A new adventure begins!

Hi friends,

Mid-April already – time flies! It’s been nearly a year and a half since we returned to Florida. We bought a home, found jobs, and settled into a routine that’s about to change pretty drastically :)

As some of you know (mostly our Miami friends), Abe and I are beginning a new adventure this June. We’re really excited about this new chapter in our lives, which will become a little louder, a little more chaotic, and definitely filled with even more love.

I wanted to share Abe’s final video of our trip around the world, an amazing recap that makes me, well, think of all the stories and the adventures we experienced during our unforgettable year of travels.  We used this video to share our big news with our families back in November… I hope you enjoy it.  Check out the low res below, or see the high res here.

 

And for those of you still having some doubts… It’s a GIRL! :)

 

 

Japan!

Deer friends (you’ll get this pun later, don’t worry),

So this is a little awkward, posting again after such a long break. Especially since Abe finished a new video 4 months ago, and I withheld it from you until now.  I don’t even have a good excuse for not posting it. As classy breaker-uppers say: It’s not you, it’s me.

But here you are, despite my multi-month absence, so thanks for the love. I’m sure you’re curious to see the Abe’s latest masterpiece: our Japan video.  So with no further ado, check it out below, or click here for the high res version. Enjoy!

 

 

 

I can’t hear you, I’ve got a slug in my ear!

In honor of Abe’s latest video (which you’ll need to scroll all the way down for) , I’m taking you all back in time, to our time down under. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Aside from the disappointingly disgusting vegemite (really though.. wtf?), Australia was stunning. We spent weeks wine tasting in Margaret River and Adelaide, sneaking up on roos and koalas in Kangaroo Island, beaching and walking around in Sydney, and finally scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns.

Wine tasting in Margaret River
Wine tasting in Margaret River

It was nearly perfect, really. Except for when something fishy happened to Abe’s ear during one of our scuba dives. And it may or may not have been a slug.

Here’s how the story goes (I’ll try to keep it short, in the interest of my Saturday night plans). After one of our breathtaking scuba dives, Abe got a bad ear ache. A local Cairns doctor diagnosed the issue as an ear infection and gave him antibiotics. Which normally should have cured the issue.

Koalas in Kangaroo Island
Koalas in Kangaroo Island

But by the time we got to New Zealand, the pain had gotten worse. Abe made an emergency doctor’s appointment through our local airbnb host, and the M.D. seemed preoccupied but wouldn’t give Abe any information… instead, that sneaky woman just handed Abe a sealed letter to give to a specialist. Obviously we opened the letter (who wouldn’t?) and it turns out she suspected there may be a slug (!!!!!!!!!) inside his ear.

So for 2 days, we squirmed wondering whether there was an eerie (hah!) flesh-eating bug in Abe’s ear. Turns out though, the doctor was an idiot: it was ‘just’ a very bad infection. We did get pretty scared, but jumping out of a plane put that fear into perspective. We’re both ok, obviously.

Anyways, I can’t possibly tell you all of our Australia and New Zealand stories in one post, so I’ll just let the star of the show speak for itself. Hope you enjoy Abe’s latest masterpiece below (or see the high res here):

 

Mesmerizing Myanmar

Dear friends,

We’ve been back for months now, and life is basically back to normal. Abe and I are back in the work routine, and we’ve just bought a house (yay!!) which we’ll hopefully move into at the end of June.

I’m excited to share Abe’s latest video. It’s focused on our time in Myanmar, which I wrote about a few months ago. It’s weird for me to see the footage many months after it all happened, and to think that only 5 months ago we were still traveling full-time. I absolutely love seeing these new movies and remembering the excitement, the beauty, and all the funny stories… What an adventure it was.

Well, I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did. And I’m not saying this just because he’s my husband, but Abe really is very talented :) See it below, or click here to view the high res version.

Our Time in Thailand – a video

By the time Abe and I arrived in Thailand last September, I was already pretty far behind with my blog upkeep. You can tell, because my blog posts started including pictures from several different countries in my desperate attempts to catch up.

As a result, you didn’t get to hear about our awesome Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai, our kayaking adventures in Koh Samui, our volunteering with elephants or the sketchy ping pong show invitations in Bangkok. Luckily, Abe documented it all, and he’s just finished his latest video masterpiece.

So, with no further ado, here is a peek into our 3 weeks in Thailand. Check it out below (or see the high res version here):

Chaotic India – A trip down memory lane

We returned to the US in November, our world travels officially over. And, since some of you have asked: Yes,  it’s been a weird transition. Abe is already back at work, and I’m about to be. It’ll be strange going back to a working life routine after a year of being utterly, completely free. But don’t feel too bad for us: we have exciting adventures coming up, starting with buying our first home!

Taking 2015 off to travel was probably the best decision Abe and I have made. We discovered so much… And Abe filmed it all!  We skied the St.Moritz mountains, learned to surf in Costa Rica, wined and dined in Argentina, cruised among penguins in Patagonia, got a tan in Rio de Janeiro,  flew a hot air balloon in Turkey, boated through an ice lagoon in Iceland, danced the night away in Mykonos, ate apfel shtrudels in Vienna, cruised the Baltic with Abe’s parents, nearly fell off the cliffs of Moher in Ireland, and had hundreds of other adventures.

But there’s plenty missing from that list of course. So (drum roll please), allow me to present to you Abe’s newest masterpiece: our Indian adventures! Check our our video below, or see the high res here. The dashing Abe look-alike is his brother Simon, who joined us for 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Our Myanmar Trek: A Pain in the Butt

It’s been a long time since I told you about our one-legged Indian hero, and so much has happened since then. We spent 2 weeks in Thailand, 10 days in Myanmar, 3 weeks in Australia, 10 days in New Zealand, and we’ve been in Japan for a week. No big deal.

I’m ashamed for failing to update this blog, but please don’t judge me for it… I get lazy. Let he who has never binged on Netflix for 5 hours cast the first stone.

Now that that’s settled, here are some of our highlights:

Chang Mai, Thailand
Volunteering with elephants in Chang Mai

1) We volunteered with elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We waded through muddy rivers with them, fed them countless watermelons and bananas, bathed them with massive buckets of water, and then rafted down a river. It was absolutely amazing. I actually almost faceplanted in the mud once, but an elephant saved me. True story.

Hiking in Myanmar
Hiking in Myanmar

2) Myanmar was quite the adventure. We hiked through the jungle for 2 days, with an interesting layover. We slept spent the night in a Pa’O tribe member’s home, with no running water, a Buddha shrine that shone its heavenly bright LED lights on us all night, 6 cows, 1 pig, and a half-blind cat. I also encountered the world’s most terrifying bathroom, toilet, spider and mosquito-filled hole in the ground. Plus, strangers sniffed my face and we had the most boring guide of all time. More on some of this later.

Skydiving in Lake Taupo
Skydiving in Lake Taupo

3) We watched Maori people perform the Haka in New Zealand, went tubing in an incredible glowworm-filled cave, and I went skydiving over lake Taupo.

Tubing in New Zealand.. We're the smart-looking ones in the back
Tubing in New Zealand.. We’re the smart-looking ones in the back

Did I forget Australia? Of course not. It’s just that 3 weeks deserve more than a bullet point. We had an amazing time there: We spent our days wine tasting in Margaret River and Barossa Valley, chilling with kangaroos and koalas, beaching in Bondi beach in Sydney and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. What could go wrong?

For some reason, Abe wouldn't let me kidnap that baby koala
For some reason, Abe wouldn’t let me kidnap that baby koala

Well, lots could go wrong. Thank you “friends” (and mom) who posted crap like this before my trip and sent me links about Australia’s killer spiders and snakes. I was constantly scanning for redback spiders, at least until I drank enough wine to temporarily forget them. I hope you’re pleased with yourselves.

Anyways, let’s scuttle over to the star of today’s post. And that’s our trek in Myanmar. I’ll break it down because there’s just too much to say.

Abe watches the sunset from the top of a stupa in Bagan, Myanmar
Abe watches the sunset from the top of a stupa in Bagan, Myanmar

The Trek

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m pretty proud of myself. I went trekking, and that’s quite a feat for me. Though I have a completely unexplainable, unrealistic ambition of hiking the Appalachian trail (go figure… watching ‘Wild‘ probably didn’t help), I actually dislike roughing it for more than a day. I may look like a badass in some blogging pictures, but you ought to know that the internet can be misleading. I’m ok with a tough hike, so long as there’s a promise of wine and a bubble bath at the end. A massage would be nice too.

Starting a rainy trek with high hopes
Starting a rainy trek with high hopes

I digress. We started trekking. I was naively optimistic, despite the fact that it started pouring as soon as we started our first 7-hour hike. I figured things couldn’t get much worse. The rain wouldn’t get me down. But they did, and it did.

The insistent rain got to me. My feet were sloshing in my shoes. Prickly plants pierced my socks and pants. But then, worst of all, I had a flashback to my Brazilian misadventure. As I struggled to follow our guides, I was alarmed to see a swarm of bees under a nearby bush.

“There’s bees,” I told the guides.

“What?”

“Bees.”

“What?” (obviously, there was a language barrier).

“Bzzzzzz,” I buzzed, flailing my arms stupidly. “Bees.”

“Ok! Walk, you come. Come. Come. Come.”

I trusted them. I figured they knew best. What an idiot. I should have known.  The bastard bees stung me in the butt. That’s right, straight in the ass. And somehow, even with me clutching my butt and howling like a nutjob, the guides looked surprised and asked, “What happen? Let us see.”

No way, bros. No way. You’ve gotten me stung in the butt. You’ve done enough. You don’t get to admire your treacherous work.

A boy sits near a Paho village
A boy sits near a Pa’O village

The universe had had its laugh. And it could have stopped there. But no, it wasn’t done. It watched me as I persevered bravely (heroically, you might say), hiking through muddy paths, one hand shielding my face from the rain and another comforting my aching butt. And then, it snatched away the rest of my dignity.

Within 5 minutes of my painful and embarrassing bee sting, one of my feet got stuck in the mud. And then, the other did too. It was horrible and pathetic: I faceplanted in slow motion. First one knee went down, then the other. Then my shoulder. Then my elbow. (“No, please, not the face, please not the face…” It was a like a gangster movie, with me silently and pointlessly begging the universe to spare me). And then, my face. Straight into the mud.

I’d held back tears until then. I was fine, really, until Abe comforted me (“No paso nada. Un susto, nada mas”). And you know how it is: it’s always tenderness that kills you.

The Overnight Stay

Any decent human being would agree that I’d had enough for a day. But as you might have realized by now, the universe didn’t give a shit.

Our sleeping situation in the Paho village
Our sleeping situation in the Pa’O village. Don’t let Abe’s smile fool you – it was just for the camera.

We arrived at our overnight stay in a Pa’O village, somewhere in the jungle between Kalaw and Inle. And that’s when we realized we’d have no running water, no beds, and no toilets.

Our shower in the Paho village
Our shower in the Pa’O village

Now, I want to clarify something. This year has really changed my toilet standards. I never thought I’d say this, but I would have been ok with a ‘normal’ hole in the ground. I really would have. What I couldn’t deal with was a spider- and mosquito-infested hole, in an area where there is both dengue and malaria. It was the ‘toilet’ of anyone’s nightmares.

I suppose I was lucky though. My food poisoning only started the day after we returned from our trek, so at least I was spared from being sick in that monstrosity.

Don’t worry though, my misadventures had a happy ending. The following day was sunny and we hiked through countless beautiful fields. And, best of all: I got to recover in one of the most unique and beautiful places: Inle Lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A home and it’s reflection along Inle Lake.

 

Happy arriving in Inle Lake after our eventful trek
Happily arriving in Inle Lake after our eventful trek

 

 

A European Flashback

This morning we’re leaving New Zealand and flying to Japan, the last country of our traveling year. Three more exciting weeks to go, and then we’re heading home!

Luckily, we’ll have Abe’s amazing videos to remember all our adventures vividly. In fact, check out his latest video montage, an awesome flashback to some of our travels across Europe (or can see the high res version here):

An Icelandic Video

We fell in love with Iceland a few months ago (check out my blog post if you missed it). It’s truly an amazing place, and I highly recommend a visit.

Abe made a beautiful video of our time there, which you can check out below (or stream the high res version here). There’s quite a bit of kissing, but I refuse to apologize for it. I couldn’t help myself: I had to fight off the cold somehow, and the sledding dogs weren’t always around for a snuggle. Can you spot the seal swimming around the glacier lagoon at the end?