Connecting the Dots: Student life and Southeast Asia

After taking a two-year break from blogging, I'm back! Now it's time to fill in the gaps between Sierra Leone and today:

I returned to Canada from Sierra Leone in March 2011, spend some quality time back home before moving across the country to attend university in Vancouver. It was the fresh start I needed after an amazing and exhausting year of travel. The ocean air and mountains were a welcome change, not to mention an incredible group of people that have become some of my closest friends. What Vancouver lacks in sunshine it certainly makes up of in warm, friendly people. After a great year I needed to scratch my travel itch, so I took off on a whirlwind trip to Southeast Asia with one of my friends from university.

Five weeks flew by as we zigzagged through Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, and Cambodia. In hindsight, four countries in five weeks may have been a little too ambitious, but we managed to hit many of the highlights and still find some hidden gems. Malaysia was definitely my favourite with beautiful beaches, amazing food, and fun cities.

Thailand was a great place to start and get adjusted to the oppressive heat. We temple-hopped and got our first taste of true Thai curry, before taking one of the longest and most horrendous bus trips I have ever experienced into Laos. At the time it seemed the a better option than the fast-boat of death or the 3-day slow boat down the Mekong river, maybe now not so much. Laos was a mix of beautiful colonial buildings, jungle hiking, yummy food, and of course a touristy-excurision into Vang Vieng. The string of ramshackle bars along the river has closed since, somehow this doesn't surprise me.

The view is stunning though! From Laos we flew to Malaysia where we finally got to relax on the beach and take-in some of this incredibly diverse country. We parted ways in Malaysia, as my friend had to return to Canada a week earlier than me. So what did I choose to do with the extra time by myself? Add another country to the list!

I flew to Cambodia for more beaches, history, and temples. After touring the Angkor Wat temple complexes for a few days I feel like I may not need to see another temple for a long time.
Yes, I did the obligatory "get up at 4am to see the sunrise over the temples" thing... and it was worth it.

After five quick weeks I was back in Canada and ready for a rest.

It was back to student life in the fall, and even now it feels like September was just yesterday. Vancouver grew on me over the next 12 months and at the end of two years I feel like I can call it home, making it even harder to leave again. So here I am, packing for my next trip, although this one will be considerably longer... and worthy of another blog post!

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