I really adore staying in smaller unique places, especially when you are in more remote corners of the earth. They feel more genuine and all have quirks and charm that you never have with some massive chain hotel. I have already written about my top two favorite guest houses on the Island of Palawan (you can read about them here and here) but we stayed in so many great places that I just have to tell you about a few more.
When we decided late in 2016 that we would spend the first four-months of 2017 in Southeast Asia we immediately started putting together our must see list. Right at the top of mine was heading to central Vietnam to visit some of the largest caves in the World.
The Philippines, but specifically Palawan, was easily one of my favorite destinations in our travels of spring 2017. Its natural beauty and warm welcoming people made it a truly special place to visit. Palawan is gorgeous, green and lush with gorgeous beaches and incredible opportunities for snorkeling and exploring. While not nearly as developed as other parts of Asia, it is quickly changing so if you want to discover a paradise that is not covered in giant and expensive all inclusive resorts, go now. We spent a month on this gorgeous island and we stayed in some of my favorite guest houses ever.
The route of our trip to Southeast Asia started with us visiting many beaches in Thailand, but after a few weeks basking in the Sunshine in Koh Tao and Koh Lipe we moved inland and explored cities and towns that were far from the coast. We had fun exploring the interior of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, but after a few months we longed to just spend some time relaxing on a beach doing nothing. We had met a french couple in Vietnam who were spending a year and a half traveling the southern hemisphere of the world; Australia, Africa, Southeast Asia and South America (yeah I know, lucky them) and got to talking about long-term travel and the fatigue that can set in. They told us about a beach they had just visited with nothing to do but relax and swim and chill, it sounded perfect. So a few weeks later we made the decision to forgo Angkor Wat (!!) and just go sit on a beach.
Before we left on our trip to Southeast Asia, we became slightly obsessed on deciding exactly what we should budget for the trip. We read many blogs and quizzed our friends who had done similar trips. We could not afford to travel extravagantly, but are also too old and too soft to travel like true back packers; there certainly would be no hostels or shared rooms for us.
One of the biggest reasons that I started this adventure, beyond seeing parts of the world I haven’t seen and avoiding another Canadian winter, is to get a different point of view on life by meeting people who had taken a very different path than my own. To be clear, living in Toronto, like living in any major North American city, means that you are surrounded by people all doing the same thing. I know more people than I can count who work long hours, take a couple of 1 week vacations a year, don’t see their families much, are tired all the time and spend lots and lots of money buying stuff because, well that’s what we are told we should be doing.
So, FINALLY, I get to write about some of the travels so far. Gone are the days of sitting in our apartment waiting for this trip to finally begin. So let me catch you up since the last time I wrote.
My brother spoke those words to me a few weeks after I initially told him what the new plan for my life was; leave the job, sell everything, own next to nothing and leave the place I have called home for the last twenty-five years and travel. Since I started to divulge to friends and former colleagues what the plan is, the reactions have been as varied as the people I know.
Well, the plan is to travel. Just go and see shit. After all these years of only taking a handful of vacations and spending way to much time on our careers, we really want to take a break and get out of here. So we want to head out for a least a year, hopefully more in hopes of never returning again to this life that we have lived.