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Today is technically the one year anniversary of the start of our adventure (and consequently the liquidation of our jobs, apartment and some of our stuff). On this day April 3rd, 2011, we left for São Paulo with little idea of what we had started and what it would mean. We didn’t even have time to contact our credit card company to let them know what we were doing.

Image, Nellu Mazilu

Three Bearded Monster (Photo by Molly, Compiled by Nellu, Beard by Nellu)

In recognition of the event (the fact that April Fools’ Day was around the corner and that we were leaving the African continent for a while to come), I decided to shave off my Africa beard, which I had been growing since January 1, and compiled a list of important metrics from our trip so far :


In miles that would be approximately 90,099 miles.

We still have a couple of months to add to this and much to see. The adventure continues….


In the next couple of posts, we’ll wrap up our African Adventure.  But it’s been a year since we first took off for our round the world trip, so I wanted to offer up a few words on leaving…

Nellu Mazilu, Molly Mazilu

Us last April, so young, innocent and apparently slightly pissed-off looking.

A year ago, we got on a plane at JFK airport in New York and woke up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Nellu and I barely talked the whole flight. We were both still carrying the stress of the last week (and months really) — moving out of our apartment on Thursday, quitting our jobs on Friday and packing up everything so we could be on that Sunday night flight. Monday morning in Brazil, on a bad night’s sleep, we tried to follow the detailed directions to get from the airport to our host’s downtown apartment, communicating in broken English sprinkled with “obrigado,” the Portuguese word for thank you.  This would be our new reality.

Now we’ve been gone for what seems like such a long time, our friends have started to ask if we’re ever coming home. We are, probably in June. But with a month at home last July and the extra month we needed here at the end to see family, friends, and a little bit more of Europe, we’ll have 14 months of distance from our old lives by the time we get back.

Nellu Mazilu

Embracing my inner hobo in Kyoto. Photo by Nellu.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from all this time on the road: the importance of stepping outside the institutions we live in – or more simply – the importance of leaving. It’s so easy to think that our world is the whole world.  We give undue attention to minor bumps (it’s the end of the world). We miss opportunities because we’re so singularly focused (or perhaps so generally distracted) that we’ve got our blindsiders on. We fail to question all the little assumptions we make every day about the way we live because when everything works as well as it does in our modern society (and so cheaply), we have no reason to think differently.

I’m still dumbfounded that the only time we’ve used a clothes dryer in the last year was during our month at home. I also can’t tell you the number of times we’ve bought milk in bags or paid more than $5 for a gallon of gas.

Don’t fall laundry! In Madrid.

We don’t have jobs when we get home. We’ll be summering in Connecticut (my favorite euphemism for living with my parents) until we get our acts together. I am not exactly sure what we’ll do but I’m hoping to find a middle ground between this life and our old one.

~ Molly

This is what home looks like. Photo taken last autumn by Nellu.

Grateful: An Ode to Home

There was always supposed to be an early intermission in our year of travel. Our friend Brigette was getting married in July and we wouldn’t miss it for the world (literally). So we joked that our three months in South America was our starter trip, a trial run for the rest of the world and the next 10 months or so when we won’t get a chance to come home. We learned what things we could leave at home and what would be handy to bring. Nellu’s bag is at least 10 lbs lighter on this go around. Mine is exactly the same.

But I worried about how long we’d spend in the states. We flew home from South America on July 1st, the wedding was on July 9th and we still had to get a number of visas, book our flights, and work out a basic itinerary. I was nervous that we’d lose momentum and I was concerned about my ability to live peacefully in my parents house for any length of time.

Turns out, as with most of my worrying, it was all in vain. The month we spent back in the states, I was the most content I had been in a really long time. In fact, I got maybe a little too comfortable settling right into my parent’s routine. (Mom and Dad, I caught up on a few back episodes of the Mentalist on the plane!)

I never fully appreciated it all when we lived in New York and you might be too in the weeds to realize it yourself. But watching our friends and family over the last few weeks building a home, building a family, building a life – well that’s just a beautiful thing.

On the Road Again 

But you know, all this fresh perspective doesn’t just happen by itself without a little agitation. So we’ve hit the road again to finish our trek across the globe.

Here’s our basic itinerary for the next 10 months or so:

August: China (We flew into Hong Kong)

September: India (We fly into Delhi)

October (first three weeks): Thailand, Cambodia, Laos

October (fourth week) November (first week): Japan

November/December until the 21st: Australia/New Zealand

December 21st through Week 1 January: South Africa

January to February 1: African safari! Yes there will be a lot of sleeping in tents and hopefully a lot of animals.

February 10th or so: Dubai

February 17th or so: Israel and Egypt

March 9th or so: We fly into Madrid hit up Morocco and then do the rest of Europe until around May 31st or so, which is when we are scheduled to fly home.

If you would like to join us on any leg of this adventure, let us know and we’ll make sure to get there on time. If you have any friends living abroad that we could borrow for a drink or two, we’d love to visit them.

~ Molly

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