! – Our 8 month journey has come to a close! We pushed our physical, mental, emotional, and cultural boundaries well beyond what we thought was possible.


Although we don’t feel any different than when we left, we know we will never be the same.


The Consultants are showing up again!  Ha ha – We decided to organize our final blog around 7 themes:


1 – Trip fun facts

2 – Final reflections

3 – Our top travel tips

4 – Our top pictures (one from each country we visited)

5 – Pictures of people (friends) we met since our mid-point blog

6 – Fran’s windows and doors

7 – Steve’s book review


To all of you who have followed us, kept in touch, and left some very inspiring comments along the way – we thank you.


Our world is a special place; full of amazing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and people — no matter how far, or for how long – any time you can reach beyond where you are is worth it!


The greatest gift this journey provided us with is the appreciation of “time”, “approaching each day with the cup empty”, “being open to new experiences”, “seeing things with fresh eyes”, ‘letting go of old beliefs”, and, “being patient and flexible because you never know where the next surprise might come from”.


Special thanks to Civilized Tours and Kyle Hall for coordinating our trip and looking after us over the past 8 months!


1 – Trip stats (are we nerds or what??)


Countries visited – 18

Hotels we stayed in – 68

Cities/Towns/Villages visited – 71

Planes – 38

Boats – 28

Trains – 13

Buses – 11

Kayaks – 9

Bikes – 7

Canoes – 5

Bike Rickshaws – 5

Motorized Canoes – 3

Cable Cars – 3

Tuk Tuks – 3

Caving – 3

Funiculars – 2

Ziplining – 2

Horse and buggy – 1

Horse – 1

Hot Air Balloon – 1

Elephant – 1

Scooter – 1

White water rafting – 1 (and never again for Fran)

Luge – 1

Bungee Jumping – 1

Big Hikes – more than a dozen

Beer and Wine consumed – just the right amount!


2 – Final reflections


As we journeyed around the world, we became more open and accepting of people’s different perspectives (we were able to take time to listen to people without judging – this was hard during the US election!) – we realized what we sometimes believe to be true or convince ourselves to be true is often not the case – when we take the time to step back and see multiple perspectives before being so convinced our point of view is right – we realized most things aren’t as straight forward as we would like them to be, we learned to rethink our opinions and became more willing to change when it made sense


  • Great guides are the ones that have a 2-way conversation and show interest in their clients’ vs only communicating one-way
  • Without exception – every person we talked to under 40 wants globalization, an open world, and flexibility to work in different countries
  • We now get the “importance of the environment” and how critical it is to conserve where possible, protect our resources, protect our water, and look for new and innovative ways to reduce global warming.  There are many places in the world who have massive challenges in these areas
  • We are so influenced by extremist (both religious and political) that we sometimes forget the vast majority of people just want to live in peace and be happy.  Extremists promote fear and anger to gain influence and control – we must constantly fight against generalizations and remember to be tolerant
  • We have learned to never move forward from a negative point of view – it serves no purpose except to bring down ourselves or others
  • At a very basic level people are the same (they want to be loved, be safe, earn a decent living for their families and be happy) – however, people are very different culturally in there thinking and attitudes — someone in Germany does not see the world the same way as someone from India or Singapore or Australia or Ecuador, this makes the world interesting, challenging and richer – after all – it is what makes the world go round and people were our favourite part of the whole trip!


3 – Our top travel tips


  • Your go to sweater or jacket will be the one you least expect it to be
  • Vacuum packs are a must for packing clothes economically
  • Take a small speaker (we took a JBL) – we played music all over the world and had many small dance parties!
  • A great small set of binoculars is a great investment (one we should have made)
  • Patience – the journey is 50% of the experience
  • Budget a lot more to cover bank fees when withdrawing local currencies from ATMs – this was a huge disappointment!
  • Think thru your camera needs, if too big and bulky it reduces flexibility if you are going to multiple locations.  The iPhone’s and a GoPro for water pictures took care of all our needs
  • Having our 2-iPads and a HDMI cord to connect them to TVs was great


4 – Our top pictures (one from each country — this was not easy!)     At the bottom of the blog


5 – Pictures of people we met along the way since our mid-way blog    At the bottom of the blog


6 – Fran’s Windows and Doors    At the bottom of the blog


A curious thought… for over 20 years I have been taking pictures of windows and doors. Over the last 8 months of travelling around the world doors and windows became increasingly more interesting to me.   Some are plain, some ornate, some powerful, some humbling, some artistically detailed and some just haunting.
For me they provide an opening and a closing; inspire mystical stories, provide new experiences and adventures, create new ideas and opportunities, reminds me of what was and what might be – they allow my imagination to run wild!
Here are but a few samples of glimpses into the future and the past. At the bottom of the blog


7 – Steve’s book review


The following books were recommended to me by various individuals we met on our travels.  I rated them on a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being not worth the time to read to 10 being outstanding – a must read!  Whether reading at the end of a busy day, or on a beach, or a boat, or a train, or plane, a good book adds to any journey!


1 – Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson — 7

2 – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows — 7

3 – Too good to be True by Ann Cleeves — 4

4 – Make Me by Lee Child — 6

5 – The Once and Future King by T H White — 7

6 – The House with No Rooms by Lesley Thomson — 7

7 – The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins — 8

8 – Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer — 6

9 – The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith— 7

10 – Nutshell by Ian McEwan — 7

11 – The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime by Mark Hadden — 7

12 – Small great things by Jodi Picoult  — 7

13 – A Fine Balance by Robinson Mistry & Pico Lyer — 8

14 – The Return by Hisham Matar — still being read —7


We are home!


Making it So,


Fran and Steve







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