THE honeymoon is finally over for Liam and Philippa Doherty.

Since recently touching down in the UK the couple are settling into home life after spending two years travelling the globe.

Known as the ‘Hitched Hikers,’ the couple decided to embark on a never-ending honeymoon following their wedding in the romantic location of Lake Como in Italy May 2016 - and have visited some of the most stunning destinations in the world.

When I initially caught up with them they were in China. In a long distance email conversation due to time differences, they told me: “We always knew we wanted to make long term travel a reality, but it’s difficult to say what prompted us to do it, it was almost a decision that came naturally.’

Following our last catch-up the couple, from Bradford, travelled to Australia and New Zealand notching up many memorable highlights.

“We always get asked our favourite place and we both always come back with Japan,” says Liam.

Philippa agrees: “My main highlight is definitely Japan because of how friendly and welcoming the people are; we hitch-hiked all the way from north to south and never had a problem getting a ride, even with the language barriers. Some went out of their own way to drop us where we wanted to go, some took us out for dinner and some even gave us food as an apology for not being able to take us! Watching the sun rise over Mount Fuji, exploring Tokyo and trying the weird and wonderful foods was also a highlight!

“In Peru, we climbed 400m up the side of a mountain to sleep in a suspended glass pod (known as the million star hotel) before zip lining down the next morning. I really don’t like heights so it’s something I never thought I’d do and as I was climbing up, Liam thought the ladder was a little wobbly but it was in fact my legs shaking! This made it an even bigger achievement for me and the adrenaline rush is something I’ll never forget!”

One of Philippa’s favourite countries was Australia: “I think I rate it so highly because it wasn’t somewhere that was high on my list of must-sees so it was a pleasant surprise! We spent Christmas having a BBQ on the beach and New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge, before travelling up the East Coast visiting the beautiful Byron Bay and Noosa. It’s a definite possibility that we might return to Australia for a more long-term visit!” she says.

Nature loving Liam particularly enjoyed the Galapagos Islands. “When you touch down it’s like landing in Jurassic Park - all this wildlife everywhere.

“In other places we’ve been snorkelling and diving you would have to be swimming around for over an hour or so before you saw anything but everything is just there immediately without any real effort - manta rays; sting rays; sharks; turtles and penguins. Then, when you are on land, there are giant tortoises, pelicans - I’m into wildlife and it was unbelievable.”

Considering the expense of travelling, the couple were keen to keep it as affordable as possible. “People can have a two week luxury honeymoon and spend the same amount we spent in two years,” says Liam.

Budgeting for a never-ending holiday isn’t easy, but the couple discovered innovative ways to fund their travels and live as cheaply as possible including hitch-hiking, working in hostels and hotels. They also looked for volunteering opportunities on the internet and couch surfed.

Liam recalls a memorable cultural exchange. “The best example (of a cultural exchange) and another highlight was in Japan. A monk who wanted to improve his English let us stay with him in his monastery.”

Their final destination before heading home was South America and the United States. Liam explains they decided to curtail further travels after arriving in New York. “We got to New York and thought we would hop home for a little bit because we’ve got quite a lot of things going on.”

One of the special occasions is Philippa’s grandma, Margaret Webster’s 90th Birthday celebrations.

Liam explains how they kept in touch with her through Facebook and Facetime, and Margaret proudly documented their travels pinning their destinations on a map in her home.

They are also excited about the arrival of their niece or nephew, and have weddings to attend which have already prompted them to get back travelling - this time with their pals!

“The first weekend we got home Philippa went to Prague with her friends and I went to Poland on a stag do,” says Liam.

The couple shared mutual friends but were properly introduced at Leeds Festival eight years ago. They married at the Villa Del Balbianello on Lake Como and, following a wedding/bon voyage party at East Riddlesden Hall, Keighley, they set off on their adventure of a lifetime.

They explain that while in teaching - Liam taught at Shipley College and Bradford College and Philippa, who was formerly a learning support assistant at Bradford College and is currently finishing her degree in Health and Social care - always made the most of their summer holidays, travelling around Europe and Asia.

“After getting married, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to set out on our adventure, because what’s better than a never-ending honeymoon?” they said previously.

Liam, who grew up in Clayton, and Philippa, who lived in Thornton initially travelled to New Delhi, India.

Other highlights include trekking through the Himalayas, staring down into a live volcano and swimming with manta rays. The couple also wrote a blog about their travels as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends and updating them as to where they were in the world.

Travelling has certainly had a positive impact on both their lives. While Liam has always been confident and free-spirited, Philippa has taken on challenges she wouldn’t have previously entertained such as conquering a fear of heights and climbing mountains.

So are they getting itchy feet? According to Liam they’ve already booked a holiday to Morocco!

Canada is another destination they are keen to visit but, for now, they are keeping their feet firmly on the ground....

“It’s a bit tiring when you are travelling around for two years without anywhere to settle down for a long period of time. We were ready to come home and think about what we want to do and make a bit of money to fund the next ideas.”

Says Philippa: “It was exciting to be home at first. We have lots of things to look forward to but we’re already starting to get itchy feet and it won’t be long before it’s time for another adventure!”