Yesterday was our 100th day since leaving home. We’ve been in 6 countries (including Hong Kong, not including the disorganised stopover in Germany), spent not quite as much money as we thought, eaten a lot of rice, slept through a typhoon, met some brilliant people and seen some amazing things.
Our volunteer placements finish at the end of this week, and we will get back on the road again. There are still 6 weeks or so left in Southeast Asia, but it’s hard to imagine that we will be able to pack in more than we have done in our first 101 days. We’ve spent days on end aboard a train, hiked in rice paddies, ridden mopeds, paid a border bribe, watched sunrises and sunsets in spectacular scenery and eaten spiders. From here we head to Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore, before flying to Sydney for a long weekend and then onto New Zealand. The time has flown by, and this pause from travelling to be Phnom Penh ex-pats has us itching to get going again.
In no particular order, here are some highlights and thoughts so far:
1. We were so lucky with the group of people we did the Vodkatrain tour with; so many people have horror stories from tours and our group was great. Unless we were the annoying ones…
2. Mongolia, I think, is my favourite country so far. Beautiful, interesting and not too many people. We would love to go back there and would recommend it to anyone. Well worth spendings several days on a train for.
3. The rice terraces at Longji in China were amazing, and kick the ass of the ones at Sapa in Vietnam.
4. Karaoke in Ulaanbaatar, and tobogganing off the Great Wall of China – two things we didn’t know were on the bucket list until they were done.
5. I lost my pyjama trousers, that I bought in Peru years ago, somewhere in Russia or Mongolia. I’m not over it.
6. Hong Kong is way too expensive for tight backpackers, but the Star Ferry ride, for around 30p, is pretty cool.
7. Volunteering has been a rewarding and worthwhile experience; it has also been frustrating and draining at times too. I’ll miss my class, if not the lesson planning.
8. Eating Phnom Penh’s famous “happy herb pizza” on a school night was a bad choice. As was going to the very bizarre, expensive and freaky North Korean restaurant here – maybe being it’s not a bad thing that there aren’t many of them outside of North Korea.
9. Packing our bags is an art form.
10. After everything, we are still very happily married!
Experiencing everything so far, and having everything else to look forward to, whilst still being on honeymoon, is awesome. Everyone should do it.