A brief look at our life, from afar:
We spent time in cities like Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and Tokyo while also trekking in the jungle of Thailand, biking through the jungles surrounding the temples of Angkor (at 5 in the morning) and taking bumpy train rides through the Thailand countryside.
We dove head first into the fruit here. Our favorites being mangosteens and a fruit whose name in English means pain and suffering. We drank enough juice, shakes, smoothies, and lassi's that I now cry tears of mango juice.
We were adventurous with street food eating scorpions, maggots, khao soi, and unidentifiable things while also having moments of weakness and eating pizza and fries.
We haggled our way into buying shirts for 1 dollar and entire curry meals for under a dollar, while also being swindled into buying 3 tiny bananas for 5 dollars.
We walked countless miles, biked over 20 miles, kayaked at least 6 miles, climbed a few routes, and splurged on Tuk Tuks.
We carefully weighed our options to get the most our of our money. . . and seemingly threw money at people in an attempt to 'just get us to our guesthouse!'.
We took boats, planes, songthaews, Tuk Tuks, bikes, trains, and buses.
We took countless cold showers when cold water was all that was available, and turned the hot water off the few times it was available. And paid $10 for a half hour shower in Tokyo.
We took 3rd class commuting busses and took busses with air conditioning that included free water and cookies.
We met countless new friends, some we met up with again, some we have plans to keep in touch with, and many that we will never speak to or know ever again.
We used "Western" toilets in Tokyo that played sounds of waterfalls, had heated seats, and dryers. And, more often, we used squat toilets with large buckets of water next to them that are used to clean yourself, wash your hands, and flush.
By the time we learned to carry toilet paper everywhere we went, we had learned how to use the buckets of water or hoses to clean ourselves. Though I never did learn how people then manage to get dry!
We did the touristy things like riding elephants, petting tigers, and getting a guide to explain Angkor Wat. And we took opportunities to get off the beaten path, ate dinner with locals who shared their culture with us, kayaked to national parks, and forwent the Angkor Wat sunrise in favor of a quieter temple.
We stayed in 9 dollar a night bungalows that only have electricity at night and splurged on a night in a hotel with air conditioning and cable tv.
We spent days relaxing in that hotel room watching movies, poolside in Siem Reap drinking mango daiquiris, and going to the movies to see Begin Again (in English). While we also spent days completely horrified and overwhelmed while visiting the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields.
We stepped out into busy oncoming traffic holding our breath as we stay a steady path and motorcycles weave around us (it really is the only way to get across!)
We remained safe while also making dumb choices, like forgetting to respect the ocean until we were literally battered against boulders.
We greatly underestimated distances while kayaking to an island that we figured was only 1 mile away, in reality it was at least 3! And hopped in Tuk Tuks for a 5 minute trip because I didn't want to get wet walking in the rain.
Alyssa was the only one to have gotten sick. Luckily she didn't miss much, she was only sick on our biggest travel day. Involving a 4am wakeup, a 6 hour 3rd class train ride (complete with locals coming through the aisles selling pungent foods), Tuk Tuk drivers badgering us to get our business (even as Alyssa is puking in the grass), avoiding fake border crossing scams, legit border crossings that involved paying off officials because we didn't have extra passport photos, waiting in a dirty bus station for two or more people to join us to make our trip cheaper (with Alyssa horrifying everyone by laying on the ground), paying extra to not wait for that extra person, finally getting a minibus that would take us straight to our hostel, stopping at a shop for refreshments and a bathroom that you need to purchase something to use (this is where the $5 for 3 tiny bananas comes in), and finally getting a Tuk Tuk to our guesthouse.
We arrived on time for busses that left almost an hour and a half late, missed a bus completely, and almost missed our flight back to Japan because we were at the wrong airport!
We hit 3 countries in 5 weeks, albeit we only spent 30 hours in Japan. And gazed across the Mekong into Laos and Burma.
To say this was a trip of a lifetime does not do it justice.
Thanks for being by my side throughout this journey Alyssa
"It's good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."