Our 100th post - Our Utmost Gratitude

Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
Trip End Nov 24, 2014

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, May 3, 2014

We've been gone since November 20th and we can count the number of countries we've been to (8), cities we've visited (lots), km we've traveled according to Travelpod (36,285), but something we can't quantify is the gratitude we feel to those that have made our first 5 and a half months traveling abroad incredible.  

We marvel at how many people have helped us on this journey to this point and how that has made our trip easier and more fulfilling.  These people have been generous with their time, their money, their advice, and their care.  What blows us away more than anything is that these acts come from people with the expectation of nothing in return.  It comes from some people who we don't have contact info for and will never talk to again, yet that didn't stop them from going the extra mile to make sure we were taken care of.  We've had countless people from home say, "You're going to be in "X".  I have a friend or relative in "X".  Call them and they'll take care of you."  We appreciate that so much.  

THE KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY WE'VE RECEIVED HAS BEEN HUMBLING.  It confirms to us that people are good and want to help others.  

While we know we can't mention everyone in this blog, we needed to highlight some of the acts of kindness we've received and will be eternally grateful for.

There was the start of our trip in Dallas which we spent with Uncle Paul, Cindy, and their family. They always treat us like royalty when we visit and it was no big deal to Paul that we changed our plans since we missed our scheduled flight from Buffalo.  That weekend, we had a great dinner with other cousins (through marriage), the Wintons.  Then, my half-brother Daniel met us in Vegas and insisted on driving us to the airport in Los Angeles.

My stepmom Nancy introduced us to friends of hers from New Zealand, who we ended up staying with for a week. They fed us and gave us shelter, but more than that, we will NEVER forget how the Rewis made us feel.  We still talk about them with love and admiration to this day and no matter what happens along our travels and what incredible things we have and will experience, we will always remember our week in Queenstown fondly.  It was a special week and one we will always cherish - even more so than the Rewis know.

In Australia, there was Sen, our host from AirBnB.  Sure, you can say that if we're renting a room from someone on AirBnB, it's their responsibility to be welcoming and accommodating.  But there's also something to be said for going above and beyond.  Sen was just that.  He picked us up from the airport, saving us time and money, very quickly became a close friend, took us around Cairns, and included us in a small dinner he hosted.  We were so happy to help test out his new fondue set.  And when we think of AirBnB hosts who went above and beyond, there are more. Anna and Steve in New Zealand, who made us feel as if we were part of their family and Steve cooked some of the best meals we've ever eaten.  We can't forget Rayne and Lynn in Singapore who took us out for dinner one night in an area where only locals frequent. 

There were Lauren and Remi in Sydney.  Garyn was friendly with Lauren in high school and messaged her on Facebook letting her know we'd be in Sydney, where Lauren lives now. Without hesitation, Lauren offered us a room in her apartment, where we spent 4 nights and were fortunate enough to have Remi show us around the area one day.  Our cousin Mel in Toronto wasn't only incredibly helpful in assisting us with our trip to Bali, but he also introduced us to his friends David and Ruth in Sydney who had us over for a lovely dinner.  Mark in Tasmania, who we met through the first and only time we used the website Couchsurfing, opened his door to us and graciously gave us a room for 3 nights at no cost.

The list goes on and on and I feel bad knowing the majority of acts of kindness we've received won't make it on this blog, as the blog would be endless!  No doubt one of our favourite days came when we hung out with a bunch of Singaporeans who we share a friend with.  They took us around their city and made us feel like one of them.  The next night, Alvin (originally from Thornhill and someone I met a year ago in Toronto) took us to a local restaurant and without hesitation, paid the bill.

Of course, we can't forget Wayne, Yi Weii, and Yiing, a trio of impressive youngsters (more than a decade our junior), who we briefly met in Singapore and told them we'd be coming to Malaysia (where they live) the next weekend.  When we arrived, they made the 2 hour bus ride from Kuala Lumpur to meet us and take us around to eat the local foods.  This was one of our favourite nights.  

To the people of Flores, Indonesia who would consistently ask us "where are you going?" when we were lost and then would point us in the right direction, we appreciate you!  We especially have fond memories one night in the primitive city of Moni, where a local walked us through a couple of dark, back roads to show us to the restaurant we had reservations at.  We know we would never have found it otherwise..

We've encountered so many other travellers who have a passion for seeing and experiencing new and exciting places and many of them have given us ideas, suggestions, and advice on what to see and do next.  Some of them have become friends we know we'll stay in touch with.

The list really does go on and on.   We've had countless memories and experiences to this point, yet when we recount the highlights of our journey, the majority of them have to do with the kindness of others.  

For that, we are eternally grateful.

If you're reading this and are someone who has enhanced our journey in some way to this point, THANK YOU.  We appreciate you more than you know.



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