1. One sometimes carries a lot of useless baggage when traveling. I have been fortunate to use everything I carry. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the most inexpensive guest house I have ever stayed at in Asia, I met a woman from Ghana who was visiting for one or two weeks and she brought two ceramic dinner plates in her suitcase. I wondered when she might use them and how often. Why didn’t she bring plastic plates?
2. The worst overnight bus I traveled on was in Vietnam from Hanoi to Hue. The constant bumps and turns on the road made it feel like a terrible roller coaster for 12+ hours, multiplied with the odd lying down arrangement and the toilet with the broken light made it the worst public transit experience.
3. I have slept and showered in many undesirable places with large bugs, very cold water, water held in buckets and rubber trash bins, or no running water, but the worst, most vile experience was seeing an open condom wrapper on the floor in the common shower. The hostel, “friendly’s” in Manilla, just might have been too friendly.
4. My favorite sunset and sunrise were standing on top of a temple in Bagan, Myanmar. Exquisite to see the early dawn light with hot air balloons and 3000+ temples.
5. Riding an elephant in Thailand has been one of the coolest experiences in life.
6. The Himalayan mountains are true majestic mountains, not accessible by cars. To reach Mt. everest base camp, you walk yourself in and out for 14 days. I am so happy to have the opportunity to have witnessed it.
7. A cash only economy in Burma/Myanmar is still indescribable to me.
8. I never thought a massage class and a meditation course would be so challenging.
9. My favorite meal was eggplant salad in Inle Lake, Myanmar or shan sticky noodles in Yangon, Myanmar.
10. Being in the right time and the right place, random occurrence, seeing all employees in choreographed routines dancing in the supermarket in Puerta Princessa, Philippines was awesome.
All the 12 countries I have traveled to in the last 6 months have been amazing. I loved experiencing each culture and learning their history. One might argue HK and Macau are Chinese but I count it because it requires a stamp in your passport and waiting on a line through customs. (Nepal, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia). If I had more time, I would like to revisit Cambodia and spend another week traveling the countryside. I only will have enough time to see one-two islands in Indonesia and there are so many left to explore. I left a piece of my heart in Thailand and will return one day.