How travelling for 6 months changed our lives

Santorini greece things to know

In 2022 we took a giant step to postpone our careers and take the trip of a lifetime. Our travels spanned 6 months as we explored as much of Europe as we could fit in! We have both been ‘in routine’ for over 10 years, completing many years at university (too many!) and kick-starting our physiotherapy careers. To step out of this, out of our comfort zone, and completely turn our ‘routines’ upside down gave us a very different view on life and the world. We will list a few points below of how travelling for 6 months has influenced our lives.

How travelling for 6 months has changed our lives


When travelling we visited some of the most popular and wealthy cities in Europe. However, we also visited numerous poorer countries and neighbourhoods that didn’t have the same affluence. You can easily read about poverty and lack of opportunity, however when you are walking through it, it hits very differently.

One of the things that will really stick with us are the lack of opportunity in some of these countries. In Australia we are so lucky to have been afforded the opportunity for good schooling and university, there are avenues for employment, and even if we lost our job, government benefits are available. In some countries, our hourly pay rate might be the amount a worker earns in a week. We both would have multiple moments where we would turn to each other and go “how can we help?”. Despite buying food for those in need and contributing money at times, sadly we both realized we can’t ‘fix’ these issues. What we tried to take away from this is how lucky we are for our opportunities, and a strong dose of perspective. Our problems aren’t as big as they seem!

A career break can be a good thing

When we informed many friends, family and colleagues that we were putting our career on hold for 6 months we received “Really?”, “Is that a good idea?”, “6 months!?”, “You’re quitting your job?!” and more. Despite our conviction and desire to complete this trip, we couldn’t help but question our intentions for a career break. However, after coming through this trip, we are both so thankful that we did!

Taking a career break like this has allowed us both the relax and refresh. Our work as physiotherapists is very emotionally demanding, requiring us to give a lot of care and attention to our patients. This can lead to emotional exhaustion, and contribute to burnout. The rates of burnout in early-mid career healthcare workouts are alarmingly high, and we both felt at the point where this was a real possibility for us. Taking a break of this nature has really helped to allow us to refresh.

Additionally, a career break has allowed us greater clarity of mind. Without day-to-day pressures this has allowed us to have freedom of thought. This clarity sparks creative thinking, planning for the future, and the ability to think ‘outside the box’ of the standard ‘9-5’ routine. Whilst a career break of this nature might not be for everyone, we have really valued the impact this has had one our mental state and will likely have on our enthusiasm for our career as we return.

Have a read of Ky’s thoughtful blog about taking a career break.

Big life events – We got engaged

It is hard to talk about how this trip changed our life without mentioning a huge life event.. we got engaged! Whilst taking a holiday wasn’t a pre-requisite for us to get engaged, for it to happen in this way is something that we will remember forever and will change our lives! We are both excited for the future together!

Once in lifetime trip – ticking off the bucket list

Everyone has a bucket list right? It might be travel, work, financial, or other achievements. Both our bucket lists are varied, but involved numerous travel experiences. This trip has allowed us to ‘tick off’ some of these things on the list. We have visited some incredible places, and a few (not all) of these bucket list moments are listed below:

  • Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia: This is one of the quintessential bucket list items. The hot air ballooning in Cappadocia was truly incredible, and a ‘tick’ for both of us!
  • Hiking in Switzerland: Boasting some of the best hikes in the world, this was an experience we will never forget. To make it even better, we were able to tick off this bucket list with Ky’s brother and his partner. What an experience and memory!
  • Watching the EPL in the UK: Ky is a huge sports fan, and regularly follows one of the top leagues in the world, the English Premier League (EPL). For him to be able to watch his team, Everton, play was a massive bucket list moment.
  • Swimming in some of the clearest water in the world! At stunning locations like Vis Island, Kas in Turkey, the Albanian Riviera and more.
  • Oktoberfest: The ‘Adult Disneyland’ is a ‘once in a lifetime’ event we were keen to visit.
  • Visiting Family Overseas: Tess has a multitude of family living overseas, some permanently (her Swiss-Italian family) and some temporarily (her brother). Seeing them was a ‘must do’ for our travel plans.
We started 2 Cups of Travel

Another great opportunity that has come from travelling for 6 months is starting this blog. This platform has allowed us to document our travels, express ourselves, and share our knowledge with the world. We have both been surprised and thrilled with the engagement on the platform, both from people back home and the traction online. While we are unsure what direction 2 Cups of Travel will take, it is something we are excited to continue, and look forward to the future opportunities it brings!

Value for our friends and family

Prior to our trip, we both commented regularly that we could ‘live overseas’. However, after this trip, we are less sure. The biggest thing we missed during our travels was our friends and family. We were so lucky to meet up with people on our travels like Tess’s family, Ky’s brother and partner, many friends (including an Italian wedding), cousins and family (Australian and Swiss-Italian), and meet some amazing people! However, we realized after stepping away from our wonderful networks back home how much we value them and these connections!

Appreciation for life in melboure

When living in Melbourne, it was easy to overlook how good it is to live where we do. We have already mentioned above how we are so thankful for the opportunity we have in Melbourne. Additionally, the safety in Melbourne compared to some countries overseas is something we really take for granted. Australia’s healthcare system is extraordinary compared to some overseas, and it’s mostly free for Australians (not always the case overseas)! Our standard of living in Melbourne is very high, and despite our complaints around little things like traffic or the price of coffee, we have it pretty good. Taking this trip has allowed us to realized just how liveable Melbourne is, and how much we value living here!

Europe isn’t as ‘separate’ as you might think

After doing this trip, we see the world less as ‘discrete countries’ and more how they all link together and have crossover in development/previous dynasties. When planning this trip, it was very easy to see countries in Europe as ‘very separate’, however after travelling and learning about their history, we have realized this isn’t the case. Many of the former empires (e.g. Romans, Ottomans etc) spread across vast regions encompassing numerous countries. The impact of this is many countries in these former empires have similar architecture, often comparable food, and the culture and religion shares elements. Despite the differences between countries and regions, we are more similar than we might think, and the history proves this. This is an important message now in 2022 more than ever.

The Australian passport is very strong

We knew that travelling on the Australian Passport made life easy, and that is was one of the stronger ones around. However, what we didn’t realize was how much better it was compared to some countries. Australia is lucky to get ‘automatic visas’ to most European countries, particularly the Schengen countries in the form of a ‘visa’. We could enter Europe without even stressing about visa approval.

However, our tour guide in Morocco helped us realize how different this situation is in some countries. Despite having a good job with a reputable tour company in Morocco, our guide expressed to us our he had been rejected from entering Australia multiple times. This shocked us, and was something we hadn’t even really considered. Many countries aren’t afforded the same luxury as Australia to travel, and this is something we are very grateful for.

Things are not always as they seem on “the gram”

The world is incredibly beautiful, and Europe is no exception. However, not all of it is as impressive as it might look on ‘the gram’. When photos and videos are posted online, they often fail to account for the crowds, the chaos, the rubbish, or the difficulty getting to these locations. These factors may not ruin your experience, but things are often very different than you see online. We have tried to not paint a false picture with our content, and the video below is an example of how the beautiful views of Santorini aren’t all they seem.

Instagram Link:

EUrope has a rich history

Travelling is a great way to realize just how old the world is and how a few years of living pales in comparison to history. We loved experiencing and learning about history in the locations we visited. Whilst we had learned some of this before, actually hearing about it from locals adds a different perspective.

Europe winter fashion

Okay, this one is a little less serious. The Europeans do winter fashion incredibly well. During the shoulder seasons in cities like Paris, London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Amsterdam and more, we both regularly commented on how well dressed the Europeans were. Their style was ‘effortlessly cool’. Hopefully we can bring a little of this ‘winter fashion’ back with us.

You need less than you think you do

Many of us live and enjoy having a ‘lot of stuff’. While we are both more ‘minimalist’ than maximalist, this trip has helped us realize we probably don’t need as much as we think we do. This is evidenced by us living out of a 15-18kg suitcase for 6 months. We didn’t buy that much, and were able to survive quite well without all that much. Maybe we need less than we think we do?

We enjoy our life and routine

Taking this trip and breaking out of our routine was incredible. It is very easy to get stuck in the same patterns of work and life, and to take this step out definitely gives you a great perspective. However, what we both realized is that we enjoy many aspects of our life and routine. In particular, the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle is something we missed. Despite running and visiting gyms where we could, we missed the ability to hold a consistent exercise routine. Additionally, despite our best efforts, we eat a lot better at home than travelling. We also enjoy our regular interactions with friends and family back home. For this reason, despite being sad to end our adventures, we are happy to return home.

In summary..

Whilst we return the same people, we are different. It is ‘cliche’ to say that travel changed our lives, but in this situation it has. We have gained a new appreciation for how lucky we are to live the lives we do. We have also been given a solid dose of perspective. We hope to be able to contribute more back to those in need in the future. We also further strengthened our realization of the importance of our friends and family. For those unsure if travel is a good idea, we say ‘go for it’! You will learn so much about yourself, about the world, and gain new perspective!

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Comments (1):

  1. Diane

    November 10, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    Very insightful revelations!!
    So glad you did it!!


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