From Southeast Asia, Back to Reality…Oh Wait, This is REAL!

I love Southeast Asia. I love Cambodia. I love travel. I also love Tiny Toones and elephants. I love the serenity and perspective gained from the hill tribes. I love pad thai. I love the beach. I love tuk tuk rides, BBQs on roof tops, night markets, Khmer scarves, and the orange robes of a monk passing by. Dance parties will never be the same without the circle of breakdancers and rappers I call my friends taking over the floor. I love the pizza parties by the river, the dumplings, and the massages just because you have an hour to kill. I love street food, sand castles, human pyramids, the wind in my hair, waterfalls, sunsets, kayaking, rock climbing, and fruit shakes. I love tacky decor, karaoke, tiger balm, river taxis, spoken word, tattoos, gas station dance offs and Justin Bieber’s song “Boyfriend” (please don’t tell anyone in Canada). I love learning a new language or just making strange sounds to convey my level of approval. I even love the awful, leaking, karaoke blaring, road under construction, chicken bone, hangover of a nightmare bus ride. I love learning, pushing my boundaries, and breaking down barriers. I loved finding myself in travel. (**Dear headquarters, please do not edit my love list. I already kept it short. Thanks.)

I love all these things, but above all, I loved sharing these things with each and every one of you.

I know from the teary goodbyes, extended flights, and promises to return that our trip was a hands-down, resounding success. Undoubtedly, life long friendships and memories formed over our time together on the other side of the world. And I know from the constant flow of messages in my inbox from Tiny Toones that you are already missed. Better yet, I know the list of things I love are now shared and owned by you too.

Saying goodbyes and flying home is not the end, but simply the next step in the journey. I know it sounds cheesy, but this was not just a vacation from life. This is REAL life! This is REALLY happening! This trip will always be a part of your life, your views and your opinions now. There is no “snapping back” to reality, there is just the possibility of your reality being broader and a little more fantastic than before.

Yes, people may not quite understand your new found love and obsession with this faraway land–a world typically provoking fear and wonder in the hearts of our friends and family back home–but that’s what we have each other for!

Thank you for a beautiful summer.

Good luck with wherever life takes you next and remember you always have a couch or at least some floor space to sleep on when you came back.

Amanda and Steve