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Skott Reflects on 101 Days of Travel

 

We knew the first 100 days would be easy. A blind monkey can travel for 100 days, without breaking a sweat. However….if you can make it to 101….well, that’s a benchmark worth celebrating!!!

still one of my favourite Camino pics

And, so…in honour of that, we have decided to each sit down and get a little reflective with y’all (see Jaime, I can talk like a Texan too!), and let you know exactly how we are feeling about our time away so far, and what we are looking forward to for the next 101 days!

Skott, I really wish I could interview you, but...

I was hoping that maybe we would find someone big to interview us…. Oprah, would have been sweet…and I really would have settled for Letterman.

Apparently, that wasn’t going to happen. Sadly, even Shawna lost interest in me and has gone to bed. So you are left with yours truly to ask the deep probing questions AND also to give you insightful, damm near philosophical answers!

I can assure you, this will be a very stimulating one-way conversation.

Let’s skip the rest of the formalities shall we, and get straight to the introduction:

Image courtesy of http://feelgoodstyle.com

Skott is one half of Skott and Shawna: writers, photographers, and spreaders of generally good vibes on their travel blog, Get Up and Globe. Before leaving on this infinite adventure with his blushing new bride, Skott used to sell kittens and air, and he did so while wearing a lycra cape. Since his travels commenced on June 18th, 2011 he has spent his days walking across countries that rhyme with pain and ingesting his doctor-recommended two glasses of wine each and every day. We join Skott and Skott now in studio.

You have been on the road now for 101 whoppin’ days? Give us 3 highlights…

(author note: despite being an ass for the last 272 words, I am going to try and actually answer these questions seriously…sorry to kill the mood)

1) If I can’t pick the entire Camino, I will at least pick the first and last day. On the first day, I remember Shawna and I walking out of St.Jean at 10:00AM Sunday afternoon, totally naive as to what we were about to undertake, but loving that we were going to do something this massive together.

And fast forward to day 35, hand-in-hand we completed our Camino by arriving at the Cathedral in Santiago. Unforgettable?? You bet.

2) Our second day of cycling in Italy. We had just finished a horrific day one of our cycling adventure in Italy which included three flat tires, rain, arguments, and expensive dinner. Day two, we rode to Bressanone, and really the entire day was as close to perfect as you could ask for, ending in the two of us just hanging out in the party-like centre of this small town drinking wine, eating pizza, and people watching while wearing the biggest smiles on our faces!

3) Our time in Chefchaoun, Morocco (where we currently are as I type this). The post hasn’t been written yet, so I won’t use up all the good adjectives here, but this place is, for me, the perfect combination of culture shock madness and small city relaxation.

My favourite mountain village of Chefchauon

How about any low moments?

If low moments mean sad, I suppose the lowest was saying goodbye to my family at the airport. To say I shed a few tears is like saying McDonalds sells a few burgers. I was sobbing…they are good peeps my family, and I knew I was going to miss them plenty.

Skott's whole clan - man that seems like ages ago.

If I had to pick one not-so-great time while we have actually been away, it would have been the couple day stretch of the Camino between San Juan de Ortega and the second day in Burgos. Shawna and I were both tired, sore, and had each been bottling stuff up, and it just wasn’t that fun. Nothing horrific, but spending every day next to each other, walking 25kms can take its toll…and it is important to make sure you let each other always know what’s going on inside your head.

Most embarrassing?

Well, I was pretty sick with a bug plus some unfortunate diarrhea our first few days here in Chefchauon. If you can picture a six-foot-something pale, lanky (yet adorable) guy running through the reception area of the hostel in nothing but his tightie wighties, clenching his cheeks on his way to the toilet by the front desk, and almost NOT making it on several occasions…. yes, that classified as embarrassing.

So far so good....but I really need to calm down in airports!

When is Shawna most embarrassed of you?

We have taken three flights so far, landing in London England, Memmingen Germany, and Tangier Morocco. Each time, we are in the plane about to land, I lose all sense of “grown-up-ness” and start tugging at Shawna’s shirt sleeve…“OMG, we are in _______!!! Can you believe it!?!? This is ridiculous…we are actually landing in _______!!!”

I can’t actually believe I am 3 for 3 when it comes to making it past customs without a strip search.

Care to share Shawna’s most embarrassing moment?

Hell yes! We were in the middle of a pretty dry run of flat, hot walking on the Camino. We had walked 5 kms further than we had planned one day, and Shawna was bagged. Unfortunately, where we ended up for the evening proved to be a little light on the entertainment, and so Shawna created her own…. drinking a bottle and a half of red wine (no crystal goblet required) in under 90 minutes. The remainder of the night was actually awesome….until the poor girl went to bed and the 16-person dorm started to spin… the whole room was supposed to share one toilet, but on this particular evening, my beautiful wife definitely spent more than her fair share hugging it.

Don't get fancy - this is all you need...

Dumbest thing you packed?

Oh what – besides my Crest White strips?!??

Probably my Addidas Superstar Sandals. I paid $40 for these things, and you can’t even wear them in the shower, because the spongy part takes forever to dry, plus they take up a ton of room. I haven’t worn them since England, but can’t bear to toss em. Instead I carry them, and am wearing the $1.99 flipflops which have served their purpose completely, both in the shower and out.

Injuries?

Two blisters, about twenty bed bug bites, three sick days, and a small stomach problem (see above).

Regrets?

missed you by 'that much'

Two. First, I wish that I would have been able to go up to the Scotish Highlands while in the country…both to experience the landscape and to sample the single malt. We were soooo close, but timing just didn’t let it happen.

Second, in Fes we had some punk twenty year old, get us lost amidst the narrow maze-like streets, and then offer to “get us out” by taking us on a tour, in which we could just pay him whatever we want at the end of it. The brutal part was, that once he got us out there, I actually gave him money…it was only 10 dirhams (just over $1CDN), but that is besides the point. Even more pathetic was me trying to justify it to Shawna afterwards….

How is the relationship?

Awesome! Shawna and I have learned a ton about each other while we have been on the road. We are way better at communicating with each other (and we were good before), and I think we work amazingly well together.

Taking a break in Anglet

We have realized that we have differences in some travel-related areas, but most of these are probably pretty gender-typical for other travel couples as well. Shawna misses the routine of home. Me, not so much. I am hideous with planning. Shawna is a rockstar. She is the main reason we do anything other than just sit around the hostel and smoke hash.

Actually…no….she planned the hash as well…. wow, have I looked after anything???

But seriously, I have no doubt that some of our biggest challenges as a couple will take place on this trip, especially as we continue to push ourselves out of our comfort zones (while still staying safe, no worries mom!) in less industrialized countries through Western Africa and beyond. However, I wouldn’t….couldn’t do this trip with anyone else. I am more than lucky to have her by my side, and can’t even imagine how we will continue to evolve as a couple. Plus, she is a great cook!

Other random thoughts on the first 101?

1) Couchsurfing is incredible!! Seriously, if you are travelling, and you do not use this site…you are dropping the ball and missing out in a HUGE way! If you are not a traveller, you should still investigate this site a little. Hosting couchsurfers is incredibly rewarding experience. It will enrich you and fulfill you, and make you a better human being. Of this, I am certain. Nearly.

95 days of beard-growing, and that is all I could do

2) It makes no sense to plan too much of your trip. Booking the first night accomodation in a new city is fine. But pre-determining how many nights you will be there is best left for your 7-day all-inclusive Mexican vacations (which we love, by the way)

3) I also realized that I am pretty easy to please. I think it is the eternal optimist in me, but honestly…no matter where we are, I cannot get over how amazing things are and how lucky I am!

4) My genetics do not allow me to grow a real beard.

5) I have come to terms with the fact that there will be an endpoint to this trip. I think in the beginning, I thought there may be a slight chance that we could be on the road for an indefinite amount of time. I think however, that we both realize that family, friends, and the routine of the lives we left (or a reasonable facsimile) is something that we don’t want to give up for huge periods of time. It may be another year. Perhaps even a bit more than that. But I think we will have a home base in Canada somewhere in the next two years.

And what are you looking forward to for the next 101?

It’s all about West Africa. After our Casablanca half marathon, we head overland to Ghana. This will take us through Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and then Ghana. As mentioned above…this will be the part of the trip which should push me waaaaay out of my comfort zone. Or so I hope. It should make for some incredible posts!

Thanks for the interview!!!

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12 Responses to “Skott Reflects on 101 Days of Travel”

  1. Phil September 28, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    Hey guys,
    Read both your recaps. Sounds great so far!! Skott, I would love for you to do a guestpost on Sick on the Road about your hotel bathroom adventures ;) Hope you are feeling better, though. You are right on the money about couchsurfing. I try to spread that gospel far and wide because a lot of people still don’t know about it.

    Keep me posted on West Africa. I will be in Ghana november 17th for a few weeks mostly along the coast and then cote d’ivoire for a few more before Mali. If you get to Mali before I am there let me know and I can give you a few contacts of some very awesome people.
    Phil recently posted..I Have a Plane Ticket

    • Skott September 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      Hey Phil – I have never written a fecal-focused post before, but if you want to give the details, I will give it my best!! :D

      I suspect that we will be in Morocco until almost the end of the month, October that is…then, yes onto Ghana…I think we will likely be in Ghana by the time you arrive. Shawna is using past contacts to get us a volunteering gig, which I think is in Tamale. I am guessing we will indeed be in Mali before you, so any contacts/advice/whatnot would be awesome!

      Thanks for keeping tabs on us – talk soon.

      Vive le Couchsurfing!!!

  2. Dale September 28, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    Fear not Skott, I have more interview questions lining up. But you already ruined one of my questions about what colour your gotch is with this last post!
    Dale recently posted..Sometimes You Travel With Your With Imagination

    • Skott September 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      Well, I hate to ruin it, but “tightie-whities” was used more because it was fun to say, as opposed to being the truth…. so ask away! We await your questions…you are making us feel like superstars!

  3. Gerard ~ GQ trippin September 28, 2011 at 3:03 am #

    I guess that fitfoam footbed wasn’t too friendly with water. Are there any best practice tips out there for first time couch surfers?
    Gerard ~ GQ trippin recently posted..my job quit me. now what?

    • Skott September 29, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      Hey Gerard – thanks for stopping by!

      As far as first time CSing is concerned…honestly, just be a gracious host, and things should by money. I have only heard a few bad CS stories, and they involve the surfer treating the host’s home like a hostel instead of a home…not cool! If it is appropriate, Shawna and I may bring a bottle of wine, or offer to cook supper for our hosts. That is appreciated for sure…but yes, respect, is likely the biggest advice (albeit, common sense) that I can think of…. let me know if you have any more questions!

      Good luck!

  4. Collette September 28, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    Ha! This was hilarious! Loving the posts, as always. Glad you guys are having fun! It pairs well with the scheming I’m doing for my next trip (Burning Man, next August!). Woo!

    • Skott September 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

      Burning Man, eh??? That does indeed sound like some fun scheming…. I think that would make the Winnipeg Folk Festival look like a trip to the library!

  5. jill October 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Glad to hear you guys made past the first 100 days! Has it been that long? Crazy- huh…. It just seems like yesterday you guys were still in the planning stage :)
    jill recently posted..Peru’s Naughty and Erotic Pottery

    • Skott October 3, 2011 at 2:03 am #

      Thanks for saying hi Jill!!! It is true – 101 big days….and counting. It does feel like we have been gone for quite awhile as we have done so much in our time away, but man, has it flown by…as I am sure you can attest to!!

  6. Jarrett October 18, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Congrats on passing 100!! Days when you are sitting on the shitter in the middle of nowhere make you wanna throw in the towel, but theres no way it would be an “adventure” if ‘shit’ like that didnt happen! Keep on keeping on guys and enjoy every second of it cuz time flies when you are having fun!

    • Skott October 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      Thanks Jarrett ! You are absolutely right, there have been many a challenging day, but it is worth it. Our intention was never for this always to be an “easy ride”, and it is the stuff that is less than desirable that always makes for the best stories! Cheers!

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