Home, Sweet Home (well, almost!)
Trip Start Sep 24, 2009
69Trip End Apr 30, 2010
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Where I stayed
Mum and Dad's
Did I have a great adventure? Absolutely!
Am I glad to be home? Yes, I am, actually. I was ready to come back. Even though it was earlier than I had planned by a month or two, I always knew that I would come back when I was ready. There was no point in pushing on if the excitement and enthusiasm was waning. I'm sure that this was probably reflected in my last few blog entries.
Did the trip go according to plan? Well, I always just had a rough outline of a plan in terms of what countries I wanted to visit, but this time, I really just went with the flow
It was also my original intention to travel alone, but Alan decided to come along for a good chunk of it. Although I was looking forward to the personal challenge of doing it on my own, I was very glad to have the company along the way. And even though I didn’t mind the weeks that I was on my own at the beginning and end, I don’t think I’m a natural born solo traveller. Here are some miscellaneous highlights, lowlights and other tidbits of useless (and maybe useful?) information.
- Without a doubt, the Easy Rider motorbike tour in Vietnam from Dalat through the Central Highlands to Ho Chin Minh City (Saigon) and on through the Mekong Delta region
- Nusa Lembongan (small island off of Bali). It was a laid back island, not too touristy and I met some really friendly people here, including a lovely young family that I met when cycling around the island. They invited me to just sit with them and talk for a while. They could hardly speak a word of English so it was a real test of my Indonesian. I also rode my first solo motorbike here – a real buzz for me!
- Hanoi and Hoi An (Vietnam) – Hanoi is a place that people either love or loathe. I really enjoyed the chaos of the Old Quarter, the crazy driving and the tiny pokey shops selling all-sorts. Maybe I enjoyed it just because it was our first experience of Vietnam. And Hoi An, in spite of the pesky tailors and other vendor, was a quaint little town, and I’m glad that we spend a good 5 days there getting to know it.
- Komodo Dragons (Rinca island, Indonesia) – I have wanted to see the Komodo dragons for years and they didn’t disappoint. It was somewhat freaky to think how we could just walk amongst them, in their environment, protected only by a guide carrying a stick
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (near Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – this day tour was an awesome way to get to see some of the 'behind the scenes’ stuff at the rescue centre. We had our own personal tour, and got to do things like going into the tiger’s enclosure area while they were being fed large chunks of meat. (They were locked in cages in the enclosure, but we were standing 3 feet in front of them!) And getting up close and personal with Chhouk, the baby elephant who lost his foot to a poacher’s trap – something that isn’t available to the general public. (This was via a tour guide that has special access).
- Preah Khan(Siem Reap, Cambodia) – one of the temples in the Angkor Wat area. This temple was consumed by the encroaching jungle over the years, and large parts of it have collapsed. The jungle has been cleared from the temple, but it has so far been mostly left in its original (collapsed) state. This doesn’t feature on most people’s ‘Top 5’ list of temples to see which means it’s not crowded with the horrible crowds that run riot during peak season
- Losing Jezzie (my cat) while I was away (and within two weeks of returning home). Without a doubt, the lowest moment of the entire trip.
- Losing my wallet in Singapore - on Day 1 of my trip! Argh! Not so much a lowlight, but more a nuisance as I had to sort out reoplacement credit and EFTPos cards.
I was very fortunate to not get sick, suffer injury or have any other medical issues while being away. I think I used 2-3 band aids for blister prevention, and a pack of electrolytes to rehydrate after a 12-hour stomach bug near the end of the trip
Having said that, there were times when crossing the street in Vietnam, or being on the back of a motorbike, that I did wonder if I would make it back in one piece!)
I was also amazed at how well we kept to my estimated daily budget. Vietnam was particularly low cost which is why we decided to splash out on the motorbike tour. Thailand ended up being quite pricey due to it still being the high season in Feb. But overall, the daily costs were spot on to what we expected.
I thought I might suffer a bit on my return, possibly regretting my decision to come home when I did. But to be honest, I’m really happy to be back, and I’ve enjoyed catching up with the few people that I have managed to see. Now, I’m staying at my parents out in Helensville, and focussed on getting a job.
As much as I enjoyed living in Tauranga over the last few years before heading overseas, I have decided to re-settle back in Auckland to be closer to family and friends
Forty-something is too old to be living with your parents ( as much as I appreciate them letting me take over the spare room and the kitchen table with my laptop, etc) and South Head is just too far from … well, anything and everything! So now, I will focus on somewhere to live.
My Albany home is tenanted until the end of May so I just need to find something to get me through to then. Possibly an apartment in town, or maybe boarding at friend’s place.
I will spend the next few weeks enjoying some my own country, seeing a bit of NZ while the weather is good and I’m waiting to start work. And catching up with my friends, of course!
Thanks so much for reading this blog! I did this firstly as a record for myself of things that we did and places that we visited, but also it was an easy way to keep family up-to-date on my whereabouts (albeit usually a few days late)
There were times were I had to force myself to write something just to keep it going, even though I was too busy, or too tired at night, or felt that I really hadn’t done anything to interesting enough to make a worthwhile blog entry. But there were other times (like on the motorbike tour in Vietnam) that I was on such a buzz and couldn’t wait to share my day with you. Thank goodness for WiFi in these countries!
So thanks again for reading my rambles, and more importantly, for your notes, comments and emails along the way. I really did appreciate hearing from you guys! I think that’s it – at least, until the next big adventure!