It’s hard to believe that at this time last year we were on an island in Indonesia. My calendar square entry near this date reads, “Biked to beach for sunset and had dinner at the fish market.” In case you missed it, I am a huge fan of keeping track of life within the compounds of a little calendar block as it’s a great way to easily step back in time and see where we’ve been.
So it’s time to look at where “we’ve” traveled to and had amazing adventures. I say we because we have truly gone on this trip together. Some of you dear readers write or comment and say, “Ok, remind me where we’ve have traveled to.” I cannot tell you how giddy this makes me feel. I get so many warm fuzzy feelings and we love to share this journey together.
We worked like crazy for a year straight to save for this trip. After we passed the torch as our role as Innkeepers at Seyon Lodge we packed a bag, jumped on a plane and took off to Asia. Here is a recap of what happened:
Countries: USA + Indonesia
Highlights: Seeing Komodo Dragons. Oh my gosh that was something we wanted to do SO bad! Komodo Dragons only live in the wild on five islands in the whole entire world. Having a chance to go and see this giants was a huge goal.
We spent two days on a live-a-live aboard boat and it was awesome.
Countries: Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia- Borneo
Highlights: Hanging out on the The Gili Islands and meeting travel friends. There is just something about being on islands. We weren’t sure how we would like the Gili’s, but oh, there’s no cars on the island and it is just this lovely reprieve from all the traffic and exhaust. Brunei was also a new country for us to visit!
Countries: Malaysia- Borneo
Highlights: This month was absolutely amazing and we spent 26 out of the 31 days in a national park or reserve somewhere in Borneo, Malaysia. Life bucket list! We saw Bako National Park, Mulu National Park, Niah Caves National Park and Kubah National Park. This was an exceptional month.
Countries: Malaysia- Borneo
Highlights: Spending almost a week out in a remote research station in pristine old growth rainforest at Danum Valley. Last week’s post was largely inspired by some of the amazing people we met making sacrifices to research plants and wildlife. This is our friend Flo who was researching ferns. While out there, we also met our friend Chavez who is heavily involved in 1StopBorneoWildlife and our friend Louise who is involved in Pangolin conservation.
All these people and more we met along the way wow’d us and filled our spirits up.
Countries: Malaysia- Borneo + Singapore
Highlights: Meeting up again with our good friend Lucas whom we met over four years while standing atop an active volcano and watching molten hot lava spew up into the sky in Vanuatu. While in Singapore we watched an amazing downtown theater performance (for free) and watched the tree light show (also for free).
Countries: Malaysia + Thailand
Highlights: We loved traveling throughout Thailand. A little over a week into Thailand Chris got bit by a stray dog – which the threat rabies is very real over there so we weren’t sure what the outcome could be. Turns out Chris getting bite by a grouchy old dog at a Buddist Temple was just another example showing that we (all) are able to handle life’s curve balls, everything turned out OK and we got another travel story under our belts.
Highlights: Everything about Thailand! Thailand lives up to it’s stereotype as being very welcoming and easy place to travel around. This country’s psyche gets that it is awesome and that people from all over the world come to enjoy it’s beauty. For those either thinking or saying, “Well Thailand is sooooo touristy.” Yes, it can be. But we also found plenty of opportunities to feel like we had found something special on our own too.
Countries: Cambodia + Vietnam
Highlights: Seeing the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Ankgor Wat – omg! Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument in the world. It’s one of those places we had seen so many pictures and postcards of and then finally – we were there.
Countries: Vietnam + Myanmar
Highlights: Feeling humbled and inspired by the way Vietnam has picked itself up from still felt effects of the Vietnam War. There are plenty of people still alive from many sides of this period of history. As Americans traveling there, we felt so welcomed to see and experience their culture. Plus, Pho is amazing!
Countries: Myanmar + Nepal
Highlights: I was a little intimidated to go to Myanmar simply because a lot of serious stuff has happened in their country and I felt like I knew so little of it I would feel dumb. But Myanmar is just this step in time filled with some of the most friendly people we met on our whole trip. Our whole time in Myanmar felt special and here’s how we spent three weeks.
Countries: Nepal + India
Highlights: Nepal was so easy to travel around! Note I said easy, not quick. Nepal is not at all quick to travel around. None whatsoever and the roads actually were really scary. But – oh – my – gosh – the mountains, wildlife and people. I could easily go back and spends weeks wandering around in the mountains of Nepal. In fact, many people do. Yes, Nepal has Everest, but it has a whole lot more than that too – including rhinos. It’s true, you can go on a safari and see rhinos in Nepal.
Countries: India + USA
Highlights: While in India, one of our biggest highlights was spending over a week going on safaris in Kanha National Park and seeing tigers in the wild. That part of India was amazing and we would sign up fore more of that any day.
So oh my gosh what a trip. It still all feels a bit surreal to think we just traveled around Southeast Asia for the last year. We tried so many new foods, saw different cultures, and almost every where we went, met nice people.
There were so many, ‘Pinch me is this really happening moments’ from seeing the Taj Mahal to all the wildlife to just sitting at a cafe and watching the world go by.
We have loved all the kind and wonderful comments, notes of inspiration and positivity you have all shared with us. When we did get home many people remarked that as they would look for the (almost) daily facebook, instagram or twitter photo, they felt like they were a part of this trip too. If you are hoping to achieve more travel in your life, you can read this post if you like. If traveling isn’t your thing, substitute in whatever is your own personal goal. Because no matter what are amazing adventures for you, it really comes down to the attitude we have and how we move forward that will help us achieve what we want.
I know for some people, the idea of setting off for a year long trip sounds as appealing as soaking your feet in cement. While for others it feeds this wanderlust desire to want to do something similar. Whatever side of the coin you fall on, thank you so much for joining us on this journey. It was one heck of a trip! 😉