My travels: Asia and the deep Pacific

This is the continuing story of my travel history that started with North America and Europe.

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flying over China

flying over China

Asia – the apple of my eye

Our flight to Bangkok from Vancouver in 2004 was delayed so long that we got a bonus stop in Beijing. We experienced the first snowstorm of the season, dressed in every piece of summer clothing we had and set out for Tiananmen Square in a rickety cab with bald tires.

Tiananmen Square in the snow

Tiananmen Square, Beijing during the first snow of the year (Credit: J.H.)

In Thailand, I lived history again by being in Phi Phi and Krabi the day of the tsunami. This experience prompted me to quit my job to volunteer in Thailand.

beach umbrellas, Thailand

looking up at beach umbrellas, Phuket, Thailand

Asia-Pacific Adventures

11 months later I was on a plane with my mom. Getting a flu shot in Singapore was a highlight because it’s always nice to visit medical facilities in other countries when it isn’t an emergency.

Our next stop was New Zealand and I am still thankful for the friendly immigration guy who allowed us to stay in the country. (I arrived in NZ without an exit ticket but I had one leaving our next leg in Australia. This was what saved us.)

penguin at a rescue facility in New Zealand

holding a penguin at a rescue facility, Napier, NZ (Credit: ?)

Two weeks later, we were on a plane to Australia. The big discovery at my friend’s dairy farm was my mom’s secret milking talents whereas I found the bovines frightful. A couple of weeks later, I cried myself home from the airport after dropping mom off and I was soon on my way to Thailand again.

Volunteers for Peace & Australia again

During my three months in a village in Isan, I taught English, gained confidence with cooking (and finally saying Yes! to domesticity), had intense conversations with fellow volunteers about the ethics of international volunteerism, and achieved my dream.

standing in a dry rice field

learning to cut rice near Don Mon, Thailand (Credit: ?) We were told to cover our skin to protect against the sharp rice hulls.

I left six months earlier than planned and went back to Australia for three months. Thankfully I survived Cyclone Larry while in Cairns so that I could finally learn that pineapples do not grow on trees. I wasn’t finished with Thailand yet, returning to explore Bangkok, one of my favorite cities, by myself.

A little taste of Canada

I’d always wanted to surprise my family by calling from a random airport to announce my impending arrival. However, “impending” was relative as my surprise flight was delayed six hours and then the plane took off and promptly returned due to mechanical issues. I finally returned to Canada and lasted about a day before it was time to explore some of my home country.

Trips to Toronto, Winnipeg (hurrah for $1 flights!), Saskatoon and a month volunteering at an ecovillage on Vancouver Island were the appetizers for a year in Japan that became three.

house planning at an ecovillage

house planning at an ecovillage, British Columbia

Japan-Canada Partnership

From 2006 to 2009, I called Japan home in Akita City (Akita Prefecture), Iwaki City (Fukushima Prefecture) and Tokyo. My travel direction then reversed and my husband and I moved to Canada to another way of life.

sushi plates piled high around diner

I’m hungry! Akita City (Credit: C.B.)

Japan was always on our mind and we visited in 2010, hosted my husband’s family in 2011, spent a month back in 2012, hosted family in 2013, and spent three weeks back with our baby in 2014.

Yo-i ta-bi wo!  よい旅を! Have a good trip!

How did your travels start? If you haven’t travelled yet, where do you want to go?

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