Since we began our trip in August of 2014, we have been to so many places and done so many things. We have seen more than we ever thought we would. Every day has brought a different experience, a new challenge, a deserving reward. As we wrap up this year of travel and look ahead to the next, this is the time to reflect on the past four months. It has felt like far longer than four months, yet it has also felt like a blur of moments. We have marveled in delight, persevered in strife, and pushed ourselves – our bodies, our minds, our beliefs about everything we’ve ever known. The world is more diverse and beautiful in person with our own eyes than we could ever describe through pictures or words.
The best part of this trip has been the journey, how each and every moment has contributed to the collective experience. However, out of all the distinguishable and individual events, here were some of our favourites, in no particular order.
Kayaking in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
We spent three days and two nights on a cruise through Ha Long Bay during which we enjoyed everything the bay had to offer. From visiting caves to swimming in the sea, our favourite by far was kayaking around the endless islets. Instead of seeing the limestone mountains from afar, we got up close and personal on a kayak. The view was breathtaking. There’s nowhere else in the world where thousands of huge, jagged rocks shoot out of calm, emerald waters. Ha Long Bay was meant to be seen this way. No boats, no crowds, just us in a small kayak, with the wonders of nature all around us.
Exploring the Temples of Angkor, Cambodia
Angkor was one of our most anticipated sites in Asia, and we had almost impossible expectations. Yet somehow the real thing managed to surpass and blow away anything we could have imagined. We visited 17 temples over the course of three days, including one the most iconic sunrises on earth at Angkor Wat. It was granduous, it was awe-inspiring, it was humbling. Arguably some of the most spectacular structures ever designed and built by man, the many temples of Angkor were the pinnacles of Khmer art, architecture, and history. We will never forget the feeling of discovering ancient ruins in the wild.
Spending the Day with Elephants in Luang Prabang, Laos
While most visitors get to ride an elephant briefly, we spent a whole day with them in the elephant village. There was no better place than Laos, once known as the land of a million elephants. After learning mahout commands, we rode elephants both on the neck and in a howdah on the back. Through the river and jungle, the gentle giants showed us their strength and their view of the world from up high. We even got to visit an adorable baby elephant! We had so much fun bathing and playing with elephants in the water, their favourite place. It really was a perfect day.
Eating Street Food in Taiwan and Thailand
We would be lying if we said we didn’t travel to eat, and savouring local cuisines has been as much of a cultural experience as seeing major landmarks. It doesn’t get more authentic than eating street food and rubbing shoulders with locals. In both Taiwan and Thailand, we had some of the best (and cheapest) street food anywhere. The night markets in Taiwan were packed with food stalls selling small eats. We found favorite streets in Thailand filled with flavourful local dishes. There was something special about seeing our food prepared fresh in front of us in a matter of minutes – it was a feast for the senses.
Learning Scuba Diving in Koh Tao, Thailand
In the diving capital of the world, we became PADI Open Water certified divers! Over the course of three days, we practiced breathing underwater, dove in four sites around Koh Tao, and made a bunch of new friends. Not only was it fun and easy, we had discovered a whole new world that is now open for us to explore. Underwater was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. We saw more wildlife in a few minutes than we ever have on land. Corals of every colour, groups of fish dancing and playing with each other, there wasn’t enough time to take it all in. We can’t wait to put our new skills to good use!
These were just a few highlights from our 2014 travels, though it does not even begin to illustrate the multitude of amazing adventures that we have experienced. It would be impossible to name every moment that we have loved, because even our entire blog doesn’t capture it all. We are very thankful for the opportunity to live our global trek dream every single day. Here’s to hoping that 2015 will be even better! We are confident that this next year will bring even more fun times on the road, living with no regrets, and stories to tell for a lifetime.