Backpacking to Oceantracking: Part 2 of our World Trip

Hi I'm Sam, one of the 2 new crew members for Team ROAM. I just graduated from uni studying physiotherapy and am taking a year off to travel with my girlfriend, Estelle, who is also a physiotherapist. We both caught the travel bug many years ago and wanted to get stuck into a bit more travel while we are still young(ish), so with time up our sleeves and not too many commitments we decided that it was the perfect time to pack our backpacks and leave our beloved apartment on the Gold Coast.

Before we left we connected with Mick and Liss whom we had been following online for a couple of years. As luck would have it, they were looking for crew for their next season to French Polynesia. So we left Australia with only a ticket to Indonesia and a loose plan to meet ROAM in New Zealand in 4 months’ time.

We started our trip backpacking through eastern Indonesia including the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Although it was rainy season, we got lucky with the weather and scored some amazing days out on the reef with some close encounters with manta rays and stunning scenery. We also managed to get a few waves without the crowds and plenty of waterfalls and small hikes.

 Estelle and I "enjoying the view" on one of the Islands off the coast of Flores, Indonesia.

Estelle and I "enjoying the view" on one of the Islands off the coast of Flores, Indonesia.

Our next stop was India where we explored the southern coastal and mountain regions for one month. Estelle had previously visited the north of India, so she had a bit of an idea what we were in for. I usually don’t like the crowds and the hustle and bustle of cities so wasn’t sure what to expect going to one of the most populated countries in the world, but the people were really nice, the food was amazing and overall we had a great time. We finished our Indian stay with a few days in an ashram doing a lot of yoga, meditation, chanting, and early nights, which was quite a new experience for me.

After India we took a short flight to Sri Lanka. For quite a small country (roughly the size of Tasmania) the scenery and landscapes were incredibly varied. We decided to rent a tuk tuk for a month, so we could drive ourselves around at our own pace and didn’t have to rely on public transport and main roads to get about.

  Estelle and I showing off our trusty mode of transport, Pippin, while we were touring Sri Lanka. Photo taken in front of Lion Rock, Sigiriya, by a friendly taxi driver.

Estelle and I showing off our trusty mode of transport, Pippin, while we were touring Sri Lanka. Photo taken in front of Lion Rock, Sigiriya, by a friendly taxi driver.

After finishing up with part 1 of our year off we took off to Auckland for a quick catch up with Estelle's mum, Clare, who showed us some of the local sights, took us to a delicious Japanese restaurant, made plenty of home cooked meals and some cracking toast only mums can make, then shipped us off to the bus terminal bound for the Bay of Islands.

Meeting up with the ROAM crew and hopping on board was something we had been eagerly anticipating for a good 6 months so when the time came we were jumping out of our jandals. Mick and Liss were super accommodating and made us feel right at home on their beautiful boat.

 Day 1 on ROAM in the Bay of Islands was a nice intro to the good life.

Day 1 on ROAM in the Bay of Islands was a nice intro to the good life.

First night with the sails up was pretty special. We took off on sunset and headed out from the Bay of Islands with coffee, tunes, a good attitude, a lone shark, and a pod of dolphins. Estelle and I were racing around the boat like kids, Liss was showing off her dolphin calling skills with debatable success while it was business as usual for Mick.

 Getting ready to head out for our first overnight sail down the east coast of New Zealand.

Getting ready to head out for our first overnight sail down the east coast of New Zealand.

It felt amazing to be back on the water with just the power of the wind after not having sailed for nearly 10 years. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back into the swing of things on a boat, from trimming sails, exploring islands and coastline to living on the water and hanging out with nice people.

Thanks so much to Mick and Liss for having us on board, I hope we can bring something positive to the boat.