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Simona and Jure's one year journey

Deciding for a one year journey is not a piece of cake, but we do have some courageous Slovenes as the married couple Simona and Jure. They shared their thoughts and views in an interview. To everyone who is hesitating at deciding for a trip like this, Simona admits: “I am not going to lie, it's not easy to leave home for such a long time, it's going to take a lot of work, the last 24 hours before leaving and the first 12 hours after leaving are going to be the worst, but after that you can be excited about the greatest adventure of your life.”

Why did you decide to go? The initiative was probably Simona's, right? Is this a part of your honeymoon?
Jure: »Yes. It was Simona's initiative. We have wanted to do something like this for quite some time, but the problems were always jobs and money. We were looking for ways how combine our jobs, and we succeeded pretty well – we travelled many times for shorter periods of time. Travelling gets you hooked, you always want more, so our »trips« weren't enough anymore. When I was allowed to make some changes at my work – now I can work while travelling and Simona arranged her job in a way that enabled us to travel for an extensive period of time. We have visited many places since our wedding, but we could say that this is our official honeymoon.«

You left behind your life in Graz. Does it take a toll on your work or studies? 
Simona: »Actually no. As said, Jure is still at work, but for shorter amount of hours. He works online, without any complication so far. If anything our travelling is suffering because of that. We always travel in accordance with Jure's schedule and we have to find accommodation with good internet. The biggest problem so far was Bolivia, so we didn't stay long. To our big surprise Australia was a bit stiff with internet. But Jure was on holiday at the time of our visit to Australia.«

Jure: »We finished our studies long ago, but in order for Simona to get time off she had to enrol a study. She now studies online because she needs to collect a certain amount of ECTS points for her employer. The first semester is finished and she is looking forward to the new semester.«

Simona: We will not complain because we know very well that not everyone gets an opportunity like that, so we grabbed with both hands.«

Are you proficient in languages? Are you concerned about travelling in countries where they don't speak a known language? 
Simona: »Yes, we are both linguists by profession. Next to Slovenian we are fluent in German, English, we are »solid« in Spanish (you kind of have to be when you travel in South America), we also don't have any problems with languages of ex-Yugoslavia.« 

Jure: »When we arrive to a new country, we always learn to say hello and thank you in that language. In Myanmar Simona learned to write and read their numbers. We see travelling to countries where they don't speak »our« languages as a challenge. The hardest was in Brazil, because we don't speak Portuguese, they didn't understand our English, German or Spanish. So we were left with »body language«, but we made it work.« 

You have been on the road for quite some time. Are you felling homesick? Do you think that your trip is going to extend or shorten? 
Simona: »Well, homesickness is a very elusive concept. We were quite homesick in South America and also in the US, but we think it's because of the holidays which we spent away from home and family for the first time. But soon after Australia it went away and at the moment we aren't homesick.« 

Jure: »We are not planning to extend or shorten our journey. Even though we haven't bought a return ticket yet, we are going back sometime before the last weekend in July, because we have a very important wedding to attend and we promised that we would come. We are planning to spend August on the road, we don't know where exactly, but somewhere closer to home. In September Simona has to go back to work, at least that's the plan, but you never know ... «
You surely had some interesting experiences. What is the one that you haven't shared with anybody yet? 
Jure and Simona: »Yes, we have many experiences and adventures. Hmmm. Sometime in October we were in Chile in the desert Atacama. We met a travelling couple from Manchester, Maryam and Andy. We spent a very hot afternoon on the terrace of the hostel and pondered upon how to save the world. After a few hours we exchanged contacts with a promise that we will meet in Europe in 2016.«

Jure and Simona: »A few months later we were in Sydney waiting to buy tickets for the Opera house tour when a tall men approached us and said: »Hello.« Andy! We immediately saw Maryam smiling and rushing towards us. We hugged as old friends, immediately arranged an afternoon coffee and spent the next day walking over the Harbour Bridge. We did meet in 2016, but on a very different continent.«

What do you miss the most at this moment and will you miss the most when you get back to Europe? 
Jure: »We miss our dog Cruz the most. He is with Simona's parents. We also miss our families and friends. What will we miss when we come? We don't know, ask us then. But we think it will be the way of life – from day to day, new experiences, people and places.« 

As volunteers of Hostelling International Slovenia you probably mostly stay at hostels? How would you compare European hostels with the ones on your journey? 
Jure and Simona: »We stayed exclusively in hostels in the US and Australia, because accommodation there is very expensive. In South America we sometimes stayed at hostels, sometimes hotels, but we always had a private room. In Asia we stay in hotels and guesthouses, because accommodation is cheaper here. We liked hostels in the US and Australia a lot, the only surprise was their size. They are huge with facilities that you normally have in a hotel – pools, lounges with the exception that you can cook by yourself and wash your clothes and they are much cheaper.« 

How does your »game plan« look like? What are your priorities? To visit as many countries as possible, or to go with the flow and enjoy?
Jure and Simona: »We don't have a game plane, really. When we went away in September we only knew that we have to be in Los Angeles on 23rd of December (we flew to Sydney from there). If we would be after passport stamps we wouldn't skip two countries in South America that were on the way and we would also be in the second or third country in Asia by now. We travel without a particular plan, we go with the flow. If we like it somewhere, we stay longer. If not, we move on. At this moment, I have no idea where we are going to be next week, still in Indonesia or somewhere else.«

Jure and Simona: »Of course we have priorities. In South America we really wanted to go to the Galapagos and the wish came true. In Australia Simona really wanted to experience the Outback and see Uluru, Jure's wish was to watch Roger Federer's match at the Australian Open, they both came true. In Asia, our big wish is Japan, but we would mostly like to enjoy their beautiful beaches.«

You decided to write a blog in English. Why not Slovenian? Are you counting on a potential sponsor for your travels? 
Jure: »Before we left we lived in Graz. Our colleagues and friends were very interested about our adventure, so we chose English. This way everyone at home, Austria and friends from different places in the world can follow what we are up to. As an English teacher I am convinced that English is not a problem for Slovenians – doing it this way we motivate you to practice your English.« 

Simona: »Sponsor!? Do you know anyone? You have our emails – available day and night. No, we set up the blog mostly for our friends and families. We also hope that we can somehow help other people with our information and motivate them to travel.«

Before the end, maybe a piece of advice for all those who are hesitating and don't explore the world. 
Jure and Simona: »If you are thinking about it, the third of the work is done. Most people think that doing this is completely crazy. Then comes the second part that requires the most work – organizing. Yes, there is a lot of work, bureaucracy and organizing, but once you made the decision all will take its course. Just don’t start too late (as we did) otherwise the last days will be very tense (they will be like that anyway). The hardest was the last evening before we left – the hardest last third. The atmosphere at home was suffocating, sad. We were packing, families just watched in silence. When we went to bed with thousands of things on our minds, with a very unpleasant feeling in our chests. After a few hours of “sleep” it was time to get up. We got the morning routine in motion, we checked the essentials: passport, wallets, credit cards, phones, chargers. OK, let’s go. At the airport in Ljubljana we had the last tea and coffee, we checked in for our flights and we said goodbye at the international zone. We still had that unpleasant feeling through the entire flight and the first night in Brazil. But when we woke up the next morning and started discovering new things and places it went away.«  

Simona: »So, If you are thinking of taking this step – I am not going to lie, it's not easy to leave home for such a long time, it's going to take a lot of work, the last 24 hours before leaving and the first 12 hours after leaving are going to be the worst, but after that you can be excited about the greatest adventure of your life.« 

You can follow Simona and Jure on their blog or Facebook page

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