Katy Continues to lead race to 192.

As we start planning our next trip (seriously we’ve already started), I thought I would share a quick update on the country count.

With the new countries from this trip, Katy has now been to 34 countries and my count sits at 33. The three countries on this trip, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, were all new for me.  Katy, having been to Thailand before, added two new ones to her list. (We aren’t counting Japan as we didn’t leave the airport. Sadly it looks like we might have to wait a while to get back there.)

So, we have a long way to go. While we certainly we won’t beat Chris Guillebeau, nor is this blog nearly as interesting as his, I’m looking forward to years of travel to come.

We’re home and the pictures are up.

As usual, it’s a bit of a shock to be home, and not just because we left +35 C to arrive to -12 C. One minute you’re sitting on a beach trying to remember a few words of Thai and the next you’re back at your desk in your office wondering whether you were really ever gone at all.

Fortunately, we have proof. On a very short two and a half weeks, we took over 3,000 pictures between the two of us. Digital is a curse and a blessing. Luckily for you, we’ve narrowed that down to a top 600 or so. Seriously, we liked so many of them, we didn’t want to cut it any further. To see the pictures, just visit the gallery section of this site or click on these links:

If you’ve read any of the previous posts, you’ve probably gathered already that we had a great trip. Southeast Asia is a really easy place to travel and it’s a trip both Katy and I would highly recommend to anyone. The people we met along the way were all very interesting, warm and welcoming.

Some of the lessons we learned along the way:

If you tend to stick to Western countries when you travel, or don’t travel much at all and are thinking about branching out a bit, Southeast Asia is a great place to start. While the languages aren’t that easy, you can get along fine with English. All three countries we visited on this trip offer a range of activities, from cultural to sitting on the beach, and they’re all really inexpensive once you take care of the international flights. Surprisingly, you can even find Western style washroom facilities everywhere and rarely have to pay to use them; Katy didn’t have to squat over a hole or carry her own stash of toilet paper with her during the entire two and half weeks. For those who travel like we do, you’ll understand how much of a luxury this is.

If you’re really adventurous you can take 2 months and travel around Southeast Asia finding lodging as you go, like Kevin and Vanessa. If you’re pressed for time, or want a little help, I’d highly recommend Gap Adventures. (I swear, I don’t get any money. They’re just good.)

Thanks to everyone that read along with us and especially those who posted comments. I’ve enjoyed writing these posts, it helps me remember everything we do and take the time to consider and appreciate it.

If you’re a glutton for punishment, I’m going to keep writing as we get ready for our next trip so feel free to keep visiting. Or, you can subscribe to receive email notifications of new posts in the top right corner of this page. Just click on the “sign me up” button.

“Are you allergic to fish, or you just don’t like it…”

Our trip home was relatively uneventful. Our flight out of Bangkok to Tokyo left just after 8:00 in the morning and the free hotel shuttle got us to the airport with plenty of time to spare. We managed to get ourselves the bulkhead seats again, without even paying the extra $75 each, so the nearly 6 hour flight to Tokyo was painless. Unfortunately the Thai Airways entertainment system didn’t work, but I managed to pass the time with my iPad. Katy had some old fashioned paper magazines. Not nearly as cool, but it seemed to work for her.

We had a tight connection in Tokyo, but in our very brief time there it seemed to be a well run place and we breezed through the security.  We were quickly on our Air Canada flight to Toronto within 15 minutes. Sadly, we didn’t have any luck getting the seats with the extra room for this 12 hour flight. Somehow when we were paying the fee for the good seats on the Toronto – Hong Kong flight (16 hours) we convinced ourselves that we should just take our chances on the Tokyo – Toronto flight (12 hours). This seemed like a pretty stupid decision as we settled into our seats.

Unfortunately, to add to the cramped conditions, Air Canada decided that Katy didn’t need to eat during the flight. In the course of 12 hours they served 3 meals, and managed to screw up Katy’s each time. Despite having booked the vegetarian option, Katy’s first meal was chicken. (Actually I should have kept it as it was better than the normal chicken). Apparently it had been mislabelled and they had no other options available. The second time she was told there just wasn’t an alternative to the chicken noodle soup and the third time they actually gave her meal away to another woman in our row in error. Sadly, the woman ate it without wondering why she had been served ahead of time. The flight attendants, clearly a bit flustered at this point, actually asked Katy if she was allergic to fish, or just didn’t like it. I guess the implication was that since they couldn’t deliver what was ordered, maybe Katy should just eat what they gave her.

Food issues aside, the rest of the flight was relatively painless. After the flight we made it home and even managed to stay awake until 10:00 pm in the hope that this would somehow ease the jet lag. Lying in bed staring at the ceiling at 3:30 the next morning it was pretty clear it hadn’t worked.

Is the extra legroom really worth $75?

And we’re off!

Well, as expected, 15 hours is a hell of a long time to spend in a cramped airline seat.
I’m not a giant, but I’m tall enough that paying the extra money to be able to choose a bulkhead seat was well worth it, even if you can’t lift the arm rests to spread out a little extra.

I’m also grateful for choose-your-own-movie-in-flight entertainment systems, my iPad and new noise canceling headphones all of which helped kill some time.

Unfortunately, Hong Kong is just airport surrounded by clouds for us today. It’s nice to be up and moving around but we’ll definitely have to come back some time to actually visit HK.

So, we’re off to a good start. Really looking forward to getting to Hanoi and starting to explore… Maybe after a nap.

Why are you going there?

“Why are you going there?” It’s amazing how often Katy and I hear this question when we tell people about our next trip. The simple answer is often, we haven’t been there yet. Today the United Nations has 192 Member States each of which offers the promise of unique experiences, interesting people and cultures, and a chance to learn and grow. Katy and I have been to 32 and 30 countries respectively, so we’ve got a lot of travelling to do and no shortage of reasons to keep doing it.

If you’re interested in our latest trip updates, pictures or what we’ve got planned for future trips, this is the place to find it. While the posts here won’t be limited to our travels, it will likely be the most common topic.

Thanks for visiting. I hope you find something of interest and I’d love to hear your comments.

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