That’s right folks. It’s been six months since I left the Louisville Airport heading to Venice. Although I still have another 2-1/2 months of adventures ahead of me, I know it’s going to go by fast, perhaps too fast. I recently booked six flights in six weeks. I have a flight home now (in time for Thanksgiving!), but before that I will be visiting Thailand, Bali (and possibly Jakarta), Malaysia, Berlin, and Barcelona. I’m excited for the remainder of Southeast Asia. My stops in Europe were a bit unexpected but it was the same price for me to fly directly home as it was to stop in these two cities, and Barcelona has been on the bucket list for a while now. I will be meeting up with a friend in Berlin who I actually met on this trip while I was in Kenya; I’m really looking forward to seeing her again. So, now that I’ve blabbed my upcoming travel plans here’s a look at what I got into this month.
- Spent 2 days in a beach town in Cambodia getting my visa for Vietnam before taking off for Ho Chi Minh.
- Visited Dalat, Munei, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay, Hanoi, and Sapa in Vietnam. Some highlights included: Valley of Love in Dalat, driving my first motorbike, the tailors and art galleries in Hoi An, seeing Uncle Ho’s body in Hanoi, and making friends with some girls from the Hmong tribe in Sapa while exploring perhaps the most beautiful scenery I’ve come across to date.
- Took a miserable bus ride across the border into Laos (after being asked by border police for proof of life insurance).
- Settled down in Muang Ngoi Neua for 4 nights, a village only reachable by boat with electricity powered by generators for about 3 hours per day. It was a phenomenal experience, and I made friends with people that I will dearly miss. Oh yes, and we were invited to a wedding reception in the village- it included drinking lao-lao (rice whiskey) starting at 10am. We had to call it quits by noon.
- Was enchanted by Luang Prabang. Although I had heard it was really touristy, being there in off-season helped. I biked out to a waterfall for a swim, which was a 12 km uphill ride. My bike was stuck in the highest gear- needless to say I was really sore but the swim was great!
- And yesterday, I wrapped up my sixth month with a visit to the archaeological site Plain of Jars in Phonsavan, Laos. It was really neat.
- I wrote a post about my volunteer experience in Malawi for GoOverseas.com.
I also wanted to give a little update on Sole Purpose. In terms of running, I have my next race scheduled. Since I’m no longer going to Nepal on this trip, I had to find a race in Indonesia. It’s a 5k in Bali on October 17th. It was a bit stressful as my bank transfer would not go through, and I didn’t meet the August 31st payment deadline; however, the race organizers agreed to let me pay on arrival. Phew! In terms of donations, I have approximately $180 left. I just made a donation in Laos on a project that I’m really excited about! I’ll be sharing the details shortly. I’m in the process of finalizing plans for volunteering in Thailand on the Myanmar border, an area full of refugees. I believe I will be doing some administrative work on a fundraising project for a technical school. Again, details to come as soon as I know that I’ll be going.
Six fabulous months have come and gone and I can’t wait for the next few (which finally will involve some beach time!).