It’s been an interesting winter here at Farmhouse by the Falls. Cold, snowy, with little progress on some of the home improvement projects that were on the docket. And, obviously, blogging has been as much on the back burner as my tea kettle.
So what has Ms. D been up to? Planning a three-week jaunt to Southeast Asia!
Once the Christmas holidays were over and trips back and forth to New Jersey were behind me, I settled in to do the research necessary to plan the trip. It is really quite astonishing how much information there is available online, and how all-consuming it can become to read reviews, watch YouTube videos, find new bloggers and work out an itinerary that has the right mix of adventure and comfort, luxe and budget, urban and rural, culture and beach chill, on the go and off the grid.
I’ve wanted to make this trip for a decade. My brother Aubrey lives and works in Hong Kong and the Philippines and has been patiently waiting for one of my travel promises to become reality. Money was always tight, my ex never expressed any interest in the trip, and my teaching schedule meant arriving during the monsoon season. Now that I am retired and with Mr. D (not my “I’d rather sit in the local bar” ex), travel is a priority. What a difference it makes to have a partner who craves new experiences as much as I do!
I bought our tickets to Hong Kong last September, but the rest of the itinerary was left open. We assumed that we would spend time in Palawan with Aubrey, but the typhoon trashed the island airport, and he suggested that we find other options. That opened up so many possibilities that it was hard to choose, but we settled on Thailand and Cambodia. I spent several weeks learning everything I could about what to do in Thailand, down to choosing places to stay, but I wasn’t quite ready to click “Reserve”. Troubling reports about political unrest became more frequent, and by late January we decided to go to Vietnam instead.
This shift in plans created a few interesting wrinkles. First, Thailand is HOT. So is Cambodia, which we still planned to visit. Northern Vietnam, at least in March, is not. Given that we had already decided to travel with only carryon backpacks restricted to roughly 15 pounds, this meant a slightly different mix of clothes. Which led to the obsessive search for just the right things to take, perusing the advice of savvy backpackers and travellers around the Interwebs. Second, this meant a whole new search for accommodations, transportation options, tours, etc.
Over the next few days before we leave, I’ll share with you all of the wisdom I’ve accumulated, and, with some luck, I will blog our trip (or at least Instagram it) as we go, sharing not just our adventures, but the fabulous blogs and Vlogs I’ve discovered. I already feel like I have a whole new set of best friends as I follow these intrepid travelers in their wanderings!