So what?

Almost 48hours back in London. Second day in the office.

We landed on Monday in a cloud of typical London rain and low hanging grey clouds; we had not seen rain in 5 weeks. When not sleeping on the flight I kept thinking about our trip; the good, the bad and the ugly. Before I forget here’s my attempt to summarise key points.

Best place we woke up at 
A deserted beach with no name by Lake Titikaka. We were woken up by the sound of the fishing boat’s engine as he was taking his boat out to pick up the net  he’d laid out the night before. The stillness and quietness of the morning and the vastness of the lake.
All alone on the shores of Lake Titikaka. Not pictured: me doing Insanity


Worst place we woke up at 
Without a doubt a construction site behind a petrol station (it keeps getting better) at about 4200m as we were crossing the Andes going from Cusco to Arica. It had not stopped raining all night and I REALLY needed to use the bathroom.
Yes this happened
Best food we ate 
The asado Andy made in San Juan (Argentina). We bought the meat at the local village were we patiently waited for the shops to open at 6.30pm after their siesta. Andy handled all the discussions with the local butcher and cooked the meat at the grill provided at the camping ground on the foot of the national observatory.
Also not to be forgotten is our impromptu 5 course lunch at the Septima vineyard.
Worst food we ate 
Tough call. The curanto at Chiloe definitely makes the list of top three. The banana and tuna lunch Andy made for a post surfing session would also make the list had i eaten it but still deserves a notable mention here. Other than that there’s been a lot of instant noodles and Knorr soups consumed as well as plain half boiled pasta. Once again all the things you never see on social media but definitely happen behind the scenes.
Needless to say there are no pictures for these 🙂
Top three
  • The books I read. The time I had to really read them, think about them and fully digest their meaning. The 100 year life weighs heavy on my mind now. If I have to work until I am 70-80 what would I want that life to look like? Where would I live it and who would I want around? If I live to 100 years that 65 more years on this planet. That’s a long time to spend doing something that you kind-of like and surrounding yourself with people that you kind-of get along with. I  now know that I am an ambivert (yes that’s a word) and that I need to build safeguards so that my extroverted nature does not take over, that I need to save some of my energy for my weekends and the people I love.
  • Sleeping in a small bed and ‘surviving’ on a suitcase’s worth of clothes. I came back to find a box of exercise gear at home. A whole box. I spent 6 months with only a pair of leggings, a pair of shorts, a couple of t-shirts and sports bras. Why do I need all this stuff? I am looking forward to going shopping in my closet and not buying anything for a while (I reserve the right to change my mind the moment I walk past Zara).
  • The calmness. Over the last couple of weeks as the return day got closer and closer I got more and more stressed. My list of things to do in London got longer and longer. From minor things (cancelling Sky subscription and going to the dentist) to more complicated stuff (eg how on earth will we fit all of our possessions in NH); the weight of London life at times feels unbearable. Life can be a lot simpler and I need to remember that.


Andy’s excitement for photography, his unbelievable patience (with me and when it comes to waiting for weather conditions to change) and relentless pursuit for deliberate practice when learning something new.

Unfinished business

Time flies. In 6 weeks we will be back in London. Before we left, we noted down a list of things we’d want to do and achieve on this trip. Not just places we’d want to see but things we’d want to: 

  • learn (e.g. improve our surfing),
  • experience (e.g. Spending 6 months together in a van and meeting people we don’t usually come across in our London life) and, 
  • do (e.g. Spend more time reading books, meditating etc)

But with 8 weeks to go we realised we had to make some choices as to where we’d go, how much time we’d spend there etc. Cusco or the Bolivian salt flats? The Amazon or Easter Island? More surfing or more trekking?

This has led us to create a list of things that we have had to skip. On this trip. Here’s where we got to and where we’d probably start next time we are thinking of taking a holiday. 

  1. Antarctica. Would have blown our budget and seen us return to the UK 4 months too soon but it’s definitely on the list 
  2. Galapagos. Again, expensive and something we keep telling ourselves we can easily do when older 
  3. Amazon. Up until yesterday the plan was to go to Iquitos and spend a week on a river boat in the Amazon. Unfortunately, Iquitos flooded and the other option in Peru, Manu, was as expensive as the Galapagos (but a bargain compared to Antarctica) 
  4. Bolivian Salt Flats. This was skipped in favour of Cusco though we might, might, be able to visit the salt flats as we drive south to Santiago 
  5. Equador, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil. There’s clearly a need for a northern Latin America tour 
  6. Fly fishing. Andy’s finally come to terms with the fact that he did not get to try this out 
  7. Carnival. I had this vision of us spending carnival at a remote village somewhere but we spent Carnival on different continents  

This is by no means a list of complaints. We have seen, done and experienced a whole host of different, surprising, exciting, disappointing, hilarious things. But there’s only so much we can squeeze into 6 months. 

Quick update 21.03.17

We are in Cusco and we are alive. We have not updated the site in a while because internet in Bolivia (yes we were there) was crap and then when we crossed into Peru I managed to give Andy “Deli Belly” (με αλλά λόγια γαστρεντερίτιδα). 

We have spent the last week in Cusco. Andy went mountain biking in the jungle, I went up to Machu Picchu. Most of our free time has been spent debating what we will do with our last 6 weeks in the continent in light of the floods in northern Peru. 2 pisco sours in (each) its looking like there’s a lot more surfing in our future – but who knows. 

There are more blogs and updates of our shenanigans coming up over the next week or so to catch you up with our adventures. 

Rest assured we are safe, not in imminent flood danger and, 5 months in, still talking to each other. 

Love you all 

Pisco sour #3 is waiting for us. 

The passport chronicles (part 2) 

I got into Athens a week ago now on a very early morning flight from rainy London. Athens is enjoying its halcyon days, the sky is an electric blue and the sun is warm, inviting everyone to be outside.

Unfortunately I have not been able to enjoy much of it. Of the seven days I’ve been here I’ve been cooped up in various public offices every morning.

Continue reading “The passport chronicles (part 2) “

Worries, anxieties and fears

Dear friends,

as some of you know the last month and a bit has not been easy. Since our car was broken into in Trelew I have become increasingly agoraphobic and anxious. I insist that we always park Gellan in estacionamentos when in cities, take my few remaining valuables up on the tent with us at night despite the perfectly adequate safebox in the car… As the day of my flight to Athens loomed over us I became more and more worried over the possibility of flying all the way to Athens but failing to get an emergency passport which would see me ‘stuck’ in Greece. I know there’s a lot worse places for one to be stuck, but that’s not where I want to be for the next three months. There’s still surfing to be enjoyed, a wedding to attend and spending some time with  tribes in the Amazon.

I know I am being paranoid. I know that worrying, stressing and lying sleepless in the middle of the night will not magically produce a passport. As someone far wiser than me said “In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double”.

Nevertheless, three months to the day since we first got to South America I am boarding a plane back to Athens. And so until I get a new passport I am password protecting this site so that noone other than you can see what we are up to.  It will ease some of my paranoia so please bear with me.

The password? Could not be anything else other than ‘goingloco’ 🙂


Daphne xoxo


p.s. apologies for any spelling mistakes. I am writting to you from my BA hotel on an ancient computer where everything is in Spanish (including spell checking so that I get a red line under every word). And obviously this is a Windows computer which I have not used since 2009 #firstworldproblems


The most precious thing

First of all a disclaimer. This is being written in Mendoza, after a four course lunch with paired wines where I have had to consume most of the wines (one of the small perks of having your drivers license stolen and technically not being able to drive).

Now, to the chase. A lot of friends and family ask me how we are doing, what we are up to etc. But one of our dearest colleagues asked me the killer question. “What is the most precious thing you’ve learnt so far?”. Boom. 

So, Claudia Woah-Shea this is for you (as Andy always refers to you as). 

The most precious thing i have learned is that planning is not the be all and end all. For those of you who know me, you know that I like boxes, and organisation, and lists and bullet points. For those of you who know Andy you are probably thinking “how has she not killed him yet?”  

Ain’t gonna lie to you. It’s been close. Like the time he suggested a 35k detour down a horrible gravel road to get to Villa Traful. But then that ended up being one of the nicest locations on our trip. Or the time he suggested a winery lunch. Which brought us at the most award winning winery in Mendoza. 

The most precious thing I’ve learned is that I need a broad directional plan. I don’t to have a detailed military expedition outlining every stop for the next 10days. Because the fun stuff, the stuff that take centre stage in my short list of favourite things we’ve done so far were not on any detailed plan. 

To paraphrase one of the most famous Greek poems, it’s about the journey not the destination. And to be more precise 

“As you set out to Ithaka, 

Hope the voyage is a long none, 

Full of adventure full of discovery.” 

…and further down… 

” And if you find her poor, Ithaka will not have fooled you. 

Wise as you have become, so full of experience, 

You will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean” 

Full poem here 

What are you grateful for?

This is what we usually talk about before we fall asleep. Specifically, what three things in the day are each of us thankful / grateful for. Not every night, but regularly.

This, oddly, did not come about via a book / course on mindfulness but rather the question first came up after I read Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech at UC Bercley earlier this year (see it here). During the speech Sheryl talks very candidly about the death of her husband whilst on a family holiday and how she is working on coming up with a Plan B to her life. One of her coping mechanisms is to note down things, big and small, that she’s thankful for. She says “counting your blessings can actually increase your blessings”.

I am currently reading Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans (book review coming soon) where a similar approach is recommended as a meditative practice. Thinking about what one is thankful for at the end of the day seems to be very much common practice. Tim refers to it as  gratitude training though in the book (ever the list-master) he suggests that you create categories of things that you are thankful for (people, work etc). Another interesting idea from the same book: 21 days without complaining.

Either way, I find it a very helpful exercise in grounding myself, reminding me to see the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff (which I am VERY good at doing sometimes). Even on days when our car gets smashed.

Notes of a novice van-wife

Almost two months into this trip and there’s a lot I have learned. Thought I’d write down tips and advice learned the hard way when I chose to leave my pristine Notting Hill flat and sizeable shoe collection behind and travel around South America in a van with an anosmic.

Keeping everything clean 

Turns out the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was right. Windex does cure everything. So stock up on gel soap and make up remover wipes. Not because you will be wearing make up but because you can use said wipes to clean everything. I have recently used them to clean

Continue reading “Notes of a novice van-wife”

Surviving the long drives 

It’s now been a month and a bit that we’ve been travelling and we have almost perfected the art of in car entertainment. Two people, spending every waking hour together, stuck in a small confined and dusty place… it ain’t easy. Here are our tips for long drives and how to survive them.


They are life saviours and tend to give rise to interesting follow on conversation (i.e. More entertainment opportunities). Our favourites are

  1. The Tim Ferriss podcast where Tim interviews a series of people from all walks of life, some of them famous, some of them not who have something to say. One of our favourites is the Alex Honnold one (obviously) though one of this latest on “Tools of Titans” also generated quite a lot of conversation.
  2. The My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast. Does what it says on the tin. It’s probably the worst porn book out there but the commentary from the son and his two friends is legendary. Loads of laughs, some of them tear-inducing.
  3. Desert Island Discs. A classic though for some reason the recording is not loud enough so on gravel roads (ie most of the time) we can barely hear what Kristy and her guests are saying.
  4. The Moth and The Story Club. Podcasts where storytellers (professionals or not) narrate stories from their lives in open mike events. Random content but always very interesting.

20 questions.

Old school game, we play it often on long journeys to Font. Think of someone (dead or alive, real or fictional character) and the other person has 20 yes/ no questions to guess heir identity. We have recently narrowed down the scope to “people of note”; people that we think each other should know for their contributions to humanity / history. Choices have included Ansel Adams, Ada Lovelace, Lord Elgin.

Photo shoots.

I have become a master of spotting interesting pictures and Andy is always up for shooting things. Admittedly this often adds an hour or more to our drive or results in me posing barefoot with a flimsy dress in the middle of a muddy path – but it’s fun and yet another topic of conversation.


A lot of it and across all genres. From Diplo to Daft Punk to Beethoven and Verdi. Anything goes. Actually that’s not entirely true – my UK Top40 Spotify playlist was recently vetoed.

If anyone’s got any other ideas please let us know. Two of us in a van for another 4 months. And no, debating the weight of depleted uranium is not an option. That’s a cherished topic reserved for Orestis and Justin when driving to Font.