Today is exactly one year since we embarked on our dream of ‘home free’ travel. It has been an amazing adventure of serendipity and blessings. I am writing this post and sharing these pictures with a lot of joy. However, there is sadness. In the past year, while not physically in the United States our hearts and minds have suffered. There have been more black lives taken than I can count or name. We cried for Philando Castile, Korryn Gaines, Freddy Gray and more. There have been several instances of massive gun violence, and deplorable political rhetoric and chicanery abound. We hear about these things and are wounded and often feel outraged.
On the other hand we have experienced a year free of fear of the police, we actually feel we can trust the police here to help us. We have seen Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Animists and Jews living in harmony. We have seen women, in hijab, getting educations, driving, and interacting freely with their friends. We have not listened to rumors, fear and rhetoric. We have gone and seen for ourselves. We acknowledge what a blessing and a privilege this year has been. The following pictures are our celebration of this year.
We set sail from the port of Seattle, Washington for 30 days at sea. It was a great way to slowly acclimate into our new lives. We were pampered cared for, had lots of time to relax and plan. We had several great stops along the way. We were the first cruise ship ever to stop at the Marshall Islands. It was wonderful having the school children come out to greet us. I really enjoyed our stop at Puerto Princessa, the Philippines and Kathy really related to this monk on Sarawak, Malaysia.
In Singapore, things got real. No more cruise ship to return to in the evenings. We were now on our own: meals, lodging, transportation. Singapore was much too expensive to stay more than a day but we loved the botanical garden there.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was our next stop. I knew absolutely nothing about Malaysia but immediately fell in love with this big, bustling, modern city. The harmonious diversity of Malaysia is so inspiring and the musical “Mud” is a celebration of this.
We enjoyed a brief (too brief) stay on the island of Pinang, Malaysia in the historic city of Georgetown.
On to Bangkok…big city, beautiful city but a little too crowded for me. I did love the very touristy floating market.
From Bangkok we enjoyed a train ride and brief stop at crazy Lop Buri, Thailand “monkey town”.
We then enjoyed a few days stay at the UNESCO World Heritage City of Ayutthaya. Amazing!
Chiang Mai, Thailand is where we first got to enjoy and experience the benefits of slower travel. Our first time around we were here over a month and it was great, especially the Yi Ping Festival.
Vietnam! I could put a gazillion pictures up of this marvelous country but this post is already going too long. It was an amazing month. We traveled by the Reunification Train from South to North. We visited Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Mui Ne, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. Vietnam is a beautiful country both in natural beauty and in the strength and spirt of the people.
We returned to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a longer visit. We got to visit the Batu Caves and enjoy more of the city’s sights. Best public transportation anywhere!
We had a brief stay in the smaller city of Ipoh, Malaysia where we received a warm welcome at this Kwan Yin Temple.
Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia during Chinese New Year season was wonderful! Almost 6 weeks of festivities, fireworks, and fun.
Bali! A magical place of beautiful sights, people, food and spiritual blessings.
Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia was another opportunity to explore beautiful sights and to meet lovely people.
Borobudur Temple, Java is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. We try to visit as many UNESCO sites as we can while traveling.
Jakarta, Java, Indonesia is a big, modern city and while not my favorite we did have a good positive experience there.
Back to Chiang Mai, Thailand just in time for Songkran ( Thai New Year) and the world’s largest water fight! Crazy fun!
Three hours from Chiang Mai we visited beautiful Chiang Rai and the white temple there. A lovely brief stay, especially because our friends Queen and Yardenna joined us.
Kuala Lumpur again, this time for a stay in the heart of Little India also known as Brickfields. Best food ever!
OMG! The People’s Republic of China was truly a dream come true. While somewhat challenging (crowds, language, culture) we got to experience amazing sights and time with my best friend, Lecia. Beijing, Xian, Hangzhou and Guangzhou are all amazing examples of modern China and opportunities to see ancient wonders.
After the hustle and bustle of China the peace and serenity of Chiang Mai was most welcome.
We most recently enjoyed a brief visit to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Melaka, Malaysia. A place we definitely want to explore more of.
We are currently back in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a few more weeks before returning home to the states. We are considering our options and feeling our feelings about what the next year will be : traveling North America? Returning to Southeast Asia? Or?????
No matter what, we trust that the love and compassion embodied by Kwan Yin and manifested by all your love and support will be with us. Thank you for letting me share my joy. Please share your joy with us. We’d love to hear about your past year and adventures and future plans.