KIM’S ASIA WRAP-UP
Starting in Singapore we couldn’t have asked for more
The start of our journey – it’s what we had been waiting for,
Malaysia so untouched and wild
Had us running through the jungle like a child,
While in Thailand at Muay Thai
Knees, elbows and kicks would fly,
Laos taught me happiness
How to have more – even with less,
In Cambodia the devastation is raw
Lowered my head so confused, eyes glued to the floor.
Ready for some birthday fun
Halong Bay in Vietnam was the one,
China is so vast with much to explore
We loved what we experienced but there is still so much more,
Five months away has gone so fast
But Asia my memories of you forever will last.
Before leaving on this adventure I didn’t deal well with crowds, I hated visiting new large cities and would do everything possible to avoid public transport. Oh how times have changed! Asia has opened my eyes, challenged me and made me a better person in every way.
Malaysia showed me the beauty of an untouched country. Clean in comparison to the rest of Asia it was a perfect starting point to ease us into things. The jungle in Malaysia is beautiful, transport efficient and travel rather easy. Our time in Panang was a highlight thanks to the team at Roommates Guesthouse and the amazing street food on offer. We met some fantastic people and have some great memories of our time in Penang!
In Thailand we experienced a week at a Muay Thai camp which was one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever faced yet I loved every moment. When we were scammed we learnt lessons of how to deal with difficult situations and from then on whenever someone tried to rip us off we managed to keep our cool, be confident and alway came out on top – it was a hit experience at the time but an amazing lesson to learn that I believe helped us many times further down the track.
Laos takes my breath away and no words can properly capture my love for this amazing country. One of the poorest countries on the planet that is littered with bombs that to this day are destroying lives yet this is the most emotionally rich country I have had the blessing to visit. Children tying plastic bags to the end of a stick with one holding the stick up and the other trying to throw small rocks into the plastic bag – they don’t have basketball hoops here … or blowing up a plastic bag to use as a soccer ball. The kids didn’t pack tantrums or ‘expect’ anything, if they do receive they are truly grateful – no matter how small the gift. We wanted a lady with helium balloons walk down the small dusty street of Nong Khaw – bright floating balloons int his environment really look like the best thing ever – even I wanted one! All the children came running from their houses and surrounded the balloon lady …. think about what would happen in your world if this was to happen? Would most children get a balloon? Would any of the children get upset if they didn’t get one? Would any get upset if they got one but someone else got a better one??
Two children out of 15 got a balloon and not one tear was shed. What happened .. those two children shared their balloon with the rest so all the kids got to play with the balloon. There was not one tantrum, not one child sad to have missed out – in their world they know they aren’t getting a balloon, yet for the lucky child who does – they are truly happy. An amazing thong to witness of children whom are just 3-6 years old!
South East Asia taught me the value of happiness – to be truly happy you don’t need ‘things’. The children of Laos are the perfect example of this and my memories of Loas and the amazing people will keep me grounded for the rest of my life. The people of Laos have nothing, are extremely poor yet emotionally rich – you will never hear a grumble, just a story of how they are working to make things better. You hear stories of their dreams, of their plans and of what the future holds for these amazing people. The people of Laos get on with it and do not have a ‘victim’ mentality. They are inspiring and truly amazing. Our 3 day bike adventure on The Loop was a true highlight, personal challenge and amazing adventure. Dont be surprised if i’m back in Laos int he next few years as it is the country in Asia I would most like to return to.
Cambodia showed me devastation, it made me cry, it tore out my heart and made my chest so tight I could hardly breathe. The history in Cambodia makes you question the world we live in. How something so horrible could happen in today’s world. Cambodia’s devastation didn’t happen 100 years ago – it happened during my life … it made me question so many things and opened my eyes to how far we still need to come. In my protected world at home I had no idea of the devastation on other countries. I had no realisation of how lucky I was to be born in and come from a country that is safe – I now completely understand just how lucky I am will never take that for granted – none of us should!
We also visited Angkor Wat which was something I had always wanted to do. It was a fantastic day and so amazing.
Vietnam surprised me with its beautiful inland locations. Dalat and Sapa were both highlights. We had lots of fun in Vietnam due to the combination of cheep beer and a developed tourist trail. We loved the food in Vietnam and couldn’t believe how well-kept and beautiful the Vietnamese women are – they have a fantastic dress sense too! However, despite all the above my fondest memory will always be my 26th Birthday on Halong bay with the most amazing new friends and a fantastic husband – I really did have the best birthday EVER!
China taught me to appreciate a clean toilet! Never had I in my life experienced anything close to the dirtiness of chinese toilets – many of which would have me gagging so much I would be near passing out by the time I exited with my eyes full of tears. To top it off many toilets not only didn’t have door – but they didn’t have walls either meaning you would enter to see a row of squat toilets all lined up next to each-other … nice. Not nice at all! China also quickly taught me to adjust to crowds. EVERYWHERE in china is crowded. The small chinese cities are larger than our biggest, there is no such thing as personal space and if you don’t put your foot down and claim our space in the line or hesitate for one second … you will miss-out!
I laughed, cried, was left speechless and gazed in awe many times during my 5 month Asia adventure. I look back and feel nothing but pure warmth and complete happiness about my experience. I have just had the best 5 months of my life. I learnt so much, I made amazing friends and would not give back a single second. Would I do it again – absolutely!!
My theme song for Asia: Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies …. what I would listen to on travel days, when you’ve paid for air-con luxury bus and get a converted pick-up truck. When you’ve booked a bus but get a mini-van or when your on a direct bus but have to change 4 times. When the price is $1 but your charged $3 or when your told ‘it’s closed today’ but you know damn well it’s not. Despite all this I listened to this song light-heartedly and it always made me laugh at these situations – it turns out after Asia – nothing surprises me!!
Finally – the past 5 months traveling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with Duane has been absolutely amazing. We have learnt so much about being there for each other, supporting each other and learing to ‘fight right’. You can’t hold a grudge when you travel like this. Say your piece and move on. I could not imagine this journey without Duane and I am so very lucky to not only have this amazing experience – but to share it with him!
Farewell Asia, you have given me so much and I will be forever thankful – until we meet again! xo