It’s been a wild first six months of our journey. We’ve taken 6 flights, traveled through 5 countries, explored dozens of cities and towns, and made more friends and memories than I can count. The trip has already been everything I had hoped for and more, but we’re not done yet! We still have a long way to go, but to celebrate our six month mark I wanted to recap my top 5 travel experiences thus far. It was difficult narrowing it down to just 5, but I think these really capture some of the highlights of the trip and what it’s been like for us on the road.
Despite our motorbike accident on Koh Lanta, it still ranks as one of my favorite places so far in our travels. It’s much less developed than some of Thailand’s more famous islands such as Koh Samui or Koh Phangan but to me that makes it all the more appealing. Whether it be hiking in Koh Lanta National Park, swimming at one of the countless beautiful beaches, relaxing in a bungalow, or enjoying the endless amount of delicious food options, there’s something for everyone on Koh Lanta and should be a must visit when in Thailand. We loved it so much we’ll be back to visit in November 🙂
Working at The Flicks Movie House
I had The Flicks saved on Workaway almost a year before we even left on the trip. I always wanted to work at a movie theatre and this was my chance. Luckily Ramon had availability when we planned on being in Phnom Penh and everything fell into place perfectly. It was our first Workaway and really set the bar high for the future gigs we would be working. Not to mention Ramon has 6 cats to hang out with! Is there anything better that that?
The Flicks was also the first time I really started to think about settling down and becoming an expat for a while. It was always a possibility for Breada and I after we were done backpacking but we never had any serious plan in place to do it. Many of the customers that frequented The Flicks were expats working at NGOs or as English teachers and chatting with them about their experiences living abroad really gave us the inspiration to pursue this type of lifestyle.
Motorbiking Across Vietnam
This might be the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Motorbiking 2000+ km (the equivalent of NYC to Miami) on a 110cc semi-automatic motorbike is no joke. Through bustling cities, sleepy rural towns, mountain passes, and everything in between, it was by far the best way to see Vietnam.
What made the trip that much better was all of the amazing people we met along the way, many of them we traveled to multiple places with. There are too many to list in this post, but you all know who you are and made the experience one of the greatest of my life, traveling or not. We can’t wait to visit you all in your own home countries and hope when Breada and I settle down somewhere you’ll come and visit us too!
The Pub With Cold Beer
Located in Phong Nha, Vietnam aka one of the best places in all of Vietnam, this places takes “Farm to Table” to a whole new level. It’s set about 2km down a dirt road that may or may not be flooded depending on the season, but once you get there it’s so worth it. It has a beautiful view, plenty of hammocks to relax in, and of course cold beer.
What makes it truly unique though is the ability to kill your own dinner, a chicken hand picked from their farm. Their mantra is if you’re going to eat meat you should see how the entire process is done and I agree. I’m not gonna lie, killing a chicken was quite traumatizing, but it was also one of the best meals I’ve ever had. If you ever make it to Phong Nha, The Pub With Cold Beer is a must visit, even for just a beer.
Super Typhoon Meranti
One of the reasons we chose Taiwan as our destination after Vietnam was to get away from the rainy season that was setting in across Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, we didn’t do our due diligence and later found out we got to Taiwan at the beginning of their typhoon season. For those wondering, a typhoon is what a hurricane is called in the Pacific Ocean. While in Kenting, Taiwan’s most popular beach town, we experienced Super Typhoon Meranti, which is now in the record books as one of the most powerful typhoons in recorded history. Maximum sustained winds hit 190 mph as it hit the southern coast of Taiwan aka exactly where we were, and made for quite a show. We were also the only guests staying in the hostel at the time, which made it all the more interesting.
Stupidly, we decided to go back to Kaohsiung that night thinking the hurricane had passed. We jumped in a shared van, and within 10 minutes immediately regretted it. The storm kicked back up, you could barely see 5 feet in front of the van, and what you could see consisted of downed trees and power lines strewn across the road. A 2 hour drive ended up taking 3 because of all of the roads that were impassable due to the debris. Luckily we made it, but not without a scare or 3 along the way.
I’ve lived through some crazy hurricanes back home, but nothing compared to this. There’s only been 1 hurricane with winds hitting 190mph in the Atlantic Ocean and it was back in 1980. From now on, anytime a storm is coming I’ll think back to this and say to myself “It’s no Meranti!”.
These are just 5 of the countless life changing experiences we’ve had in just 6 short months. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday I was working my last week at Santarpio’s and packing my bags, but then I think of everything we have accomplished already and it feels like the trip has lasted years. It’s a weird feeling, but I think anyone who has traveled long term gets this feeling at some point. If the 2nd half of the trip is anything like the 1st, then it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
What’s been your favorite experience traveling? Let me know in the comments!