What were you doing 12 months ago today?

The moment we set foot in Asia for the first time, we fell inlove with the place, and it’s never left us. The assaults on every sensory level, the amazing, the astounding, the surprising, and then the other bits too!..

We think about it all the time; Asia comes up in so much of our conversation and our ‘daily life’, and the memories we made whilst travelling there often offer us laughter and smiles, perspecive and insight. Fantastic, really…

So many stories, so many memories; life experiences well beyond our imagination, and some experiences we are still trying to get our head around, almost a year later…

It’s February 20th today… “What were we doing one year ago today?” For the past few weeks, and for the next 11 days or so, I’ve been trying to think back to what we were doing this time 12 months ago to the day. We spent 6 weeks travelling in S.E. Asia, and in that short time we did so much, we look back on that time as one of the best in our lives to date.
I like to remind myself, and us, of those moments in which we loved, laughed, smiled, sympathised, cried, learned, shared, gave to others, showed bravery, forgave, understood, made friends, and travelled… (and then also, some of those moments we didn’t love so much…)

So, where were we 12 months ago? Let’s go for a little walk down memory lane…

We were in Cambodia. We’d been to Thailand and Laos, and already spent around 10 -12 days in Cambodia before this date (We’d been in Asia for over a month by now). And then, at the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, just before we were about to leave and take a 4 hour bus journey to Kampot, I got suddenly sick. Not just with some little travel bug, but a big, violent one. I was severely ill, suddenly and violently. Within a few hours I’d gone from being fine to vomiting non-stop, unable to move at all without being sick. I was unable to move, unable to stomach any sort of water or fluid, and was unbelievably weak. Had I been home in Australia, I would’ve gone to hospital immediately, but in Cambodia… well, going to hospital was my last resort… and I was seriously considering it…

It was 48 hours before we could make the journey to Kampot; I needed to get away from that potent smell of polluted air, fermenting food and stale urine that was overbearing.
Weak and sick, I made it with Jake to little Kampot and then we fell inlove. With the town, the people, the green peppercorns, and a trashy Cambodian karaoke pop song (which we STILL sing all the time!)
We made the most of Kampot and spent a while there pottering around, reminiscing and hanging about, sweaty and barefooted in the scorching heat. Still so sick, my favourite thing was Oishi Iced Tea, and we spent our next few days wondering about and drinking bottle after bottle that $0.70c liquid gold.

Slowly, I got a bit better, and we continued on with the last 11 days of our Cambodian adventure together. Even sick, we managed to have so much fun and experience all that we possibly could. We ate Kep crab and carried (tried to) 50+kg baskets of salt. We met new people, shared stories and laugher, shared tears and trashy karaoke songs. Ate amazing food, swam in crystal clear ocean, drank from young coconuts, and danced around like travel-high fools.

And though I was so sick, I got through it. Largely becuase of Jake… He looked after me and made sure I was okay. He saw me at my absolute worst and loved me for it. He gave me strength, protected me, and forgave me for being such high-maintenance for those last 11 days… We had the best time together, and I realised how important he was to me, and I to him.
Without my travel, and life partner, I wonder how I actually would’ve been able to manage and survive those first 48 hours.
Travel made us strong when I was so weak. It brought us closer together in the oddest of ways, and we are so much better because of it.

Oh. And becuase of Oishi Iced Tea. Let’s not forget that hero drink…

So, over the next 11 days, I’ll be more aware of ‘where were we 12 months ago?’, and where we are today… We are planning our 7 month journey back to Asia, and I know we’ll be just as strong, and the best of friends throughout. (For the most part)

…And I seriously, absolutely, can not wait for everything it throws our way… except travel bugs. They can stay far far away.

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How many more days of work?

It’s now February, which means there is LESS than 5 months until we depart!

On Wednesday just passed (which was the 30th of January), I had a realisation that, “Holy crap! In exactly 5 months from now, we will be on that plane to Malaysia!” This of course then sparked the idea of killing some time by calculating how many days, weeks, and shifts left at my job there are!

Here are the stats I scribbled down:

5 months until we leave
150 days
44 more shifts in this place
65 more shifts at the other place I work
41 days off work to plan for our trip
150 days in which I should be not making excuses as to why I can not go to gym…

So, the count down has really started, and now it feels very real.

So. We are starting a list. A list of things we need to prepare for and do, before our big adventure. If you have anything to add, feel free to! This will be a work in progress.

Important Stuff:
– Open a bank acount and commit to a set amount to deposit each week
– Start a budget
– Save like never before
– Em: finish your studies before June!
– Jake: finish your thesis before April!

Travel Stuff:
– Travel Insurance
– Get more passport photos taken for Visas, and to have on hand
– Organise Visas, apply for visas, pay for visas, get visas
– Book the remaining flight paths
– Read like crazy every travel book, forum, guide, article etc… No, Jake, that does not include Manga!
– Photocopy doccuments for family members and each other
– Give flight itinerary to family members
– Read through guide books we purchased, and start planning the routes we want for each country
– Start planning and researching and finding out about the places we want to go to in each country.
– Start making a general time line
– Make a budget for when we are over seas
– Look at the travel gear we have, and then work out what travel gear we still need.
– Jake needs new travel shoes. And should probably stock up on thongs/flip-flops-jandals (whatever you call them) for the duration of the trip… size 16/ EU 51 feet are hard to accomodate for when buying shoes in Asia…
– Adaptor Plugs
– Finalise a Packing list and Pack backpacks

Medical Stuff:
– Dentist Checkups
– Orthodontist Checkup for Em
– Travel Doctor Appointment (February)
– Any outstanding jabs to be had, must be endured
– Prepare and organise all medication for travel, along with doctors letters etc. Photocopy this stuff too.
– ‘Build’ up a first aid kit
– Em – begin vetetarian diet one month before departure, book appointment with dietition.

House Stuff:
– Organise Jake’s car
– Sort through our belongings and try to get rid of the stuff that is clogging up so much of our space
– Store our good stuff – thanks mum!
– Try and sell the useless stuff – what we don’t actually need
– Give to the salvo’s the stuff we don’t want to keep and are too lazy to sell… and of course, because we are generous people.
– Finalise and cease renting

Other Stuff:
– Redirect Mail
– Mobile phones – whats happening with them?
– Call Plan International – organise a visit to Em’s sponsor child in India
– Buy AU netbook plug
– Quit our jobs
– Keep going to gym

…Well, with less than 5 months to go, and many things on that list which can’t be done until the last moment… is there anything else we can add?