Not to Put You Off, But These Things We Have Learnt

Just to tell you that although we are having a ball, there are some difficulties with all this travel


  1. Living out of a suitcase for a long period of time is the pits, I can never find anything I want. I have found I have brought stuff I probably will not use and left stuff I need. Mainly because we are here for so long.

  2. Do not bring more than the suitcases you can carry. Suitcases need to be carried up stairs and on to trains fast.

    1. Shoes are heavy leave as many as you can at home.

    2. Leave clothes "you might need" at home. You can buy anything you really need.I have got smart dresses I will never wear and have had to buy formal gear for the Queen Mary ​2.

    3. Only buy when you throw out! Very hard so leave some space in those suitcases.

  3. Doctors and dentists can be difficult. I am buying medication online. Check ups are hard. Make sure you are in top condition before you travel. 

  4. Have travel insurance and the money for a trip home (business class - If you are sick) in the bank at all times.

  5. You will need someone at home and someone in Europe to act as a Post Box. You must trust them to open your mail and scan it to you.

    1. A ​post box is necessary in the place you are based, for car insurance (cheaper to buy a car if you intend to be away more than a year), car registration etc.

    2. Car rego and insurance need an English address, and insurance was very difficult as we are not able to supply an English bank account. Again, thanks to relatives we got it sorted with an insurance company for Aussies.

    3. You may also need a mailbox for other things like mail from home.

  6. Laundry is very difficult not many launderettes any more. We have found ourselves at caravan parks with the permanent caravan dwellers (enough said) and I really want to put on an ironed shirt or at least one that has been ironed and not folded into a suitcase. We have been luck staying with family and friends, but this is still an issue.

  7. Getting lost not a problem on holiday, but all the time feeling lost is both exhilarating and frustrating. Not so bad now we have Bruce (GPS). We picked up Bruce (l secretly call him Ross), in a cash converters in Leith, Edinburgh one evening for £15, a cheap buy, we think. The only problem he wanted to travel the fastest way and of course we wanted the countryside way. We will work this out with Bruce. We also cannot upgrade him as the website tells us our cables are not original!! So we can only use Bruce in Great Britain. Still I do not intend to drive on the continent if I do it will be in a hire car with a GPS

  8. Hotel rooms are never big enough and there is always something that either does not work or keeps one awake.

  9. Eating out lovely but every meal! Thank goodness for family and friends feeding us great food at home. But I still long for a week of sensible cooking. Breakfast is tempting when it is paid for but bacon and eggs (and sausage, beans, toast, tomatoes, hash browns) is too much every day. Lunch do we have a cooked lunch or see if we can find a sandwich? (sandwiches are expensive might as well have got a cooked lunch) and do we have a drink? Might as well we’re now in a pub or restaurant. The alcohol intake has gone up! Then dinner fabulous meals, but do we want them every night, no I want something simple (and in front of the TV – naughty I know)

  10. Sightseeing is expensive, doing it every day is costly. I keep finding souvenirs I must buy. We have joined National Trust and English Heritage but there are enough of the other places that charge and even for pensioners it is around $25 each. Not that I begrudge it upkeep on these places is expensive.

  11. Some purchases are difficult too. I cannot update my Norton on line, as I can only buy the English version different price to Australian version. The website therefore demands and English credit/debit card. The same with telephone top ups.

  12. Not having an address is also sometimes very difficult, where do we get things sent to such as English Heritage cards! Thanks again friends and relatives.

  13. The internet is a nightmare. We cannot get it in the house as we do not have an English bank account to make the payments from. I purchased a mobile Wi-Fi and it cost the equivalent of $50 for 3 Gigabytes which lasted 2 days and was so slow I could not do anything, except swear. When asked they said I cannot leave it on all the time as it uses data all the time. I am now back to tethering to my phone which drops the connection every few minutes causing me to reconnect all the time, more swearing.

  14. When we returned from France, the immigration guy told us leaving the country and coming back does not allow a restart of 6 months, he said the fact we kept coming back means they should use 6 months from when we first arrived. I think he was telling us to twist the truth when next we enter the country and tell them we are here for a short holiday!!!!

  15. Living in a foreign country is fun but shopping is interesting when you are shopping by pictures. I really feel for the illiterate in any country. I was making a cheese cake and got really soft cream cheese so the cheese cake was a bit sloppy, tasted OK. I also needed some hazelnuts I know the German for that but not for nougat so I now have hazelnut nougat.

  16. My Drivers licence needed renewing, this can be done on line once!!! When overseas, luckily it is renewable for 5 years. I had to fill in a huge long form and send it, my old drivers licence and a new photo To Australia I was petrified the whole lot would get lost. I registered the letter in Berlin. The German post could only follow it until Australia. The Australian site would not acknowledge the German registration number,  I had to email Australia Post. They were quite efficient much to my surprise and I heard that it had got there safely (that same day my sister told me the new one had arrived at her house!!!!). 

  17. My card from the bank expired. Now that is a big issue as all our money for bills and general living goes into my account and Ross has the "having a good time" money (that is so we do not spend all our money on having a good time!). I could not find out where the new card had gone or even if it had been sent anywhere. Thank goodness, we had changed the address for our bank to my sisters (she is a great PO Box for us in Australia). That to eventually turned up.

  18. Another card for another bank has also expired but as they only hand those out at a branch, it will wait until we get home. I can use internet banking for the money that goes in there.

  19. We have found for long overseas travel Citibank is the best. They are a common-sense bank, they will post debit and credit cards anywhere in the world.  They do not charge for money taken out of ATM’s anywhere in the world, their exchange rate is good and they do not charge for bank cheques unlike some banks that can charge up to $35 for a bank cheque. They also are the only bank that have not sent emails about someone using my card overseas when I did tell them all.


Just so you do not get the wrong idea I would not change what we have done for anything and am looking forward to the next year or so. I cannot wait to see what adventures we have. I hope you are happy to follow them with me as the retelling is fun. I just feel it is important to balance the magnificent times with the few stressful difficulties all of which are surmountable with fortitude.


What does not kill you makes you stronger after all.

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This is all my own work, any mistakes are mine please let me know if you think I should change anything or if I have added a photo of you that you would like removed. My apologise if I offend anyone. Please send me a message using the box above and I will action immediately.

Writer             : Clare Lyon

Editor             : Ross Lyon

Photography : Clare and Ross Lyon

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