By , October 14, 2011 6:00 am

Wow, I can hardly believe that we left home 100 days ago today. When I say it out loud, it sounds like a long time. A really long time. Especially when compared to the insignificant number of three – as in “three months,” which is what I was using just a few days ago to describe the length of time time we’ve been on the road.

In 100 days of travelling, we have visited 3 different countries, slept in 16 different beds, and eaten more than our fair share of local street food. Some of our favourite activities have included: Spanish classes in San Pedro, swimming with whale sharks in Isla Holbox, water caving in Semuc Champey, snorkeling with nurse sharks & stingrays in Caye Caulker, and climbing volcanoes in Guatemala.

So, how does 100 days feel? Like a long relaxing vacation. In truth, 100 days is about the perfect length for a vacation. If I could have a job where I could take 100 days out of every 365 as personal days, I would be quite content to work and holiday until the day I died.

Surprisingly, way more than I care to admit, I find myself thinking of work (as in the job I quit), sitting down to a glass of scotch with my good friends back home, eating a hamburger with a side eggroll at the Gateway Cafe, and wondering if the Town Hall building has fallen down yet. It’s just so hard to come to grips with the fact that this whole trip isn’t ending next week, or next month, or even next year. It really does still feel like a vacation.

We think a big part of the reason our trip is still feeling like a vacation, and not a lifestyle, is because we’ve been treating it like a vacation. We’ve been doing a lot of touristy sight-seeing, staying in touristy areas, and more importantly not working. It’s been a lot of fun, but I think we’re ready for a few changes.

Self Discovery:

Self discovery is a big part of our trip. We both left home thinking that we were going to travel the world, and in the process discover ourselves and what we want to do for the rest of our lives. At first, it was more of an undertone, but now it’s become a major focus in our trip. We don’t have anything figured out yet, but we are starting to learn a bit more about ourselves, and at least have a few ideas of things we know we like, and a few more we’d like try.

  • We Like Having a Place to Call Home:

One of the things we’ve learned about ourselves is that we don’t like travelling quickly. We both really enjoyed our time in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, where we stayed for 6 weeks. We liked getting to know our favourite market vendors, having our own kitchen, not having to pack our things up every day, and not having to spend 30% of our lives on buses. We liked sight-seeing and being tourists too, just not for long stretches of time.

  • We Don’t Need a Big House:

When we chose to sell our house to embark on this trip, one of the big arguments in favour of selling it was that the house was too small for us. It seemed only natural that when we returned home we would have to sell it and buy something larger anyways, so why put up with the hassle of renting. That perspective has changed after seeing the size of houses people live in here in Central America. When we think back on the house we sold, we almost feel that it was slightly too large for just the two of us, and anything bigger would be more than unnecessary.

  • We Feel Better When We Don’t Drink:

This is two part, we feel better in the morning because of the lack of hangover, and we feel better when we look at our bank account. In the last 100 days, we have consumed a total of 1 box and 2 glasses of wine, 6 beer, and a couple ounces of rum. We really appreciate what we do drink, but we rarely crave it, and get by just fine without it. And yes, the last beer I had was enough to get me drunk… it’s kind of fun being a lightweight again.

  • We Want to Volunteer:

Not working has actually been a little difficult to deal with. Not so much from the “we need more money” point of view, but more from the point of view that we’ve had 100 days to ourselves, and we haven’t really accomplished a whole lot. We want to start mixing in some accomplishments to look back on with our touristy fun, and we can’t think of a better way to do that than to volunteer some of our time to help someone else. We haven’t quite figured out what to do or where yet, but we are both ready to try our hand at volunteering.

  • We Want to Become More Spiritual:

This is a really weird thing to say for us, but we want to develop some sense of inner spirituality. I’m not talking about following an organized religion, or any specific set of teachings, but about developing a stronger set of personal beliefs and principles and changing our behaviours to better reflect them.

Thinking About the Future:

After 100 days of spending money, and not earning any to replace it, it has become obvious that this lifestyle is not sustainable. Sure, our travel funds are still holding out okay at 96%, but one day they are going to run out. Hopefully before that time comes, we will know what the next step is for us. Right now, we just have a few ideas, and a few things to try out before that time comes.

  • Return to our Careers:

We’ve tried the traditional careers (Mike being an Engineer, and Ashley a high school math teacher), and it may just be that we will return to that lifestyle when this is all over.

  • Work on a Farm:

We really want to try our hands at farm life. We both envision a small farm as a wonderfully rewarding job and healthy lifestyle. Not the kind of grain farms we have in Saskatchewan, but a really small family farm like they have in Guatemala. We love the idea of having fresh eggs, milk, cheese, with organic fruit and veggies every day. We expect it will be incredibly rewarding to have a direct hand in the production of the food we eat. Of course, that’s easy to say having never lived on a farm and experiencing the realities of the work, so we’ve decided that at some point on this trip we will try our hands at farming. We don’t know who’s farm, when, or where. Suggestions welcome.

  • Start a Hostel:

One idea that’s been burning us up a little bit, is the thought of starting our own hostel. We are quickly learning what makes a hostel good or bad, and we already have a list of ideas that we’d incorporate into our own place.

  • Becoming Location Independent:

Over the next little while, I’m going to try my hand at learning to be a web programmer. If it works out, I’d like to offer programming services on a contract basis through the internet. I’m a computer geek anyways, so I doubt I’ll mind the work, and the advantage of being able to work from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection, and being able to take time off form work when I like is really appealing to me. Likewise Ashley has had similar thoughts about performing contract editing, transcription, and translation (Spanish -> English).


We’ve really enjoyed each and every moment of the first 100 days of our trip (even the rough ones, looking back on them) and wouldn’t have done anything different. We are loving the journey and are hoping that over the next 100 days our heads transition from feeling like this is a vacation to feeling it is a lifestyle. I expect the next 100 days will be quite different than the first, but there’s no way to really know, is there? If nothing else, I think we’ve embraced the motto of the island community of Caye Caulker for this trip… Go Slow.

15 Responses to “Our First 100 Days Round the World”

  1. Quachie says:

    Miss you guys a lot, might have to take you guys up on that vacation and visiting you two somewhere in the world. Will need to plan for 2012 though.

  2. Ange says:

    Sounds like 100 wonderful days so far. And at 96% of your budget you have a lot of time to figure out how you could incorporate farming, starting a hostel and careers into your future. I think it’s great that you two are going to volunteer.

    Sean does a lot of side programming, I really suggest contacting him for tips because he has a lot of knowledge on where to get started and what is popular right now. I’ll e-mail Ashley’s facebook with his e-mails if you are interested.

  3. Delaine says:

    Yes, Ashley and Mike “Gooooo SLOOOOOOW!” I will remember that motto forever!

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Ah, yes. I will never forget the “Go Slow” motto either. Somehow it’s a lot easier to take and embrace on an island paradise… go figure!

  4. Susan Lenzen says:

    Hey Guys! So glad you’re trip is turning out to be everything you’d hoped for. We were at Tamara and Scott’s wedding social last night. You guys were definitely missed and your courageous trip of a lifetime was discussed in awe by many. Love you tons! And Go Slow so in a few years when we can afford to go somewhere we can come visit you too! (maybe plan 2013…. but you never know!)

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Love you too, I’m not sure why, but knowing that at least some people are talking about us back home makes me feel kind of good inside. Selfish pride I guess.

      It’d be great if you could come visit us some time. Whenever works for you will work for us.

  5. Pam says:

    Wow, a lot of refection taking place. Yes, I agree go slow….enjoy the journey and each other. Glad you are having the time of your lives!

    By the way you both look great!! Rested.

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Thanks Pam! It’s amazing how much time you have for reflection when you don’t have much for responsibilities. I think we are still just starting this journey (both location-wise) and in terms of self-development. We’re definitely excited for the months to come!

  6. Lauren says:

    Congratulations on 100 days! I agree with you about the travelling slow… I’m spending longer and longer in each location!

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