A new year brings focus to new adventures and this year I have not 1 but 2 holidays planned. The first of which will take me to Myanmar and Brunei. The second, I will revisit Vietnam with a friend then explore Laos solo. Both of which will add to my steadily growing list of countries visited.
My yearning for Myanmar started about 4 years ago when I stumbled across a photo in a National Geographic magazine. The image was of the sun rising in Bagan, since then I’ve often contemplated the complexity of colours and vastness of this particular expanse of land. To some it probably seems ludicrous to travel all that way to see and understand a set of naturally occurring colours… but as insomnia wrapped its slumberless arms around me in the early hours of the morning as I contemplated a very particular shade of green outside my window, it makes total sense to me.
Brunei is home to some very interesting and intricate architecture. It’s also home to a pen pal I had growing up… back before the internet was common place in homes. Wow that makes me feel old. Anyhoo, when I was young I was in Brownies and through an edition of a Brownie/Guiding magazine, I became pen pals with a young girl growing up in Brunei. My only knowledge of life beyond NZ at the time was a globe that sat on a bookshelf in my father’s den and the Queens message that played on Christmas Day. Ignorance back then was not a choice, it was prescribed.
Revisiting Vietnam will be fascinating. I loved my time there a few years back, but I only ever travelled as far north as Hué. I travelled overland from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, then from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An. I fell in love with the simplicity of architecture and life in Hoi An, scored a free night in a 5 star spa resort in Da Nang then took the train to Hué. This time I’ll start in Da Nang with a friend for a few nights, then ditch him in favour of the train journey north to Hanoi. From there I’ll continue on to Laos. This trip will be a harsh yet humbling reality of luxury mixed with humble means. I want to experience this part of the world in a down to earth fashion… though I won’t say no to the 5 star luxury that acts as a prelude to the solo part.
Meanwhile, it feels like an eternity until I embark on this next adventure. In an attempt to cater to the wanderlust I’ve taken to being a tourist in my own country, which to be fair isn’t hard. For everything that New Zealand lacks in terms of size and wonder, it makes up for in beauty and serenity. So… for now I’ll just keep on keeping on.
Having said that though… 97 more sleeps!