Nearly 4 months (16 weeks and 2 day or 114 days) later, we are finally home. Now that we are home and trying to get back to reality and settled into our life, we have been asked many questions regarding our favorite places on our trip.
Our trip emphasized quality over quantity – Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, Tibet, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and England. This means if you count Hong Kong and Tibet as separate countries, our journey took us to 10 foreign countries on 4 continents (as well as coming within 500 miles of Antarctica). In order to accomplish this, we flew on 25 flights (11 international, 12 domestic, 1 scenic and 1 helicopter), 2 overnight cruises, 9 day cruises and stayed in 47 different hotels in 45 different cities (not including London and staying with family). We had to pack for 4 seasons, travelled in 6 different time zones, paid with 11 different currencies with various exchange rates, and couldn’t speak 7 of the languages. WHEW!
After getting through all those impressive numbers (yes it took a while to figure all that out), we started thinking about some of our favorite things throughout our time abroad. Here is what we came up with.
City – definitely Buenos Aires… beautiful, clean, fun, culture… everything!
Country – we had the best time in Chile – the scenery, horseback riding, hiking, food, wine and culture were all amazing. Cambodia comes a close 2nd for me but while I’d love to visit Cambodia again and would recommend it to everyone, I would love to have a vacation home in Chile… I could go back again and again…
Food – Raj and I disagree about this one – I liked Vietnamese or perhaps Thai food the best, but Raj preferred the food in China though I didn’t particularly enjoy all the oily sauces (we do agree that Tibet was the worst food – I will not be disappointed if I’m never confronted with Yak meat again).
Airline – after all those flights we have some clear preferences. we might have a tie between LAN and British Airways – if you took LAN’s media and BA’s seating and food, you’d have the perfect airline.
Beach – Cape Foulwind in New Zealand – the surf was incredible and we saw seals and other lovely wildlife – and we were all alone (except for the 1 random person we ran into who took the photo on the left) – so nice!
Hotel – Park Hyatt Saigon was my hands down favorite until we stayed at the Intercontinental Bangkok (our last hotel) – that was pretty darn nice too; it even had a humidor bar in addition to its rooftop pool and amazing gym. It was a very nice splurge to finish off Southeast Asia.
Non-hotel accommodation – Helena’s home in Futaleufu with the long pastures, rivers and horses – she was also an amazing cook and they introduced us to mate. We stayed in their guest cabin that they had built themselves to be like a huge tree-house. It was fantastic!
Week – horseback riding in Futaleufu, Chile – it simply can’t be beat
Sunrise– the sunrise on the cruise in southern Patagonia where we woke up to the sound of of seals splashing and the red glow of the sun was so lovely- not only the nicest of the trip, but the nicest I can remember ever.
Sunset – with Brian and Eleanor in Dunedin when we saw seals and penguins was gorgeous and we had so much fun.
Culture – Cambodians were lovely and we enjoyed the unique dancing and authentically friendly people
Sky – Tibet – we were clearly closer to it than usual and the color and the clouds were spectacular.
Shopping/market – Hong Kong night market, with a very close Beijing as second with its snack street.
Currency/exchange rate – Cambodia…. and they accept US dollars as well as Riel
Nightlife – ok, this one is obvious – BA
New friend – Romi is best entertainer (in BA) and Fabian in Futaleufu – though Fabian isn’t returning our emails 😦 maybe he didn’t feel the same way – really sucks because we were hoping to plan another trip with him).
Transportation – Hong Kong was the most impressive and easiest to use.
Local Drink – we tried many local beers, teas, mate, pisco sours, local wines. I still crave Stella Artois from BA (it just tastes better – can’t explain it, must be the water it is bottled with there)
As you can see, for the most part, Raj and I agree on the answers; we also agree that this trip changed our perception on travel as a whole. We had wanted to travel to places that we might have a harder time travelling to in the future when we have kids. Now that we did this trip, we realize that while some places will surely be easier with kids, no place will be out of reach. Furthermore, we have completely changed perceptions of what a “long flight” or a “long drive” entails.
A huge thanks to all of you who have followed our blog (by the way, at the time of posting, you may be interested in knowing a few more numbers – we had 1645 number of page views and 756 visits in 19 countries!)
Also, a special thanks to my parents for unexpectedly watching our crazy dogs and making sure our house was ok – we still can’t believe how much you were willing to do, and so graciously. With your help, we were able to explore the world without worrying about what was going on at home.
We leave you with a few of our favorite quotes regarding travel:
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
“The world is a book and those that do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
and my favorite: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain