6 months in – hanging with a local pooch on Rarotonga
We never set out on this trip to ‘find ourselves’ or have some sort of profound spiritual experience, we simply wanted to experience different cultures, see some amazing sights and above all else have a great time. For us, the emphasis was on having fun rather than discovering some deep new meaning to our lives, shallow but true! That said, I can safely say that long term travel has changed me for the better and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. Today marks the 365th day of our adventure and I feel like a completely different person to the one boarding that plane to Calgary in 2012.
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The impressive karsts which overlook Vang Vieng
I read this post well over a year ago when we were researching about where to go in South East Asia. Upon reading about Vang Vieng my exact words were “that looks like my own personal hell, not a chance we’re going there”. I completely understand that everyone is into different things when travelling and there are tons of people who would love to spend their days completely wasted while floating down a river on a rubber tube and enjoying the odd coma inducing slingshot into the same river. Ok, that’s fairly harsh and a lot of people simply went to have a party filled few days with their mates in the lovely Laos countryside. It’s just not our thing and the sensible, old lady side of me thinks booze + backpacker + rock laden river + inner tube = a big mess. With much trepidation we ended up in the same town just a few weeks ago and my oh my how it has changed.
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Gorgeous sunset from our favourite riverside restaurant
For all my harping on about the perils of slow travel we accidentally ended up spending two whole weeks in the charming holy city of Luang Prabang in Laos. I’m still very much in favour of experiencing as much as possible without burning out but we were getting a wee bit fed up with spending so much time on buses, trains and tuk tuks so decided to eat our words and find out what all the fuss was about.
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Cooking up a storm
When we first made the huge decision to journey around the world our route was based on a number of key experiences. We plotted these bucket list items on a map and basically joined the dots. Fairly high up on the list for me was learning to cook in Thailand and I was beyond excited when I finally got my chance.
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Up close and personal
The Asian elephant is the second largest land mammal on the planet, only surpassed by its African cousin. So what would you do if you were stood in the middle of a huge field with two of these 3 tonne giants walking straight at you? They are not shackled in any way and they are getting closer! Do you turn and run? No, you keep walking towards them, strangely calm and feeling unthreatened. Eventually you are stood next to these two beautiful creatures dwarfed in their majestic presence and all you can do is reach out and give them a stroke and a cuddle. Does this sound ridiculous? Probably, but that is what we did!
Delicious fruit shakes – just add ice
Nothing says Asia to me like fantastic street food. I know everyone talks about how great it is but I really think everyone should experience the joy of eating the most delicious, fresh and surprising street food at least once in their lives. The experience of a night market is intoxicating, it’s loud, busy and a real assault on the senses. You wander around being hit with the most mouth watering smells, every stall frantically preparing food in ridiculously simple but amazing ways. I’m astounded by what some of these cooks can achieve with one gas burner and a wok.
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