Last night it was our 5 year anniversary.
I couldn’t sleep.
Hours of non-stop ceiling staring.
Turn one way. Adjust the pillow. Sigh.
Turn the other way. Re-fluff the pillow.
Sigh more heavily and hope Kellie is also awake to share my insomnia. Then we can sit up and watch crap Netflix films into the early hours.
I feel a little bit of irrational hatred towards her, all smug in a blissful deep sleep.
Repeat hundreds of times and add in lots of feet fidgeting.
But for once I didn’t mind the insomnia too much.
I’m excited, we have new plans!
For a while we have been a bit meh about our travels.
I wasn’t entirely sure why. We’ve had some wonderful house sits, met lovely people, and have an exciting 3 month adventure planned for South America.
What the hell is wrong with us?
I know we are extremely fortunate. But nothing has made us giddy with excitement for a while. We have become nonchalant.
Then yesterday everything changed. We regained our travel bug and now I can no longer sleep at night…
It was the day of our 5th Anniversary.
5 years since we first met. I’m not going to write a soppy post about how much I love this stupid face…
For that you can read last year’s post on our 4-year anniversary.
Instead Kellie surprised me with an idea.
I’m not sure what makes me happier. The cool idea, or the fact that after she can still surprise me after all this time.
Before I reveal the ‘Big Idea’ First I need to explain something (don’t go skipping to the end it will only spoil it).
Over the last 13 months Kel has been ill.
Yep, I know she has mentioned it in several posts, but if anything she has underplayed it.
She knows there will always be others who have it much worse than her so doesn’t want to moan. So instead I will moan for her.
It’s not a life threatening illness; basically the parasites she picked up in Mexico have wrecked her guts and made her digestive system a haven to any bugs or parasites looking for a new home.
It’s a bit like having a really bad hangover for an entire year.
After every meal she feels sick. She wakes up she feels sick. She has a drink of water she feels sick. She wakes up in the middle of the night feeling sick. You get the picture.
Then there are the side effects from bad digestion, which I am sure you can imagine without the need for a diagram.
Her diet has changed dramatically. I think the name Hungry Escapades gives it away; we both love our food and would try practically anything at least once.
Now, the list of restriction dietary restrictions for Kellie is almost endless. We slowly discovered what worked and what didn’t for her gut, after many MANY months.
Even with this strict diet the sickness would still come.
It’s an extremely healthy diet granted, but when you are travelling the world you want to sample all the local food and not worry about what’s in it.
One positive – we discovered how delicious raw vegan food can be – Raw chilli
Plus all this healthy food can be quite hard to source in some countries, unless you are happy eating veggies, rice and porridge every single day.
Put simply, though not deadly, it’s a struggle. It starts to weigh you down mentally as much as it does physically.
After nearly 13 months of this, going from doctor to doctor, paying hundreds of pounds for them to test, prescribe and ‘cure’ her. Nothing worked.
She continued to lose weight and was quickly evaporating.
Although all Kellie’s last medical test were clear of bugs, it was obvious something still wasn’t right.
Finally in December we got time to settle in Canada and she went to see a Naturopath, who listened to her problems and had personal experience with parasites.
If I ever meet this Naturopath, I would make her feel extremely awkward by repeatedly kissing her face and hugging the shit out of her.
It would all be non-sexual affection, but this lady should know she is changing Kellie’s life for the better.
After one month, the drugs and potions she prescribed have meant she can now… wait for it….
EAT A F****ING EGG!!!!
This is not a joke. You will not believe how adding an egg to your diet can revolutionise your life.
The egg symbolises so much more than increased recipe options, it also means Kellie’s insides are starting to heal.
The queasy feeling still makes an appearance, but less frequently.
She ate steak yesterday for our anniversary meal, and although her stomach sounded like an angry bear, she was fine.
This is all good news and a step in the right direction, but we are not fooling ourselves that her blighted immune system is now fully healed.
There is still a long way to go
Creeping ever closer on the horizon was our trip to South America.
In two months time we should be heading to Colombia and starting a 3-month trip around its surrounding countries.
Originally this would have been a dream trip, but at this stage in Kellie’s recovery it fills us with trepidation. Looking back, this was the major source of our ‘meh’ feeling.
Now I agree fear should not prevent you following your dreams, but also it would be ridiculous jeopardising Kellie’s health for this type of adventure. The Naturopath also advised her not to go in the near future.
Her belly just isn’t strong enough to cope with the potential bugs, plus we have so much more planned in the future which requires Kellie having good health.
We thought about taking our own cooking gear so we can make sure everything cooked is clean and bug free, but it’s just not practical for 3 months.
When you are planning on heading to the Amazon or taking a guided 5 day hike in Patagonia, you can’t just pop to the shops to get your groceries and make sure everything is sanitised to Kel’s standards.
You can’t just get your cooking gear out on an 18hr bus journey and whip up a healthy culinary delight. A day of fasting would not be healthy, especially as she would have to watch me stuff my face with all the local food, which would be napalm for her innards.
So finally we let the dream go… for now anyway…
Surprisingly it was relief once we made the decision. Most of the meh lifted.
We can’t say we aren’t a little bit disappointed. We were due to meet some good friends. Together we would have backpacked our way through beautiful countries and shared some amazing experiences.
But in my previous post ‘Project Life’ – which you should go read now rather then repeat myself – helped me see this decision as now, rather than forever.
One day we will go to South America and enjoy all it offers, but now is not the time.
Making new plans
The void of our non-South America adventure had to be filled. We floated ideas of continuing house sitting in New Zealand or France maybe.
All fine, but too similar to our current escapade.
We needed something different, something to raise the pulse and challenge us in a new way.
Then yesterday, as we drove through the heavy rain to our new house sit on Vancouver Island, came this whopper from The Jones (Kellie for all you newcomers).
“I know!!! Why don’t we cycle Europe???!!” she said just as we sped past a cyclist…
“F*** yes,” was my instant reply.
So that’s it, just like that we are about 90% certain we are off to explore our home continent on two wheels.
It excites us.
We are not hardcore cyclists. We will do it in our own way. Cycle as much or as little as we feel. Catch the train. Stay in hotels, tree houses or camp. Cook our own food. Maybe even house sit.
If Kellie’s immune system continues to heal we will challenge ourselves physically, whilst eating our way through Europe. If not, we will take it slowly and I will gorge myself on cheese, wine and bread.
Although we aren’t kidding ourselves it will always be easy, the romantic dreams rarely match reality, it just feels right.
The challenging things in life usually bring you the most memories and satisfaction.
In my head, travelling through a country on bike, rather than a bus or car, brings you much closer to the land and people. This hopefully will give us many more encounters with local folk and allow us to discover things we would normally have passed by.
The plan is vague. Let’s start in Holland. It’s nice and flat…
And then where?
This is the fun part. Let the planning commence!!
This is now a meh free zone.