6 Months on the Road

Jacquie and Lloyd are a young couple on the trip of a lifetime: a six-month round the world trip taking in Europe, Africa and much of Asia. TravelBlogs caught them earlier this week while they were stationed in Lhasa, set to embark on a trek to Mount Everest Base Camp.

Jacquie and Lloyd at a museum in RussiaFirst things first… Tell us a little about yourself!

We’re a professional, married couple in our mid-thirties (painful though that is to admit!) based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, USA. Lloyd works in sales and owns the blog’s sense of humor. Jacquie works in finance although much of her job involves writing, so the blog is keeping her skills nice and fresh!

Have you both travelled a lot previously?

Jacquie has done a fair amount of business travel, but her most ‘glamorous’ destination was a 2005 visit to Easter Island. As an army brat, Lloyd had travelled extensively in Europe with his family. As a couple (and we’ve been together since 1999), most of our vacations have been to diving locations: Cayman, Cancun, Hawaii, Palau etc. Neither of us had spent much (Jacquie) or any (Lloyd) time in Asia, hence this region became the focus of this trip.

What inspired this trip?

Lloyd was at the gym one day, surrounded by a bunch of forty-somethings -literally – plodding away on the treadmills of life. He came home that night and suggested we take some time out. I think he expected me to kick him back into the real world, but I thought about it for about three seconds, and said “why on earth wouldn’t we do that?” It felt brave and decadent to be taking six months out, but – apart from the guy who said “don’t you know you’re supposed to get married, have kids, work and then die?”, work colleagues and family were surprisingly supportive. We have been painfully aware that we’ve been more married to our jobs than to each other, and we wanted to reset the balance! Additionally, it seemed that we should take the trip of a lifetime when we were young enough to embrace the physical challenges, rather than wait until retirement!

China landscape, with the Great Wall appearing in the foregroundWhat have been some of the highlights?

Given the diversity of experiences, that’s a really hard question: how do you compare being inches from mating lions in the Masai Mara to hiking the Great Wall or drinking yak milk tea in Tibet? What has been very special for both of us is being able to spend un-hurried time with family and friends along the way.

Have there been any places that really let you down?

I think we were both disappointed with Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing. Frankly, we’d have by-passed Beijing altogether and spent a couple more days at the Great Wall. And I think in general we’ve been disappointed in people more than places. Russians and Chinese in particular are just (broad generalization alert!) plain rude. Don’t get us wrong, the rudeness is directed as much at each other as it is at foreigners, but a smile just doesn’t go as far as you think.

You have mentioned that you prefer to travel independently, rather than in groups. What do you think is the main advantage of travelling independently?

Honestly, we can’t think of a reason we’d EVER travel with a group again. For Tibet, it seemed to solve a number of logistical challenges, but the truth is the tour agency failed in any event to deliver on many of its promises. Part of the fun of travelling is solving the myriad of challenges thrown up day to day, and we’d just rather be doing it ourselves than endure the agony of watching an incompetent tour leader in ‘action’. We’re only doing this once, and would prefer to be responsible for the quality of each and every experience.

So after you’ve completed your climb to Everest Base Camp… What’s next?

That would be telling – you’ll just have to keep reading to find out! Our return flight to California is on January 3rd, 2008. Between now and then, we’ll continue to move at a frenetic pace and share it all on our blog .

Keep track of all Jacquie and Lloyd’s latest adventures on their blog.

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