I’ve been gone for six months. I’ve spent the past three days chilling out in lovely Arequipa (much of the time with a hostel cat named Dumpling) and today I celebrate that little travel anniversary by taking an all day bus to Cusco. Woot! While I sit, listen to podcasts, and wait, you can look back at where I’ve been since late last August.
Hong Kong was a really fun first stop and the perfect place to acclimate to solo travel because it was so easy to get around and I met such cool people almost immediately. Lan Kwai Fong was probably the only drunk backpacker area I actually sort of enjoyed (sorry, Pub Street in Siem Reap and Khao San Road in Bangkok). I ate dim sum at the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant. I visited another country in one day–Macau. The first week of my trip was a success thanks to Hong Kong.
Vietnam was such a beautiful country and home to one of my favorite cities so far, Hoi An. I got a bunch of clothes custom made there. I trekked in Sapa. I spent the night in the middle of Halong Bay. I survived crossing streets in Saigon!
I got to see the famed Angkor Wat but Koh Rong might have been the main highlight in Cambodia for me. I also loved sleepy Kampot, even though it rained the entire time we were there. The food wasn’t great but the people were wonderful.
There are no photos of me in Thailand so playing the part of Mar for the purposes of this post is an appropriately grumpy cat in Bangkok. Thailand didn’t work out for me but I don’t hold it against the country. I think it was just a mix of unfortunate circumstances that tainted my experience. To be fair, I really didn’t like Bangkok, but I was also tired and recovering from a bed bug bite attack. I missed Ann and Lucy, who I’d left in Siem Reap. I got sick in Chiang Mai. All the unpleasantness was worth it, though, because it led me to check for flights to Bali.
I spent a whole month in Bali and loved almost every minute of it. I used chilled out Sanur and the Big Pineapple hostel as a base. Some wacky older Australian ladies backpackernapped me to both a “midget wrestling” match and a fancy pool with a swim up bar. I ferried over to Lombok and checked out the Gili Islands. I loved Ubud so much that I left and went back four days later. I spent a lot of time on the back of a motorbike or at the beach. I bought my favorite pair of baggy pants which I’m wearing as I write this. Bali was great.
I only spent five days in Singapore but I picked a great hostel (pod beds and fast WiFi!), took advantage of a couple of very interesting neighborhood walking tours, and ate foie gras and black truffle flavored dumplings. Plus, I got to revisit the best airport ever.
Between Asia and Latin America, I visited friends and family during an extended LAyover. I got to drink good California wine, eat good California cheese, and take part in an impromptu college reunion. It was December and it was cold. I had forgotten what cold felt like! I had missed sweater weather.
After a rocky start in Mexico City, I discovered amazing San Miguel de Allende where I met fantastic people and had my weirdest Christmas ever: at the rodeo! Then I spent six whole weeks in lovely Puebla where I ate, learned some Spanish, ate, lived with local families, ate, and ate. I managed to squeeze in a few days in Oaxaca before catching a flight to my next destination. Overall, I really loved Mexico and I didn’t even make it to a beach.
I haven’t been in Peru very long but I’ve already done a lot. Lima surprised me by being a big city that I didn’t hate. Between Paracas and Huacachina, my transportation vessels included buses, boats, dune buggies, and sand boards. I enjoyed Arequipa and am looking forward to Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca.
Special thanks to my Kelty Redwing 40 liter backpack, my international phone data plan, and of course, my passport for getting me this far!