Home » Coming home: The end of over three years of travel

Coming home: The end of over three years of travel

Three and a half years after leaving New Zealand, I arrived back home.

From July 2015 to December 2018, I lived out of a backpack, sleeping wherever I could, running for trains, getting scammed. But apart from this woefully updated blog, what exactly do I have to show for it?

Kagbeni, Nepal
Kagbeni, Nepal
Hampi sunset
Hampi, India

Let’s start with some numbers. During this trip, I visited 53 countries, spending 1,241 nights abroad. I wrote 797 pages in my diary and took 95,023 photos. I busted a camera in Bulgaria and a lens in Bosnia. I left a phone in a London taxi, broke a laptop, and lost my headphones when I fell down a gorge on my way to see the Dalai Lama.

Indian woman at market
Madurai, India
Tibetan pagoda in Sichuan
Daocheng, Sichuan

That fall was responsible for one of my two hospital visits of the trip. That total could’ve been more, had I got medical attention when bitten by a dog in an abandoned mine in Montenegro, or after standing on sea urchins in Croatia.

Temple of Confucius, Qufu
Temple of Confucius, Qufu
Zhangjiajie, China
Zhangjiajie, China

Then there was the sickness that started from drinking river water in Kyrgyzstan. Not that my travel style exactly promoted good health. I had grueling 40 hour journeys across India, shared my bed with fleas, rats and worse, and even slept on the streets.

Golden temple, Amritsar
Golden temple, Amritsar
Kawah Ijen lake at sunrise
Kawah Ijen, Java
Bhaktapur, Nepal
Bhaktapur, Nepal

I hitchhiked hundreds of times, from giant trucks on Europe’s highways to motorbikes in Rajasthan. I rode buses through the Himalayas in Nepal, took “flying coffin” boats along Borneo’s rivers, and saw suicidal driving around Tibet.

Camel at sunset
Pushkar camel fair
Ala Kul pass, Kyrgyzstan
Ala Kul pass, Kyrgyzstan

I trekked to Everest Base Camp, around the Annapurna Circuit, through Tiger Leaping Gorge, in the Terskey Alatau mountains and the mighty Caucasus range. I slept in the Thar Desert, crept through bat-infested caves in Mulu National Park, and watched the blue fire in Kawah Ijen’s crater. I saw rhinos in Nepal, orangutans in Sumatra, and pandas in China. I visited the otherworldly Zhangjiajie, climbed Tai Shan, and breathed Beijing’s poisonous air. I even acted in a Bollywood movie.

Orangutan, Sumatra
Orangutan in Sumatra
Lhotse, Everest Base Camp
Ek Chilo Raja
My acting debut

All in all, that was one hell of a 12 months. Add another 2.5 years into the mix, and I’ve got a few stories to tell. Starting with this one: Seeing the Dalai Lama — and almost dying in the process


  1. Youbin says:

    Such a long way you have been… As one of your travel mates, I really respect your patience. I don’t know I can handle sleeping with rats and fleas, bleeding so much blood in a foreign country, and more challenges you’ve faced on the road. I am glad you made it!!! I can’t wait to listen to your travel stories Danny.

  2. Aummhani says:

    Oh my God
    You have seen death more than once you think that makes you think again about traveling or life I love you forever ❤

  3. Himmy says:

    You’re such an inspiration Dan! Thanks for sharing all your incredible experiences. Welcome home – it must be surreal to be back after such life-changing adventures.

    • youmustroam says:

      Thanks for reading it Himmy, it has definitely been a wild ride. And thanks for the welcome home! I will be publishing more very soon 🙂

      • Himmy says:

        I definitely look forward to more! Every time I read a post I feel like I’m reading a short story, except it’s all true – love the style as much as the anecdotes 🙂

  4. Dylan Marshall says:

    Hey Dan, welcome back to New Zealand and all the very best for re establishing yourself. I’m in awe of the travel experiences you’ve had.

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