Holy man…looking back on these pictures I can’t believe what a year this has been. 2012 proved to be a year of dreams coming true and more fun than I could have imagined.
We kicked off 2012 with my parents in NEW ZEALAND! We were still in New Zealand a year ago today! They spent 3 weeks with us as we showed them this country that we had grown to love so much through our eyes. We jammed as much as we possibly could into the time, but 3 weeks didn’t even begin to do it justice.
New Years Eve in rainy Napier
Caving in Waitomo
Surfing in Mount Maunganui!
As soon as they left, we were on a mission to sell Bingo, our beloved camper van, as we were booked to leave the country. It took a bit more time than we expected…and we thought we were extremely excited to sell the beast with a mind of its own…but our last drive in that old van was a sad one. I shed some tears as I realized this was the last thing we needed to accomplish in New Zealand…our time here was done.
The last drive.
And just like that we went from a perfect, pristine country with water we could drink from the streams and endless hikes through dense forest….to the manic, crazy, mind blowing city of Delhi, India. We went from hiking over 500km on New Zealand’s south island to standing in complete and utter awe before the Taj Mahal. They are 2 completely different worlds. Our 5 weeks in India flew by as we haggled prices with rickshaw drivers and vendors, battled bad stomachs while eating the incredible food, and worked our way through the hardest and most fascinating part of our trip so far. India was intense. It was hard and it was exhausting and the only people we trusted were each other. It was incredible.
Time to relax in Goa.
From India we boarded a plan to Istanbul. We went from hot, dry temperatures to a startling cold winter, where I wore every layer of long sleeve clothing I had, a toque, and gloves. The city was enchanting. It felt like a lush paradise after the dusty, dirty streets of India. We explored and walked the cobble stoned streets, ate the tantalizing food, and we were blown away by the Aya Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Turkish Baths, the hustle of the Grand Bazar, and so much more.
The Whirling Dervishes.
Our time in Europe was cut short as responsibilities at home caught up with us. We still had a house in Edmonton, and even though our renters had extended their stay longer than originally planned, they ended up leaving earlier than expected. So instead of traveling on land and eventually making our way back to the UK, Gareth got on the phone and asked him mum what she was making for dinner on Friday night…we were coming. I cannot begin to explain the emotions we felt as we spent our last day in Istanbul. Our trip, this time and adventure we had worked so hard to experience, was coming to an end. The adventure was finishing. And yet, when we got off that plane in London, and saw this guy’s face, everything felt right. We were with someone who loved us, and that mattered. So much had happened, and yet nothing had changed.
The next 2 months were spent reconnecting with Gareth’s homeland, as we spent time with friends and family in the UK. We watched winter turn to spring as we walked the hillsides and breathed the ocean air.
A pretty cool highlight – we saw the Queen on my birthday!
And just like our trip, those 2 months passed in a flash, and it was time to come home. after 17 months away, we landed in Edmonton on May 7. My parent’s house was full of friends and family – and we couldn’t be happier. Our trip had been amazing – it had been more than we ever thought it could be. It shaped us and changed us and made who we are today. We dove back into work, with our first wedding of the season a week and a half after we arrived home. And just like that, we were back at it. We settled back into “real” life, trying to make things normal again as we readjusted and realigned with our new thoughts and values. But something wasn’t quite the same. We eventually realized we had come home with a lot more than souvenirs and a lifetime of memories. We had come home with a little Roughley in the making. It seems like life has a way of helping us along with our next adventure – we finished our trip, this was the next one! And of course, as it’s our style, we had a little fun documenting this next adventure.
2012 might just be the best year yet – and shouldn’t that be how it’s supposed to be? I have a feeling though…2013 might be even better. Wishing you the very best year ahead as you celebrate all the amazing adventures of 2012. Much, much love, Shauna & Gareth