There is a large difference between being on Holiday and traveling.  When traveling, you’re abroad for an extended period of time and budgets are tighter.   You have to be willing to really go with the flow and let go of all of your ideas of a productive day as there are sure to be hiccups and things go wrong.  Laundry gets dirtier quicker in humid 90 degree plus days and as laundry is air dried, it is difficult to do during the onset of rainy season.  Of course, as you may read this at work you are likely to roll your eyes at me and tell me there are worse things and harder work, yes, I agree, but what I am doing is not a beach vacation.  There are a lot of not so glamorous accomodations and worse, sad sights of poverty and sobering realizations on the impact of war throughout the centuries.

I am seeing so much of Southeast Asia as I am not just visiting major cities but am going to remote, off the beaten path locations where my tour group and I are the only westerners in town.  Villagers literally come by to us to touch our hand and say hello.  Needless to say there is no wifi, let me also add that there is sometimes no water and sometimes electricity ends at a certain time.  This may not be so specific to Southeast Asia but we share roads with cows, motor bikes, farming tractors and children on bicycles.  The roads are not always paved and its the onset of rainy season so there are potholes bigger than the ones in Chicago at the end of winter.  I can’t do too much reading, photo editing or blogging on the road.  When I arrive to a city I want to see and experience all that I can and not just be on wifi.  I am in a new town nearly every night and it is a gift when I am in the same town and bed for two nights in a row.  I wish I could post a highlight of each day every day on instagram or facebook, it’s just not going to happen.  When I do, I’ll be sure to share the beautiful sunsets though.  If I get wifi the time online is often spent on researching where I have been and where I am going and what practical tips are needed for staying there safely.

Enough of what may seem like a rant.  I merely just want to give some insight as to why I haven’t been in communication as much as I would like to be.  I have fallen in love with new countries and have seen sunrises, sunsets, rivers and mountains no one at home has seen.  I have made new friends and memories in each city.  I have been smiled and hugged by strangers and have done the same.  I have eaten a lot of new foods and even sampled tarantula, cricket and snake; all things that locals don’t really seem to eat but is advertised to tourists to try.  I have gone splunking in caves, swam under waterfalls, pet tigers, turtles and fed monkeys in the wild.  I have shopped markets and been reminded of where all food comes from.  I have gazed up at the stars to only next be awoken by wild roosters in the early hours.  I have gotten to love and hold family members and friends who live so far away.  I have gained a deeper understanding again of what makes me tick and what makes me happy.  And…at the same time, I really know what travelers diahrrea is.  It’s nearly a daily topic amongst backpackers here.  Even so, I still love traveling and Southeast Asia is etching itself into my heart and I am so hungry to see more of the world.  If anyone is reading this, thanks for still having an interest to check in from time to time.

Me, in the middle of nowhere, Laos

Homestay, 8 people sleeping in one room 

Our beloved bus getting stuck during the start of rainy season

Village bathroom

Village Kitchen