You asked, we answer — 1st Edition
What fears did you face before leaving?
Where have you guys been until now? How long did you stay in each place? What’s next?
Miguel + Mariana:
Is it really possible to live for so long from a single suitcase? And have you already left stuff behind to make space for new things?
Let me tell you about one of the most positive highlights of this trip.
One that happened well before we even set foot on a plane.
There’s probably very few things in the world you can do that will feel as liberating as cutting down your possessions to about 10kg of stuff.
To be honest we didn’t go directly from living in a house to carrying 10kg on our backs. It didn’t really seem feasible to reduce that much straight away, so we first spent a few months dragging around a couple of suitcases (about 15kg each) before settling for a couple of Osprey backpacks (best decision ever …well, maybe 2nd best decision ever).
But, to answer directly to the question (not exactly my specialty, have you noticed?)… yes, it is very much possible to live months and months from a single suitcase. Not only that, but it’s an exercise in minimalism and freedom that I super-strongly recommend to anyone reading this, even if you’re not considering going on a long-term trip (of course, that’s another thing I super-strongly recommend doing).
You can even start doing it right now, if you’re at home. All you have to do is look around and think “do I REALLY need that alpaca-shaped plushie?..” or “is it REALLY necessary to have 7 pairs of shoes?..”. If you think about it, that’s like 14 shoes in total!
Who needs 14 shoes?? Are you a caterpillar?
And about new things.. fortunately the ones I’ve been “adopting” on the way weren’t big enough to make me have to leave other stuff behind.
I left with a 65L suitcase and Miguel with a 78L one. The trip would be a long one and our intention wasn’t to change place too regularly. Maybe once or twice a month. The suitcases weren’t particularly big.
In a short time, for me, they became huge. Their 15kg were now a monstrous weight.
And even if they weren’t that gigantic, they were still too big for some public transportation or if we decided to hitchhike.
On top of that, it quickly became obvious there was stuff we used a lot, stuff we used occasionally and stuff we hardly ever touched.
I would leave things behind every time we stopped.
In April, we found out a friend of ours would come to Singapore for work. We were close by, and wanted to see him.
He was the coolest and accepted to bring our suitcases back to Portugal. And that was that. (Obrigada, Davidi!)
We replaced them with a couple of backpacks. Our stuff got reduced to very little.
But even now I know I’m carrying some things I virtually never use, and which I wouldn’t bring on a future trip.
Regarding buying new stuff, the temptation was great on the first few places we went. But with time it grew smaller. Now, I hardly buy anything.
If someone asks me for an opinion on what kind of bag to bring on a long trip I’d say a backpack. But if I’d made that choice before leaving Portugal, I would’ve certainly gone for a bigger one. Way bigger. We commonly see backpacks with about 55L to 70L. Ours have 34L and they’re quite below the usual airlines’ carry-on size limits.
Did you feel like your beard and hair have grown faster or slower than usual, while changing countries and drinking water with different PH values?
To be honest, I’m not sure about how much I can blame it on the water, but I’ve been definitely feeling hairier since we travelled to this side of the world…
Hm.. I’m not sure about the growing speed. We haven’t had the time to run a proper study on that. But I did notice that bathing in:
Non-drinkable water = baby skin
Drinkable water = dinosaur skin
Since you started travelling, what have you missed the most?
I am not sure how bad it would look if I said “those super-awesome frozen tuna pizzas from the supermarket next to my house”, but…
Those super-awesome frozen tuna pizzas from the supermarket next to my house.
People, people and more people. Family and friends. Aside from people, my cat. The little sucker is a handful, but he’s dearly missed. Also, I feel guilty for leaving him behind (but he’s living the high life now, with his other mom and an upgrade to a house with a yard).
What I miss the most kind of depends on where we are at the time, and in what way it’s more different from life in Portugal.
Something unexpected that has been bothering me a lot has to do with recycling. In certain places it just isn’t a thing, and even when it is, the scale tends to be smaller than back home.
To trash things that I know should be recycled has brought me more agony then I could have ever imagined. To the point that I actually felt excited while reading on Taiwan’s wikitravel page that the government has prohibited the free distribution of plastic bags by shops.
How much money have you spent since you started travelling?
How many new languages can you speak now?
What was the most difficult part about leaving? Family, friends, the house, the weather, the food…?
Miguel + Mariana:
There’s no doubt in our minds that the worst (and most difficult) part of leaving was to loosen up after each of those last hugs we gave our moms, dads and sisters. And obviously, saying an indefinite goodbye to childhood friends, friends from university, from work and so on (cat included), easily takes the 2nd place on that list.
And if we could have relatives or friends visit us every month on this side of the world, we would be the happiest people on Earth. To show them some of the places we’ve seen, and to introduce them to some of the people we’ve met, would (and will!) give us tremendous pleasure.
This site/blog has the goal to bring our reality to life on your screen (and in your head), but of course there’s no better way to achieve that than by having you right here with us.
So… do you have any plans for the next couple of months…?
What was the coolest thing that has happened on this trip, which might have made you think it’s been definitely worth it?
I don’t mean to be a killjoy, but it’s a pleasure to say that it’s impossible for me to point out just one great occasion that has given meaning to all this.
Fortunately, I don’t need to think that hard to remember a handful of awesome moments spent since we started travelling.
But something I can say for sure.
Almost all of those exceptional moments were spent with people we met on the way, whether they were fellow travellers or welcoming locals sharing the warmth of their homes, restaurants, cafés or street stalls. And I’m pretty sure I’d be almost 100% accurate if I said most of those moments weren’t far from a set of bowls, or of plates, or of bánh mì, or maybe a hot-pot, or roti or skewers or any other kind of awesome food.
Hm.. but then again, there was once that time when we did a photoshoot with doggies..
That was pretty much a one-of-a-kind happening right there. We’ll tell you about it in a future post.
It’s been way too many months to choose a single moment. But, for the first time in my life I can look back on the last ten months and remember a specific moment in each and every week.
And more than moments, it’s mostly about people. People with whom we’ve spent so little time together, but whom I still find myself recalling every now and then.
The first moment that comes to my mind, though, is Jane saying “Mariana, tiraste à lagosta?”