As we expected six months has passed in the blink of an eye. I’m sitting typing this in Chiang Mai, our home for 5 weeks – a break from travelling which was most definitely needed.
So what has been the highlights and lowlights of our trip so far? Well the good news is that I’m struggling to narrow down the highlights and also struggling to think of many lowlights – so it must be going well!
1) The Trans-Siberian Railway
It didn’t always seem like it at the time, as for every moment of amazing scenery or an encounter with a local, there was yet another meal of instant noodles, 48 hours without a shower, or needing to use the toilet on a bumpy section of the line. But looking back, the uncomfortable moments pale in comparison to the great, and it is a journey we will remember for the rest of our lives. Not to mention the chance to see some of Russia, a country I wouldn’t normally visit, was fascinating.
Not only was arriving in Beijing the culmination of a month long train journey from London, but the whole country was such a culture shock – in a good way! A lot is written about how travelling is becoming sanitised and too easy, I would agree with this in some places. But not China. EVERYTHING is different, and I loved it. Yeah so there was much confusion, hideous pollution and lots of spitting, but it still a fantastic country that without a doubt we want to go back to.
3) The Philippines
I really wasn’t looking forward to the Philippines. I’m not entirely sure why – I think it may have been because I thought it wouldn’t have any of the things I loved about Asia. But it had all of them, and loads more. We fell in love with the country, the culture, the people, and the amazing natural beauty. It’s a blessing in disguise that we only managed to cover a fraction of the country in our time there – because it means we can go back!
There are SO many more highlights, we’ve disliked very few places, but I wanted to narrow it down to 3!
1) Our First Day
The biggest lowlight was before we even left England – I almost missed the Eurostar to Paris and spent my last moments in the UK panicking in the back of a taxi. Luckily it all turned out ok in the end.
2) Missing Home
Unsurprisingly after so long, we do often miss home. Not so much the places, but our families and friends. Luckily there is always Skype, and we do have some friends and family coming out to visit.
3) Getting Ill
Luckily (touch wood) neither of us have got seriously ill, and we hope it will stay that way! But there is nothing nice about having even minor illnesses, such as a cold or upset stomach, or even thinking you have appendicitis, when you are in a strange country far from home. Luckily we do have each other – this would be far worse if we were travelling solo, but it’s still tough.
The Next Six Months?
After we leave Chiang Mai in late August, our travelling starts again. Assuming we can get a Visa, we hope to go to Burma for a few weeks, otherwise we will explore more of Thailand. In September we will be in Malaysia, with Katy’s brother, and then October Indonesia, where some of our friends are coming for their holiday.
November will be mostly spent in New Zealand (goodbye Asia!) before heading to the US in December and exploring California before heading to Montana to celebrate Christmas in the snow with Katy’s Dad. Then in January we will be off to Mexico and into the last stage of our trip (sad).
There is loads to look forward to, and if it’s anything like the first 6 months, I can’t wait!