Final Thoughts

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
Trip End Feb 27, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, March 16, 2013

It's been a couple weeks now and we've had some time to reflect on the awesomeness that was the last 3 months. It’s impossible for me to sum up everything we learned during our journey in a few paragraphs, but I figured now was a good time to share our sentiments on the greatest adventure we’ve ever had. People have asked us a lot of great questions about our travels since we’ve been back.  I’d love to be able to answer them all right now, but instead I will give you some facts and favorites about what we experienced along the way.

Travel Statistics:
  • 92 day excursion
  • 10 countries visited for the first time
  • 25,000+ miles traveled by plane, train, bus, car, boat, bike and foot
  • 32 beds slept in
  • 18 flights (19 if you count the plane we jumped out of)
  • 9 languages encountered (English, Maori, Balinese, Malay, Khmer, Thai, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Japanese)
  • 5 major religions experienced (Christianity, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhism, Shinto)
  • 2 items lost and found (my glasses and purse with passport and wallet)
    • My glasses were shipped back to CA from New Zealand
    • My purse, with passport and wallet, was found in the back of a taxi in Brisbane (catastrophe averted!)
  • 9 massages gratefully received
  • 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited
  • 52 hours spent in the air
  • Too many hours spent in airports (but we never missed a flight)
  • Overall favorite stop: Queenstown, New Zealand
  • Favorite place to say "Where are we?": Mai Chau, Vietnam
  • Favorite language: Maori (New Zealand)
  • Favorite cuisine:
    • Kirsten – Vietnam
    • Mike – Singapore
  • Favorite cultural performance: Pura Luhur Uluwatu - Kecak Fire Dance (Bali)
  • Favorite people we met: All our new Aussie mates (Allan, Kevin, Sharon) and our gracious host from Blenheim, Graham
  • Favorite tour:
    • Kirsten – Dart River Safari in Queenstown
    • Mike – Snorkeling the islands around Ko Phi Phi, Thailand – first swim with a 6-7ft shark!
  • Favorite beer: Angkor Beer (Cambodia)
  • Favorite pizza: Krabi, Thailand (Blue Mango Restaurant)
  • Favorite adventure:
    • Kirsten – Kayaking through the pitch black cave in Halong Bay with only a camera flash to guide us 
    • Mike – Jumping off the waterfall on the Tongariro River into ice cold glacier water
  • Favorite moment:
    • Kirsten – Drinking tea in silence with the old Vietnamese woman before we went kayaking
    • Mike – reaching the last curve on our mountain bike excursion in the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand to find the boat had not left us for a night in the wilderness
Of course not every moment during the last 3 months was sunshine and lollipops.  We had a couple illnesses, some minor transportation dilemmas, a few misplaced items and one tour guide no-show.  Not bad at all considering what some people go through on even a week’s vacation (no disabled cruise ships here).  Although the majority of our experiences were fun and enriching, we did encounter situations along the way that made us sad, confused and even angry.  Most of these situations came from the culture shock of being in overcrowded third-world countries without the infrastructure and proper sanitation that we are accustomed to in the US.  It was at these moments that we felt the most grateful for everything we have at home (like fresh drinking water) and don’t want to ever take for granted.

Besides the question of "What was your favorite place?" another popular question that took some time to answer was, “What was the most important lesson you learned?”   Lessons were learned daily, some that were good to know for the day, but many that will impact us for the rest of our lives.  If I had to list just one, the best lesson learned was you can’t take it with you.  You hear that saying all the time, but now I actually get it.  Although I would love to continue traveling around the world, we may never have this chance again.  It’s impossible to plan out every moment of your life, so when opportunities present themselves, embrace them! 

Thanks for following!  We hope you enjoyed.

Until our next journey,

Kirsten & Mike

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