The Most Memorable Moments of a Year of Travel

by Poi on August 24, 2011

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I can’t quite believe it but we have now been away from home for a whole year. We’re not anywhere near where we thought we would be this time a year ago or followed any of the plans we made, nonetheless we have a lot of great memories from our time away so far.

So here is a list of the times that stick in my head most, starting at the very beginning.

Our Adventure Begins – Nothing can match the excitement of touching down in your first location, emerging from the underground in Beijing was both scary and exhilarating at the same time. That first glimpse of Asia.

Great Wall of China – Our first big land mark of the trip. We made the effort to go to a more remote part of the wall and were rewarded with incredible views and sections to ourselves. Definitely one of the places that needed to be ticked off our list. I’d love to go back one day and see another section even further from Beijing.

Jinshanling Section of The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China

Becoming a recovering heroin addict in Xiamen – Treating ourselves to a hotel room in Xiamen seemed like a good idea at the time but it led me to the worst night of my life. Ending with me sweating, swearing, shivering, bright red and in pain outside a pharmacy at 7am, much to the bewilderment of passing school children and parents.

Victoria Peak, Hong Kong – Another one of the must see points on our trip. Despite terrible weather for most of the day we were treated to a few moments when the clouds cleared and gave us some great views. Staying in Chungking mansions was an experience as well.

The View from Vistoria Peak over Hong Kong Isalnd

Victoria Peak View

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – This stands out both for the amazing place that is Ha Long Bay and the amount of fun we had on our Hanoi Backpackers tour. So many cool people and so much beer made for one hell of a party. A very nice and intense welcome to the SE Asia backpacker scene.

Dalat, Vietnam – Not completely off the backpacker path but far less visited than most places, Dalat was a real change from our other stops in Vietnam. People selling on the streets actually avoided us rather than running over which was a nice change. It could easily be an adventure capital for the area, so many great options available, canyoning in particular was a lot of fun. Kirsty’s hospital visit, not so much….

Chaing Mai – Far too many good things about Chiang Mai to mention individually. We lived there for three months and fell in love with the place, made great friends, had friends from home visit and could easily have stayed longer. Somewhere we will definitely end up again in the future again and again.

Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos – Something we had been looking forward to for so long whilst planning our trip and it didn’t disappoint. It’s just as fun as it sounds, if not more. We were lucky to have some great company and I’m excited to take my friends from home back there in November, it’s going to get messy.

Tubing River in Vang Vieng Laos

Tubing in Laos

Getting a Teaching Job in Thailand – We had to cut our time in Cambodia short but it meant we had the opportunity to live in Bangkok for a year. Kirsty had no teaching experience but got through a nervy test class and is now loving every minute of teaching. “There sooo cuuuuttee”

Malaysian Grand Prix – Kirsty has always been an F1 fan so we headed off to Malaysia to catch this years race, much to the jealousy of her family. A great weekend away and of course any excuse to go away is a good one.

Malaysian Grand Prix

Malaysian F1

Songkran – Wow, again just like tubing, it’s as mental and fun as it sounds. We got back from Malaysia during Songkan and were wet within minutes of being on the streets. We were able to spend some time with some other bloggers we had been trying to meet for ages and had an amazing couple of days. If you get the chance, do not pass up Songkran.

Visiting Parents – Recently I even managed to get my old folks out here.  We spent a week up in Chiang Mai, a week down on Koh Lanta before a final week in our home of Bangkok. Now I just need them to move to Chiang Mai full time so I can have a second home from home.

So there you have it and we’re not done yet, with another 9 months until we fly home to prepare for our next adventure who knows what will make the 2nd year highlights. Coming up we have trips to Malaysia, Chiang Mai and Laos all before the end of the year and I’m sure we’ll be squeezing a lot more in as well.

Have you done any of our highlights? or maybe you can recommend something we’ve missed along the way?


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Mack Reynolds August 24, 2011 at 10:27 pm

i haven’t done any of these things 🙁

sallgood. sounds like you’re having the time of your lives. hope you enjoy the remaining nine months abroad. i’m sure it’ll be just as awesome as the first half.


Poi August 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Thanks Mack, I’m sure you’ll get round to doing some of these things one day!


Jaime August 25, 2011 at 4:42 am

Damn… a year already! Congrats on that… can’t believe it. I remember following yal when yall still had like 6 months to start the trip. Time sure does fly by… Looks like yalll have had a blast and still going strong. Can’t wait to read what the next year brings.


Poi August 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Thanks Jamie, we’re having a great time so far and thanks for keeping up with us!


Amanda August 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

Wow, I can’t believe you guys have been gone a whole year already! Time sure flies.

But, you guys have certainly made the most of it! Good luck during year 2!


Poi August 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Time is flying by far too quickly – I’m getting old! Cheers Amanda!


Andi of My Beautiful Adventures August 26, 2011 at 2:21 am

SUCH an amazing year for you 2!!! It’s amazing how quickly time flies by when you’re having fun.


Poi August 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Thanks Andi, we’ve had a great time.


Anthony August 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Epic read mate! I love how you’ve sacked off your plans for the priority of what just feels right.


Poi August 31, 2011 at 10:31 am

Cheers mate, best way to do it although I know that’s your plan anyway!


Shaun September 2, 2011 at 1:25 am

Those highlights were awesome. We can’t wait to get to Asia!


Poi September 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Hurry up before we leave!


Alex September 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Congrats on making a year. Any chance Kirsty can stay on teaching another year.


Poi September 6, 2011 at 7:37 am

Thanks Alex, she could stay on for as long as she likes, they love teachers to stay for years if possible but it’s more about us.

Now she’s got the experience it will be a lot easier to get a job in other parts of the world and hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have enough money to travel another part of the world without working for a while first.


Aussie on the Road September 9, 2011 at 11:55 am

I want my 2012 to be as exciting as the year you’ve just had 😮


Poi September 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I’m sure it will be if not beter! Make it happen!


Pat Graham January 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

“There sooo cuuuuttee”

Hopefully you read my post before you teach the “There, Their, There” lesson.


Poi January 5, 2012 at 7:03 pm

luckily they’re so young I never need to teach grammar!


Laura January 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

Congrats on a fantastic year of adventure! Sounds like you guys are thoroughly taking advantage of your time in SE Asia.


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