Besides being a nature lover’s paradise, Bukit Lawang is the most magical little town buried deep into the Sumatran jungle. Getting to Bukit Lawang is not easy, especially if you are prone to motion sickness (LIKE ME), but it is incredibly worth it you want to see orangutans in their natural habitat. You can only see orangutans in SEAsia in 2 different places: Borneo & Sumatra. After much research, we decided on Sumatra, the less popular choice, and for that we were rewarded with a more authentic experience.
3 months, 23 cities, and 29 hotels. What a whirlwind. A crazy, beautiful whirlwind. As I sit here taking it all in and enjoying the Florida sunshine with my pup back on my lap, I can’t help but get lost in my memories. Sean and I have gotten many questions specifically around our travel route and where we stayed in Southeast Asia. The biggest question we’ve gotten is: “Is it really that cheap?” and the answer is a lot of YES and a bit of NO. It depends on what you want to do, how safe you want to feel while doing it, and where you want to stay. I will dive into each country individually in future posts, but I figured I would start my virtual diary (in essence) explaining our travel route in hopes that it will inspire you to get out there, and step outside of your comfort zone! Although I had a preconceived notion of our timeline and cities we wanted to visit, we generally flew by the seat of our pants. The only accommodations we pre-booked were the flights into Singapore and our hotel upon arrival. This was the BEST decision we could have made, as our “plan” uncontrollably and drastically changed 5 days into our trip.
Hello January 5, 2017! I never would have thought you’d arrive so quickly. It feels like just yesterday I was welcoming 2016, and looking forward to so much. Without a doubt, 2016 was the best year of my entire life.
As you will see in my prior posts, reflection has always played a huge part of my life. I feel the most gratitude when I slow down and take a second (multiple seconds) to realize how much I have to be thankful for, and how much I have accomplished. I did a lot this year: I married my best friend, I took a leap of faith, I traveled throughout Southeast Asia and Central America, I met wonderful people who taught me so much, and I fell in love with my husband over and over again. I also became more emotionally in touch with myself, and learned so much about WHO I am, and what I want to do with my life. I will no longer do anything I do not feel passionate about, and I will ONLY spend my time & energy fueling my creative passions, and making my dreams a reality. I’ve learned life is way too short to be doing anything that doesn’t make you smile from ear to ear, or nearly pee yourself from laughing. I’ve also learned to see a different side of love and happiness, and it does not include anything our Western bubble provides. It includes being mind- blowingly happy all the time, so happy no matter the situation, and so happy even when you have nothing. This is a life-altering experience to witness, and it puts so much into perspective. It is my mission to live my life the way I want to live it, and I have truly encompassed my favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi
As far as New Years resolutions, I have always seemed to come up with a list in year’s past. This year I have not done that, and this year, I do not intend to. Why do you ask? Well, because I feel different. I feel like a changed person. I have a clear vision of what I want to do and how I will do it. For the first time, I don’t need a list to remind me. It is engrained in my soul.
These last 365 days have been so wonderful to me. Each and every month has taught me something, and I am so incredibly thankful! It is no secret that the best day of 2016 was the day I vowed to stand by my husband’s side for eternity. April 2, 2016, is a day that changed my life forever, a day that I would do over and over again alongside my family and friends.
I have decided to do something different this year. Sean and I traveled A LOT. We learned so much, and there are so many life lessons that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Rather than go through each month, and state what I loved about it, I am going to post one of our favorite photos (Gosh, that will be hard) from each country we visited and what impacted us the most, or taught us to think outside of the box.
The time has FINALLY come, and we could’t be more excited!! Sean and I have decided to, once again, pack up our stuff, put it in storage, and FOLLOW OUR DREAMS. This time our dreams are taking us across the Pacific to beautiful South East Asia!!! We will be traveling for four months, and upon our arrival back to the states, we will be relocating back to our hometown of Sunny South Florida!!!
We are so excited for a number of reasons:
1) We are following our hearts!!
2) We are exploring the world!!
3) We are reuniting with the best family and friends a young couple could ask for!!
Why are we leaving San Diego you ask?! It was a very tough decision, and something we struggled with for a long time. The truth is, we ABSOLUTELY LOVE San Diego. Let me put it to you this way, if San Diego was a city in Florida we would live there in a heart beat! However, it is not, and with that sad realization, comes the fact that we are thousands of miles away from our family, friends, and people we love most. This leaves a constant un-fillable hole in our hearts. San Diego, was however, the BEST decision Sean and I could have ever made for our relationship! We had 2 beautiful years in the height of our relationship as a newly engaged couple transitioning to newlyweds. We built a great foundation, and I am eternally grateful for that.
During our time abroad, we plan to visit:
SINGAPORE, VIETNAM, THAILAND, INDONESIA, PHILIPPINES, and HONG KONG!!! As of now, we do not have return flights scheduled, or a set itinerary, so all we can count on is strong wifi connection, each other, and our backpacks!! Don’t you worry though, you guys know I am a HUGE planner, and have a pretty good map of where we will be headed, in true Christina fashion.
I will try to post as much as I can while I am there, so you can follow our journey across one of the most gorgeous areas of the world.
See you on the other side.