With my back having been so bad for so long, we were a bit loathe to make plans for a new trip. We decided to stick around in London until after the New Year at least, and found a great cat sit close to where we used to live in Clerkenwell over Christmas. More on that later.
In thinking about where we wanted to go, we found ourselves discussing a whole range of possible destinations and reasons why we might or might not go, regardless of any (hopefully temporary) issues about my back.
Those of you who know us - or have seen our photos in some of the blog posts - will know that Nic and I are, well, let's just say on the large side! We've made some efforts to lose some weight before, but never really had the motivation or determination to succeed. However, since we 'retired' to be travelling most of the time, we notice the effects of the weight a bit more. Sometimes it is the smaller things, like low energy levels, difficulty buying clothes in some countries - Asia in general is not good for me, or that the simple fact that larger clothes makes limiting ourselves to carry-on luggage pretty difficult.
The bigger problem is that there are trips that we want to do, that we realistically can't. With Nic being a firm fan of lemurs, we'd love to spend time in Madagascar, seeing them in the wild, but we know that we just aren't physically capable of the level of hiking involved to get to the best places. We keep putting it off, telling ourselves "We'll wait until we're a bit fitter", but of course, we never are. We'd quite like to see gorillas and orangutans too, but the same issue arises.
We got to talking about all of this, and realised that we had finally reached the point where we were ready to really do something about it. The problem with my back helped the decision, because although I suspect my back may be a problem anyway, my extra weight isn't going to be helping it.
So we decided that, we would put our usual kind of travelling on hold, and instead of another trip like our previous ones, 2017 would be the year we get fit. And whilst Nic doesn't have as much to lose as me, so will get there much quicker, the reality is that, even with being very determined, it is going to take me well over a year to get to where I want to be, so we needed to get a good start in to have any hope of keeping the motivation going.
We knew we couldn't face the idea of diets and exercise in the gloom of a UK winter, so we decided to take ourselves off to the southern hemisphere. We also had to make sure that we went to a place where we knew we could get good, healthy food, not be too tempted by bad things, and preferably join a gym, as I'm a long way off from getting my exercise from big hikes or bike rides.
So we booked ourselves a flight to Chile in January, and figured we'd spend a couple of months in the southern lakes area, staying six weeks each in Pucon, which we had been to before and Puerto Varas. Our plan was that this would be enough time to kick start our new healthy lifestyle and make some headway in the weight loss, so that then we could spend a couple of months travelling in the more dangerous territory of Argentina.
When I say dangerous, I am of course only referring to the lure of good wine, empanadas, and that deliciously evil thing that is dulce de leche. For anyone not familiar with dulce de leche, think the very sweet, very rich toffee bit of a banoffee pie.
We are banking on the fact that once we have got going, we will be determined enough to resist most of the temptations at least, and whilst the fitness campaign may slow down a little during that time, we at least can avoid undoing whatever we may have achieved thus far.
Then after a short break back in the UK, we plan to do the same kind of thing again in the northern hemishere's summer, this time in Canada. We'll be off to Vancouver Island for a while, and then do some travelling across country. More on those plans closer to the time.
The intention is to continue in this way until we are both where we want to be, and we can finally see ourselves hiking to see the lemurs in Madagascar, or anything else that we want to do, as well as simply being fitter and healthier.
We don't know if we'll manage it, and we know that it will be a long hard slog, especially for me, but we're going to give it our best shot.
Of course in the meantime, it was Christmas, and being us, we couldn't resist the lure of one final blowout before we begin our new regime. So we filled our Christmas cat sit with turkey and all the trimmings, good wines, a chocolate truffle cake and a meringue gateau. We thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas, and felt stuffed, slightly heavier, but ready to make a start when we arrive in Chile in mid January.
Wish us luck!
Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.
Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.