We almost missed our 10th anniversary of traveling the world. One evening, under the wonderful starry sky here in Australia, I suddenly realized that we have left Switzerland 10 years ago. In 2007 we quit our jobs, sold our house, got rid of most of our stuff and left Switzerland to discover the world. That was in February 2007, and now is already April 2017. That’s more than 10 years!
On the 26th of February 2007, after about one year of planning and preparing, we flew from Switzerland to Southeast Asia. A huge step and start into a completely new life. Technically, we have not been on the road for 10 years because we have lived and worked in Switzerland for almost two years since we left. But we are still celebrating our 10th anniversary of traveling the world with this blog post.
With the departure from Switzerland, we also left our “normal” life and the security as well as our families and friends behind. Our life has changed dramatically and became a completely new meaning. Quite different things are suddenly important and we have certainly changed a lot during the years of traveling and living abroad.
We have exchanged our corporate life of luxury for a much simpler and minimalistic life. Before leaving, we sold our house, cars and many other possessions; we have given away and disposed of many things and reduced our life to the most important things. Since then, we are only traveling with the most necessary things and all of them have to fit in a suitcase.
We have no regrets that we have taken the big step and decided to completely turn our lives upside down. Since we are on the road, we have much more time for us and we enjoy the nature much more. We spend most of our time outside and our bodies have grown accustomed to a life outdoors. Quite different things have become important in our lives and we are happy and content.
Our life as scuba diving instructors on a small island in the middle of the ocean
Of course, we also have to earn money to support our new lifestyle. We made our big hobby, scuba diving, to our new profession. With our license to teach scuba diving, we are able to work and earn money in the most beautiful places of the world. It’s great to life on a small island in the middle of the ocean and go diving every single day. Of course, it can also be hard work and from time to time diving guests can be very demanding. Nevertheless, we have never lost our love for the underwater world and we still like scuba diving a lot.
Where have we been and what have we done since 2007?
2007: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Maldives, Switzerland
We start our long trip and fly to Thailand. With our backpacks we travel through the countries of Southeast Asia. We are captivated by the beauty of these countries, the nature and the friendly smiles of the Asians.
Traveling with a backpack only is as completely new experience. We enjoy our freedom and spontaneously decide where to go next. On the way we organize the visas, which we need for the next country. Especially Myanmar impresses us very much and we are glad that we are allowed to travel through this interesting country.
At the end of our trip through Southeast Asia, we fly back to Thailand. We want to become scuba diving instructors and have signed up for the necessary training. On the island Koh Tao we rent a small house and a motorbike. For a few weeks we are busy learning and preparing for the scuba diving instructor certification. During three days, we have to go through a number of tests and assessments but at the end we both have our license as PADI scuba diving instructors in our pockets.
After some days of rest we are looking for our first jobs as freelance scuba diving instructors. It’s a great feeling to earn money in our new job and after some days, we have already earned enough to pay the rent for our house.
Most of the scuba diving instructors on Koh Tao are working on a freelance basis. We would love to get a fix contract and so we are looking for jobs in other destinations. We are extremely lucky and within a few weeks we already have job offers from the Maldives. A few weeks after the certification to scuba diving instructors we already fly from Thailand to the Maldivian island Kuredu.
2008: Maldives, Switzerland
We work and live on the Maldivian Island Kuredu. In our first job as scuba diving instructors, we learn a lot. Kuredu is one of the largest Maldivian islands and so we have a whole bunch of work colleagues, of whom we can learn from. We enjoy the underwater world to the fullest and we have lots of exiting encounters. We snorkel with manta rays and dolphins and see lots of fascination creatures under water. Teaching as a scuba diving instructor is also fun and there is nothing better than to see the bright eyes of a student after their first dive in the Indian Ocean.
Time flies and a year have passed already. We have to decide whether we want to extend our employment contract for another year. Since we want to see more of the world and want to travel, we decide against it and say goodbye to the Maldives for now.
We celebrate Christmas and New Year in Switzerland with our families and friends.
2009: Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Switzerland
In Switzerland we are preparing for our next adventure. In January we fly via Hong Kong to New Zealand. We stay in Hong Kong for a few days to explore this city before we fly on to New Zealand.
In New Zealand we rent a small campervan and discover the north and south island of this beautiful country for two months. We love the green pastures, the possibility to walk on the glacier and swim in the Ocean on the same day and, of course, the beautiful landscapes.
After New Zealand we spend another eight months traveling and camping in Australia. Since the vehicle rental is far too expensive for such a long trip, we buy a Toyota LandCruiser converted into a camper and start our road trip around Australia. We circumnavigate this huge country in counter-clockwise direction and we also leave the coast several times to drive inland.
We are blown away by the variety of landscapes that this vast country has to offer. Especially the long distances and the remoteness of some places are extremely impressive. It’s the complete opposite of what we are used to in Switzerland. We are also impressed by the fantastic flora and fauna and the hospitality of the Australians.
After eight months we have to sell our vehicle and say goodbye to Australia. Before we left Switzerland, we have decided to travel for a few years and then return to our corporate jobs in Switzerland. Now is the time to stop traveling and settle again.
At the end of the year, we fly back to Switzerland and spend Christmas and New Year with our families and friends.
2010: Switzerland, Indonesia
In Switzerland, we get back to our normal life, rent an apartment, buy a car and apply for a job. In no time we are back to the 9-to-5 routine. At the beginning we are fully motivated, because returning to corporate jobs was our plan when we started our timeout.
Because we are back in the “normal” working life, we only have a few weeks of holidays a year. We miss scuba diving a lot and so we book two weeks of diving holidays on the Indonesian island of Nabucco. We enjoy the beautiful clear waters of the Indian Ocean and spend a lot of time under water. We also like the lifestyle on the small island and we realize what we miss back home. The first doubts start to rise. We wonder why we are working and living in Switzerland again and not on a small island somewhere in the middle of the Ocean. Could we imagine living and working on a small paradise island again?
2011: Namibia, Switzerland, Maldives
Sometimes it comes differently than you think. The initial excitement and motivation are quickly replaced by gray and dreary everyday life. We feel more and more in the wrong place and regret that we have not traveled for longer. Did we really want to go back to our 9-to-5 jobs after our timeout? Our life and daily routine becomes a nightmare and we feel like plants that receive too little light and food.
We ask for long holidays to temporarily escape from our jobs and travel to Namibia for three weeks. We enjoy our camping holidays and discover a new country. We hire a 4WD vehicle with a roof tent and explore this beautiful country with the wild animals. We have a lot of time to think about our lives. Every evening at the camp fire under the beautiful starry sky, we are discussing about our future. At the end of the trip, our decision to leave Switzerland for an indefinite time is made.
In November it is time to say goodbye to our families and friends again. We fly from Switzerland to the Maldives. Earlier this year, in January, we met our former employer from the Maldives and he offered us a job on the small Maldivian island Komandoo.
2012: Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Switzerland
We are extremely happy to work on the Maldives again. We like the small and cozy island Komandoo much more that the big island Kuredu, where we have worked before. We enjoy our life as scuba diving instructors to the fullest and have a lot of fun sharing our passion for scuba diving and the underwater world with our guests and scuba diving students.
As the resort closes down for a few weeks due to renovations, we have time to discover new countries. We pack our backpacks and fly to Sri Lanka and India for a couple of months.
We spend four weeks in Sri Lanka and explore this country, which is so close to the Maldives, by public transport. We hike in the mountains, do a train ride through tea plantations, watch the fishermen go fishing, visit ancient temples and have the chance to participate in ceremonies in one of the temples.
India almost knocks us out of our shoes. There are so many beautiful buildings that seem to come from a fairy tale world. On the other side, we see mountains of rubbish everywhere, poverty and people who are dying on the streets. We have never seen a country with such extremes and are not sure whether we love it or not.
Towards the end of the year, we also have a short holiday, where we visit our families and friends in Switzerland.
2013: Maldives, Thailand, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia
We extend our employment contract for another year and continue working as scuba diving instructors on the Maldivian Island Komandoo. The underwater world still fascinates us and we always find something that we haven’t seen before. We are thrilled to see the changes in the reefs, as we dive in the same dive spots for a long time already.
During our two week break we travel to Thailand. On the way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai we visit the ancient royal cities of Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai. We enjoy these cultural highlights as well as the delicious Thai food and the kind hospitality of the Thai people.
In October we say goodbye to the Maldives. The decision whether to extend our contract for a third year or to move on is not easy for us. In the end, however, we decide to move on because there is still so much we want to discover.
We travel to Switzerland where we have one and a half months to plan our next trip and enjoy the time together with family and friends. In November we fly via Singapore to Australia. In Singapore, we have a few days to explore this interesting, clean and bustling city. We like the mixture of Asian and European elements.
From Singapore we fly to Adelaide in Australia. The first few days we can stay with friends. We can take our time to buy our vehicle, get organized for our trip and fix some things on our Toyota LandCruiser.
2014: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Switzerland
For the second time, we spend a lot of time exploring Australia. From Adelaide in South Australia, we drive once around Australia in a counterclockwise direction. Of course, we also drive many remote 4WD tracks in the outback, cross deserts and sleep amidst the beautiful nature under stunning starry skies.
For a change, we enjoy a month’s holiday in Indonesia. We spend time on the beautiful Gili Islands and relax on the beautiful beaches. But the highlight of our holidays in Indonesia is the dive trip on a liveaboard in the Komodo National Park near the island of Flores. The Komodo National Park is famous for its incredibly strong currents, beautiful coral reefs and a breathtaking underwater world. We also love the creaking of the wooden sailboat. We spend a whole week on a ship where we eat, dive, sleep and repeat.
Back in Australia we travel to Western Australia. After 10 months of traveling through Australia we are slowly coming to the end of our trip. Suddenly, everything goes very quick. We sell our vehicle, sooner than expected, close to Perth without finishing our lap around Australia.
Actually it is too early to return to Switzerland. It is autumn in Switzerland and we do not want to be in Switzerland during this time of the year. So we decide to start our trip home but take our time and stop on the way in Malaysia and Thailand.
We fly from Australia to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and spend a few days in a cool AirBnB. Our apartment is located in a high rise building with an infinity pool on the top level. What a dream.
From Malaysia we fly to Chiang Mai, where we enjoy the delicious Thai food for one month. Our timing is good and one of our dreams comes true. During Loy Krathong / Yi Peng, we can take part in the Mae Jo Lantern Festival. At this magical festival of lights, thousands of paper lanterns rise into the sky. We are speechless.
We spend Christmas, New Year and winter with our families and friends in Switzerland. During the three months in Switzerland, we also have plenty of time to explore our home country. With the Swiss Travel Pass, we can travel on the Swiss railway network and public transport for one month.
2015: Indonesia, Thailand, Switzerland, Philippines, Malaysia
The New Year starts with a completely new chapter in our lives. We have a job on the small, remote island Pulau Pef in Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat is located in West Papua, the easternmost part of Indonesia. We have heard a lot of this little paradise in the middle of the Ocean. Now we live and work here in this wonderful place on earth.
We are far from any civilization. The only thing on the small island is the resort and dive center under Swiss management. The next local airport is Sorong and that’s also the place where we are getting our supplies from. From Pulau Pef it’s a four-hour boat ride to Sorong.
I run the dive center and Reni takes care of marketing and IT. We are experiencing many wonderful moments on Pulau Pef and we are fascinated by the joy of life of the Papuans. We also work a lot and the working days are very long and busy.
Of course, we also need holidays, which we spend with our families and friends in Switzerland. We do not fly directly to Switzerland but stop in Thailand, where we visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai.
At the end of the year we have another four weeks holiday and this time we travel to the Philippines. We concentrate on the island group of the Visayas and visit the islands of Negros, Siquijor, Bohol and Malapasqua. We enjoy the beautiful islands and are fascinated by the beauty of the underwater world. Above all, we will never forget the encounter with the impressive but also strange Thresher Sharks.
Unfortunately, we will also never forget the theft on Siquijor, where all our electronic devices and much more got stolen. It’s Christmas time but with the loss of all our gear we are not really in festive mood. We are invited to the Christmas celebration and the traditional suckling pig by Philippinos. This hospitality helps us over our frustration and we can again concentrate on our future.
We spend New Year’s Eve in Kuala Lumpur before returning to Pulau Pef.
2016: Indonesia, Malaysia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Australia
We are still working on Pulau Pef for the first four months of the year before we move on. We still like the lifestyle on a small remote island and above all the diving but we also feel that it is time for us to move on and face new adventures.
In March we spend three weeks in Bali, where we once again immerse ourselves in the wondrous world of this magic place.
This year we spend a little more time in Switzerland. With the Swiss Travel Pass we enjoy free travel by public transport for two weeks. These two weeks we use intensively to travel on the most beautiful railway routes in Switzerland. We also take the train ride up to the Rigi and the Schynige Platte and experience beautiful mountain sceneries and gorgeous weather.
During our South Germany road trip, we explore a bit more of our neighboring country Germany. We visit the wine festival in Wurzburg, stop by at the Porsche and Mercedes Benz Museums in Stuttgart and explore the hospitable Tubingen in pouring rain.
In September we start our biggest travel project so far. On a road trip around the world, we want to visit as many countries as possible with our own vehicle. Start of our road trip around the world is Australia. We start in Perth and first we have to find the right vehicle. We are very lucky and after a few days we are already proud owners of a Toyota LandCruiser.
On our long road trip through Australia we discover this huge country in all its beauty. It’s already the third time we are on the road in Australia and yet there are still a lot of places we have not seen or places we want to revisit.
How will our future look like?
We are still not tired of traveling and exploring the world. When we look at the world map there are still a lot of places we have not seen yet. The first 10 years since we are away from home, we have spent most of our time in Southeast Asia and Oceania. During the next 10 years, we want to explore other parts of the world, such as Asia, America and Europe. With our own vehicle, we want to explore the world and travel as much as possible.
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