It’s hard to believe that our time in Asia has drawn to a close. 5 months in 9 countries and we’ve only barely scraped the surface of this enormous continent. In many ways, Asia really stretched us beyond our comfort zone. We became comfortable communicating using improvised sign language with people who spoke no English, tried foods we never knew existed, learned how to SCUBA dive, perfected our chopstick skills, witnessed extreme gaps between wealth & poverty, met new friends & reconnected with old ones, rode on elephants, played with tigers & fended off monkeys, learned how to use eastern toilets, climbed the Great Wall of China, visited schools in Korea & Japan, rode a Shinkansen bullet train, explored ancient ruins, learned how to drive motorbikes (on the left side of the road), went to a Muay Thai match, and survived the most terrifying yet beautiful bus ride of our lives.
While we have seen and done a lot, we are already talking about our next trip to Asia. When that will be, who knows? But when we do return it will be with a sense of pure excitement and anticipation. We have truly come to appreciate that the blanket term “Asian” as in “Asian food” that is often used at home is really a very poor descriptor. The diversity of cultures, foods, languages, religions and geography of this continent is simply astounding. This time around, we stuck to the eastern side of the region, but western China, Nepal, Russia, “the ‘stans”, India, Burma, Bangladesh and Indonesia are ranking high on our list of places to visit next time around.
Now we have departed on a new phase of our journey: 6 weeks in Australia and New Zealand. Looking back on our first continent jump, from Europe to Asia, we were both a bit apprehensive and anxious. We were ready for more excitement and the uncertainty that Asia would bring, but we were also nervous about visiting a region of our world that was so foreign to us. On the surface, this continent jump may appear to be an easier adjustment, as we will be returning to “western” customs and the English speaking world; however, it is often said that going back to what you know after being abroad can actually be the greatest culture shock of all.
As a recap of the past 5 months, below are 5 of our favorite blogs from our time in Asia. If you have some time on your hands, you can read all of our posts about Asia by clicking here.
- One Fun Filled Week (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
- What’s Up with Angkor Wat? (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
- Entering SE Asia (Hanoi, Vietnam)
- Taking on Tokyo: Part I (Tokyo, Japan)
- Off the Grid on the Dragon’s Backbone (Dazhai, China)