Today we flew into Milan Italy to spend some time with our family before we head south into the USA, through Central America and across South America. Our family are living in Italy on a 2 year contract, the desire to explore the world was passed onto our children so they have chosen the expat lifestyle while their children( our grandchildren) are still young.
The most difficult part of overlanding around the world, is not the challenging border crossings, the miles and miles of nothing, shipping vehicles, tire blow outs, humungous potholes, hair raising roads or creaky bridges, getting difficult visas, it is saying goodbye to family and friends.
We were last in Milan in 1974 when Tom and I did our first big overland trip in a little beat up old Renault, a few dollars in our pockets and a sense of adventure. We travelled throughout Western Europe for a year. I now wonder how on earth we managed to sleep, cook and wash in that little car, but it was our initiation into learning to travel light, sleep anywhere, and eat anything and do it on the cheap. We traveled throughout Europe, the days before GPS, overland rigs, internet, mobile phones and the Lonely Planet.
We returned home with a few dollars in our pockets and I was pregnant with our first son. This was not the end of overland travel but the first of many more to come. The travel bug had bitten us hard and despite having children it did not stop us venturing off into the wilderness exploring Southern Africa. Our sons soon learnt the thrill of adventure travel and now both have left home and are out there following in their parents footsteps.
We celebrated our 38 wedding anniversary with them last night sitting in the Piazza Del Duomo eating a wonderful Italian dinner and toasting to life with an Italian wine. Tom and I had wandered through this Piazzo in 1974 little could we have know that the next time we will be back will be with our family and grandchildren.
Travel is always full of surprises.