Where to from here?

October 31, 2012 | Travel | 17 Comments
Enroute to Milford

It’s been a crazy last few months.

Having spent half a year falling even more in love with Thailand, and a couple of weeks struggling to reacclimatise in Australia, I headed to Europe and the US for the summer.

Compared to the relaxed pace of South East Asia, things happened quickly.  I spent a month catching up with friends around western Europe before boarding a flight to Las Vegas — and yes, I even remembered to sort out my visum USA (US travel visa) before I left.  Five weeks, two road trips and a couple of conferences later, I flew back to Frankfurt.

And things just got crazier from there.

I was tired from constant travel and should have stopped for a rest.  Instead, Lauren and I grabbed our passes and sped east, visiting ten countries in the time it usually takes us to see one.  It was wonderful, but by the end we were exhausted.  Spending the next several weeks moving slowly through Turkey was just what the doctor ordered, although we couldn’t help but notice that our bank accounts seemed to have sprung a leak.

If the cost wasn’t sending us a message, the increasingly chilly mornings were.  It was time to head south for the winter.

So where to from here?

In completely unsurprisingly news, South East Asia features heavily.

After a week in Bali recovering from jetlag, hanging out with family and dumping sambal on everything in sight, we returned to Cambodia.  Phnom Penh was the chaotic, dirty, sticky, wonderful re-immersion I had hoped it would be.

And then we headed to the beach.  As I type, I’m looking at … this.

Otres beach

Nothing is happening in a hurry, including writing this post.

If we ever manage to leave Otres beach we’ll head out to the islands and further along the coast.  Kampot and Kep should be worth a visit.  Koh Rong is supposed to bear a fairly close resemblance to paradise.  At the tail end of the rainy season, visitor numbers are low and it’s mostly warm and sunny.  Both of these things make me happy.

Eventually forced onwards by expiring visas, we’ll cross the border into Thailand.  We’re returning to Chiang Mai for Yee Peng, the beautiful lantern festival that I’ve somehow managed to miss for the last two years.

For once, though, we don’t intend to get stuck in Thailand for months.  In December we’re off to Vietnam, returning to the place that started my love affair with South East Asia four years ago.  I can’t wait to shovel bowls of steaming phở into my mouth every day.  To squat on a tiny plastic chair on the sidewalk and drink cups of bia hơi.  To watch Lauren attempt to cross the road in Saigon by herself.

Dave on scooter

Remember how we rode a scooter round northern Thailand with Stuart for two weeks earlier this year?  We’ll be doing the same thing again in Vietnam, the three of us taking an undetermined route south through the villages and rivers of the Mekong Delta.  I’m bouncing up and down with excitement just thinking about it.  Much like Lauren will be on the back of the motorbike, I’d expect…

With a longing backward glance, we’ll take a flight to Australia in the middle of the month.  A road trip down the east coast beckons, and if we can get things organised, through Tasmania as well.  Other than that, Lauren gets to *cough* meet the parents and endure enjoy a family Christmas that features BBQs and backyard cricket rather than roast turkey and snow.

And then I’m going home.

Cape Reinga

For two glorious months, Lauren, Dustin and I will be driving from one end of New Zealand to the other.  From the lighthouse at Cape Reinga to the fishing boats off Stewart Island and a hell of a lot in between, I’m going to show those two the best bits of my homeland.  It’s going to be an epic experience, and I’m surprised at just how much I’m looking forward to it.  It has been a long time since I took a Kiwi road trip, and never on this kind of scale.

Expect many superlatives.

Summer will be coming to an end in New Zealand by mid-March, so – shockingly – that’s when we’ll leave.  Even more shockingly, we’ll probably be Asia-bound once more.  I’ve talked about going to Burma/Myanmar for years, and all going well we’ll be flying into Yangon and setting off around this beautiful, challenging country for a few weeks.

After that, who knows.  Perhaps more time in SE Asia.  Maybe back to Europe, or Canada.  Either way we’ll be in Portland for the third annual WDS conference in July, but that’s as much of a plan as we have right now.

Even though there will be some hectic bits, I’m hoping the next six months will have a better mix of relaxation and hard-core travel than the last few – but knowing us, they probably won’t.  One day, I promise myself.  One day…


Are you going to be in SE Asia, Australia or New Zealand at the same time we are?  Let’s go for a beer.



  1. Reply


    October 31, 2012

    I am also heading to the Yee Peng festival after missing it last year! Perhaps we can meet up for a drink and chat. I'll only be in town a couple days but really looking forward to it and hoping to meet up with a few travelers I missed out on last time I was there.

    Your plans sound amazing! New Zealand and even motorbiking in Vietnam...ahh I guess I am a sucker for road trips. Can't wait to read more...and find out how Lauren fared on those Siagon streets:)

    • Reply


      November 1, 2012

      Yup, see you then! And yeah, there's just something special about road trips anywhere in the world I reckon - can never get enough!

  2. Reply

    Lynne OHalloran

    October 31, 2012

    Try and get to Tassie if you can. It's my home state and while I haven't lived there in years I always love to go back ... even though those trips include arduous family catch ups!

    I'll be back in Thailand muay thai training again from around mid feb. If the budget allows I hope to be there for a few months before I hit reality and head back to Oz and start job hunting. OMG!!

    I hope our paths cross at some point ... oh and I hope lauren survives xmas

    • Reply


      November 1, 2012

      Yeah, we're really hoping to - if the ferry prices become a little more reasonable between now and then, it'll definitely happen. I loved it when I spend around 10 days there a couple of years ago...

  3. Reply

    James Clark

    October 31, 2012

    Phew, I'm tired out just reading! There's nothing like an Aussie Xmas and I'm sure Lauren will love it (drop bears included).

    • Reply


      November 1, 2012

      Yeah I think we'll need a three month nap by the time we finish up in Burma... :P

  4. Reply

    John Bardos - JetSetCitizen

    November 1, 2012

    Hey Dave,

    We'll be back in Chiang Mai in about a week as well. Hope to see you soon!

  5. Reply


    November 1, 2012

    Wow, I'm really excited/jealous about your plans- particularly the New Zealand road trip! If only I weren't so broke...

    • Reply


      November 1, 2012

      Yeah the NZ and Burma parts are what I'm particularly excited about!

  6. Reply

    Hey mate, I'll almost certainly be in Chiang Mai around Loi Krathong. Would be cool to have a beer, though it sounds like you're going to be busy!

    • Reply


      November 1, 2012

      Ahh I'm sure I can find time for a beer somewhere along the line, mate - let's make it happen :)

  7. Reply


    November 1, 2012

    Exciting plans. My boyfriend and I are kicking off our travels in New Zealand in March so maybe we'll bump into each other. I'm so excited about finally getting to NZ!

  8. Reply


    November 2, 2012

    Dont forget to stop in the Naki, catch for coffee

  9. Reply

    Caz Makepeace

    November 3, 2012

    Sounds dreadful! Passing through Sydney at all?

    I'm putting that Cambodian Beach on my bucket list. Stunning

  10. Reply


    November 4, 2012

    Where was the first photo taken? Was it in Thailand? The place is really awesome and every nature lover should visit it. :)

    • Reply


      November 5, 2012

      Nope, it was actually on the way to Milford Sound, on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand! Don't disagree about the beauty of Thailand, mind you... ;-)

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