After ten days of silent equanimity in Phitsanulok, Thailand, it was time to enter back into the hustle and bustle of travel reality. We boarded yet another bus (thankfully not a 26 hour bus…) and made our way to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai (not to be confused with Chiang Rai which I can imagine has happened more often than people admit) is an ancient Buddhist city in the northern region of Thailand that rests amidst beautiful
Back in January during our going away party one of Jenna’s friends, Dave Abramson, had stopped by and was telling us about his uncle who lived in Thailand. He told us he was married and had lived there for 18 or so years and that we’d probably be welcomed in by him.
Did David actually expect us to go find this uncle? I’d say probably not.
But in mid-July after finishing our brief exploration of Laos,
Between Laos’ ancient capital of Luang Prabang and current capital of Vientiane lies a small town called Vang Vieng. There’s not that much to do in Vang Vieng save for two things:
1.) Drink Alcohol
2.) Ride Tubes on the Nam Song River
One could make the argument that a third could be drinking delectable fruit smoothies for $.50, but for simplicity’s sake we shall leave it at two.
Normally Jenna and I would steer clear
On a beach in Koh Tao one hot April afternoon, Chris turned to me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Honestly, it sounded too long-haired hippie for my liking and while I’d heard 80% of successful people meditate regularly (thank you Tim Ferriss), I didn’t know how or why people did it.
And then Chris told me it was free.
What? Ten days of no spending and complete budget
Having just finished our amazing month in Vietnam, we hopped on a bus in Hanoi and made off for their landlocked neighbor, Laos.
Normally the transport is not worth commenting on…but this one is.
Because the bus was 26 hours long. TWENTY SIX! That’s a full day PLUS TWO MORE HOURS for all you math aficionados.
Despite the fact that it was a sleeper bus and we had the back seats (which albeit it shared with
Having been prototypical tourists much of our time up Vietnam’s coast, we decided it was time to mix things up a little bit in Hanoi. A couple days before our arrival we hopped on HelpX.net to evaluate our options.
To be honest, I was expecting more of the farm-related opportunities that are so frequent elsewhere in the world – maybe we’d help with a rice paddy? I had no idea.
But that was not to be
After our stay in Dalat we continued north along Vietnam’s Highway 1 passing through Mui Ne, Hoi An and Hue. We had a nice time at each – ate good Pho, met great people, drank bad drinks and saw beautiful things. But nothing overly spectacular…so it’s getting thrown into one post.
My apologies for the click-bait title, I’ll start there.
The roads of Vietnam are insane. Absolutely insane. Other than those very baseline survival rules that
We started our month in Vietnam with a nice, four day stay in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) – pretty uneventful other than Jenna meeting a fellow Clemson grad while we were out at a reggae bar one night. Small world.
We purchased a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus ticket that would take us north from HCMC through 5 cities, the last of which was Hanoi, Vietnam’s northern-lying capital. Side note: this ticket, covering nearly
Now before I get too in depth into our experience I must submit one caveat – we were only in Cambodia for 5 days total. Not nearly enough time to acquire an accurate view of any region of the world. The reflections below are simply my initial thoughts from the people we met and the experiences we had in our short time there.
The night after our whirlwind tour of the beautiful temples of Angkor near
For the longest time at work my desktop background was the following…
The silhouette of Angkor Wat at sunrise.
Nothing else so purely symbolized travel for the 3 years I sat at my desk in Baltimore than this very scene. I envisioned waking up in the darkness, making my way through dense, steamy rainforest to finally break through a clearing and have this majestic scene stretch out in front of me.
Now that we had landed