End of the road

Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Sunderland, England, United Kingdom
Another trip, another return home and another final blog entry to bring it all to a close.

I'm not quite sure where the past 9 1/2 months have gone really such has been the eratic nature of our adventures this time . The previous trip we followed a fairly logical overland route round Asia. Up through Malaysia from Singapore, continuing North through Thailand, West to East across Laos then back down Vietnam etc This time when I check my map our route has zig zagged all over and involved a lot more flights. Myanmar back down to Malaysia, Sumatra all the way up to Cambodia, about 5 different visits to Bangkok on our way to other places. On the face of it it doesn't seem to make much sense. But this trip has been dictated more by money (or the lack of it) Volunteer work and some very last minute decisions on where to head next based on the funds we had available. I mentioned a while ago in my blog that some of the prices in Asia have increased since we were last here two years ago. Throw in a splash of Brexit which wiped out 20% of our funds over night, and an expensive month in Bali at the very start of the trip and we have been up against it budget wise for most of our travels. Hence our eratic route and extended periods of volunteer work.

When I initially think back on this trip it really doesn't feel like we have explored that much, not as many new places as I would have liked. But when I sit and work it all out I don't think we have done too bad at all. We enjoyed a full month in Bali, experienced the amazing temples and friendly folk in Myanmar. The volcanoes, lakes and marine life of Sumatra. The ancient capitol of Siam at Ayutthaya in Thailand. Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I worked out the other day that we spent roughly 2 months of the trip on either tropical islands or beautiful beaches so in reality I don't really think we have done that badly at all. I've certainly had worse years that's for sure!

To me the main thing as always is looking at each and every day and asking myself if I've had a good day and enjoyed myself.I can safely say that I well and truly loved every single day we were away on this trip and to me that's all that matters, it's been another wonderful experience being out and about in the world, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people.

As you may know the main driving force for this trip was the passing of my mam last year and I was always bound to question myself at the end of the adventure asking if my mam would have been proud of me. I would like to think she would be looking down on me. We ticked off 3 totally new places in Myanmar, Cambodia and Sumatra. We conducted ourselves well and respected each and every person and new culture we came across and most importantly we devoted over 4 months of our past year towards volunteer work, with the majority of that time being spent helping animals. I would like to think my mam would be proud of me for that. She was in my thoughts every single day and will continue to drive me forward to live by my own rules and to pursue what makes me happy in life. I love you mam.

Finally I need to give thanks to all the people who have helped make this past 9 1/2 months what it was. My mate Steve in Sunderland, if not for your help and support before we left this trip would never have happened. Everyone in Langkawi and at the LASSie animal shelter, you made our time there more enjoyable than previous trips. Narelle and Alison at Bon Ton. Jayne, Dr H, Felicia, Gabby, Linda, Zule, Petree, Lewis, Dorothy, Kathryn and Jean. Frankie at Lepak and Daniel at Bam-Boo-Ba. Billy and Colin. Lisa and Richard, I can't thank you both enough for your amazing generosity and hospitality. You really gave us some light during some dark times at the shelter and I'm genuinely convinced we will meet up again at some point. Ian and Zac, you two guys really helped get us out of some sticky situations towards the end of the trip and if not for both your help we would have been home a few months ago...either that or we would have spent a lot longer at the animal shelter. Thank you so much, we both appreciate your help.

Last and most importantly I need to thank my trusty side kick, travel partner and best friend Dani for continually driving us forward to new experiences. You make traveling the amazing fun experience that is for me and this trip would not have been the same without you. When we are down to our last $18 you keep on pushing us towards new things when my sensible head is suggesting otherwise, and as always it comes together in the end. To me that is priceless. Life always finds a way eh babe? You are the person I confide in, the person who is there to pick me when I'm down, and I feel I don't want to go on any further. You are truly my best friend and I can't wait for our next adventure together.

I sit here without a penny to my name, in fact a small amount of debt after this trip, yet I somehow feel like the richest man on Earth thanks to the experiences I have had. We have ideas for many more trips lined up already, we now just need to find a way to make them happen and as always I'm sure that we will.

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