Yikes, it’s been a really long time since our last post. I’ll do my best to summarize the last month or so but it’s likely to be a doozy!
From our beautiful yoga retreat in Koh Lanta we made our way to Phuket. We stayed on the main drag, which reminded me what Las Vegas would be like. It was crazy busy, hawkers trying to pull you in on a deal, women yelling, “you want a massaaaaaage?” and it seemed like every second person was trying to sell you tickets to the late night ping pong show… It was a stark and shocking contrast to our relaxing yoga retreat. Phuket was where we met up with Colby and Al and started three weeks travelling together. After a crazy night hitting up Phuket’s “Las Vegas strip” we all embarked on a long days journey to Koh Phangan. The highlight of this journey was a performance from fellow traveller making the same trip. At each pit stop, the fellow traveller consumed beers at record speed. By the time we made a stop for lunch he had already consumed 4 large beers and continued to order more at lunch. He started to flirt with one of the waitresses at the restaurant and deviously asked if he could go swimming in the small lake next to the restaurant. Thinking he was obviously joking she said, “well you wouldn’t be able to go in with all your clothes.” This prompted him to begin a strip show for the entire restaurant, he threw off his clothes until he was standing butt naked. The local Thai dudes gave him one threatening look and naked guy, which we nicknamed him directly afterwards, quickly put his clothes back on as to not get his naked butt kicked by the locals. He made a very long and boring journey somewhat entertaining.
We arrived on the island of Koh Phangan a few days prior to the famous full moon party where the beach turns into a backpacker rave. It was perfect timing as the full moon landed on Colby’s birthday. Our hotel was located a ways away from the huge party. In fact, we had to take a 15 minute water taxi to and from our hotel and the main centre. Each time we got on one of these water taxis was at night time when the water was rough and you couldn’t see anything but distant lights in the background and the stars overhead. It scared the crap out if us a few times, but after, when we had a few drinks, we were hooting and hollering the whole way. Our very basic huts were perched up on a cliff side and we had a beautiful private beach almost entirely to ourselves. It was one of the coolest places I have stayed at, minus the annoying monkeys who tried to steal our belongings. The full moon party was such a good time and to spend it with Colby and Al made it so much more special. The best part of the night was when we were dancing on the beach and Colby spotted… Take a guess… the naked guy! This time he was wearing clothes. When we asked him what possessed him to strip in the restaurant he just looked at us with a straight face and said, “ecstasy.” Yikes! We also learned he was smuggling drugs to the full moon party on our bus… Double yikes!
From Koh Phangan we took a ferry to the small island of Koh Tao. This was the ferry from hell. It was really tall and narrow and packed in more people than I think it had seats. The water was extremely rough and people started dropping like flies, getting sick off the sides of the boat within minutes of being on it. As Kevin drifted into a peaceful sleep, Al and I were shaking in our sandals thinking we were definitely going to capsize and drown. We did arrive however and kissed the ground in relief. Koh Tao was a special place. It was a time for the four of us to totally kick back, relax, have some adventures and enjoy Thailand’s beauty in each other’s company. We explored the island on scooters, snorkelled, hiked to the tallest peak on the island, read a lot, watched a lady-boy show, got matching tattoos, ate a lot of Thai pancakes and drank a lot of Chang beer. One of my favourite nights was when we were on our way back to our hotel for the evening and saw a pool and we all just jumped in. I think we must have spent two or three hours playing in the pool until our entire body was pruned.
It was such a treat to have so much time with Colby and Al. We had some amazing life conversations and played a lot of card games. Kevin and I were once again reminded how lucky we are to have such an amazing, tight knit family. When we chat about what comes after this time of travelling the world, we reflect that we used to think we would find somewhere along the way to make home. However, now we realize just how much we love being near our family and friends. Living abroad long term, while it sounds romantic and exciting, wouldn’t be home without family.
After a short stop in Ayutthaya we said our sad goodbyes to Colby and Al and headed to the north of Thailand, Chaing Mai. In Chiang Mai we met up with our friend, Becky, who was travelling for three weeks over the Christmas holiday. We booked a zip lining excursion which happened to be my first time getting sick on this trip… Food poisoning, and it was not pretty… I puked all over the side of the drivers van on the way to zip lining, continued to struggle to keep everything together for the next hour or two while being flown from tree to tree and continued to puke all day. It was a rough 24 hours.
Our next destination was Luang Prabang, Laos. It was much colder here and we had to bring out all our warm gear that was tucked away at the bottom of our backpack. We were determined to stay on the move and travel through Laos quickly. After doddling our way through Thailand for the last 60 days we were feeling a little restless. However within one day of being in Luang Prabang we knew we had to stay longer. It was a truly magical place. The waterfall an hour from town was the most spectacular waterfall I have ever seen and it literally took my breath away. Located on the Mekong river, surrounded by rice terraces and temples the small town of Luang Prabang had such a charm that made us want to cozy up with a good book and a glass of wine or take a leisurely stroll around the town amongst the monks on their way to prayers.
We decided to spend Christmas here and keep it really low key. It was the first Christmas for both of us to be away from our family. It was great to be with Kevin and not have the commercialism of Christmas but I missed my family. Until now, I wasn’t feeling homesick at all but over the holidays it hit me. Boxing Day was especially hard, as it marks the four year anniversary of my Dads accident. I feel like after all this time to heal, each year should keep getting easier and easier, however in some ways it has gotten harder...
Well, I think I have covered a lot of ground in this post and should stop here. More from our 26 hour bus ride to Vietnam, our cruise on Halong bay and New Years with the biggest beauties in our next blog. Thanks for sticking with us and reading our blog. This blog acts as our way of communicating our whereabouts and adventures to family and friends but also a lifelong momento and diary of this beautiful adventure we are on.
Loving vibes to you all…