25 Apr

Vietnam Itinerary

map_of_vietnamIt’s getting harder and harder to develop itineraries. It’s hard to think of being in Vietnam one year from now when we’ll be in Peru in 5 weeks!

And so our plan is pretty loose. We’ll spend about three weeks here but will have to keep on the move as we plan on seeing the country from the top all the way to the bottom. Apparently there is a train system that runs most of the way…I love traveling by train!! Read More

18 Apr

You’re Crazy…No YOU’RE Crazy…Get Out Of My Head!!

get-out-of-my-headNote to self…never test the psychotic side effects of medication and try hypnosis at the same time.

This week, in an attempt to keep our malaria medication costs down, we have been trying a ‘loading dose’ of Mefloquin to see if we would suffer the psychotic side effects. Side effects include (but are not limited to) bad dreams, anxiety, headaches, suicidal ideation and hallucinations. Fun eh?

One has to wonder that, if both of us are on the medication, how will either of us know if the other is going crazy!? So, of course, all week we’ve been bantering back and forth accusing each other of crazy talk and then assuring each other that, no, we are not crazy. Read More

10 Apr

Bursting At The Seams

Packing ListWe put our packing list together last weekend. We’ve decided on and purchased our backpacks so it was time to decide what to put in them.

We’ve been thinking about the packing list almost since we decided to go on a year long jaunt around the world. As soon as we decided to sell or store everything and put the rest on our backs, we’ve wondered what exactly would be in those packs.

I have checked out the packing lists of every travel blog that I come across (and, believe me, I read a good many!) and have read about the virtues of not packing too much but have also worried that I won’t have enough. The classic adage is ‘pack half what you think you need and twice as much money’. I’m sure this is true but, when trying to decide what to put in that pack, I have a hard time leaving stuff out (and the budget isn’t growing either).

So…here is our packing list. Read More

04 Apr

Laos Itinerary

map_of_laosOf all the countries we’re planning on visiting, I think Laos is the most ‘off the beaten track’. Having only been open to tourism for 20 years, it’s not a huge tourist destination but those that have been seem to fall in love with it, and the people. 

We’ll start by crossing from Northern Thailand into Huay Xai, Laos. Most people don’t stay here more than a couple of hours, but I’ve heard there is some good trekking out of here and a chance to interact with gibbons just a little north, so maybe we’ll hang out for a couple of days before heading east to Luang Prabang by boat.

When I was first researching about traveling in Laos, I read about a ‘slow boat down the Mekong river’ and thought it sounded oh-so-idyllic-and-peaceful. I imagined lounging and chatting with a few other tourists and locals while watching the scenery slowly float by, arriving in Luang Prabang relaxed and rested. Good job I kept reading and researching! The ‘slow boat down the Mekong river’ may be slow but it is anything but peaceful and relaxing – typically it is a long, narrow boat stuffed with as many as 100 or more tourists and all their stuff. It still might be the best way to get there, but it’s best to keep my expectations in check!

Luang Prabang isn’t that big (pop. 26,000) but it is a central trade hub between Laos, Thailand and China and, with it being a UNESCO World Heritage site, there will be plenty to see. This area is also good for trekking (with elephants maybe?), white water rafting and cycling. It might be nice to get on a bike again!

My original plan was to leave Luang Prabang and continue east overland to meet up with the Vietnamese border but I have not found a good route between Luang Prabang and Hanoi. It doesn’t seem that many people do it and those that have tell tales of horrid bus rides and poor infrastructure. So now I’m thinking that we’ll head south to Vientiane and fly from there to Hanoi.

As we head south to Vientiane, we’ll have a chance to see the Plain of Jars. Quite literally a plain, meadow-like area strewn with massive stone jars. Another one of earths mysteries like Stonehenge, or the Moai statues on Easter Island – huge structures carved out of rock and no real explanation.

Vientiane is a larger city and most sites are centrally located so it is a city for walking. We’ll visit the National Museum and the Buddha Park, but mostly it’s just chilling that gets done here – Laos has a distinctive slow pace. The Phu Khao Koay National Park is just outside of Vientiane. There is trekking here with the added draw of seeing elephants, gibbons, asiatic black bears, tigers and leopards.

Laos sounds like an amazing place to visit, relax and enjoy. It might test our travel abilities but, by then, we should be pretty travel savvy and be up for the challenge.