Hitting up 31 countries in just over five months was probably one of the best decisions we've ever made. We took more than 80 trains and slept in more than 40 hostels - only getting eaten by bed bugs twice. We made it so far north in Norway the sun didn't set and drank the world's most disgusting vodka in Mongolia (made from fermented mare's milk). We dodged the con artists at the Thai-Cambodian border and solved the world's problems in a Romanian basement over home brew. To top it all off we spent our last official day fishing in the North sea with a couple of true Norwegians and a disposable BBQ (yes they exist). I would like to point out that I happened to catch a fish on my first cast and no the size or state of said fish is not important.
On Friday the 30th of May we said goodbye to our incredible hosts and boarded a plane bound for Oslo. The night we spent in this airport was long and uncomfortable but paying for accommodation would have cost one of us a kidney at least. At 5am we were back at the gate for our flight to Copenhagen. From here it was a leisurely 6 hours to Dubai, 9 hours sleeping in the airport once more before another 5 hours to Bangkok, 8 hours to Sydney and 2.5 to Quake city. After only waiting 45 minutes for our packs to turn up at baggage claim (we hadn't seen them since Denmark) I was 3 metres from the door and in sight of my Mum when one of the drug dogs took a particular liking to me and my backpack. Images of a Balinese prison flashed before my eyes before I realised I was safely back in the homeland. Apparently carrying fruit in a bag you later use as your carry on gets the search dogs excited.
I initially thought we would struggle to return home after living the good life for so long but as it turns out we were pretty stoked to see the Southern Alps again. All that mountaineering equipment we bought in Bulgaria is begging to be used and I was ready to burn the few items of clothing we still possessed. We would definitely recommend Vodkatrain and if you have any questions about via ferrata or any of the places we traveled to feel free to email us. Although this is the end of the OE we will continue to post our trip reports from the mountains and update information about some of our favourite destinations. Until then.
Rachael and Jeremy