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.
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.
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.
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.