A Travellerspoint blog

All good things must come to an end….

overcast 34 °C

REED

It was an amazing life experience, we learnt so much that we didn't know before. Before the holiday I didn't even know Vietnam was a country. It will be sad to leave the fried rice and pad thai but I miss my family and friends. It's really hot here, so going back will be hard.
I loved the water parks, abseiling, beach chilling, surfing, snorkelling and all the other cool things that we did. Meeting new people, playing soccer with the Cambodian boys, and seeing different ways of life.
This holiday was epic and it will go down in the record books.

JAY

When we first got to Hanoi, the smell was real. It was a very busy place with a lot of motorbikes, not very many cars. A lot of people came out at 7 or 8 pm because it was too hot in the day. Vietnam and Cambodia has had a lot of wars in the past 100 years.
We learnt a few words in Vietnamese like thank you, no thank you, hi and a few other words that I have forgotten.
My favourite country was Aussie because we saw a snake and a goanna.
I read two Percy Jackson books twice and they are my favourite book series because they have so much adventure.
This has been an experience of a lifetime.

CARL

Our Australia and South east Asia holiday by the numbers…

22868  - Km’s traveled (a-lot by car and bus)
10200  - press ups done ( by me)
5253   - press ups by each of the boys
500  - the card game we have thrashed
308    - bowls of fried rice eating (estimate)
102  - days travelling
45    - morning miracle sessions
41   - family and friends caught up with
37   - degrees, our hottest day in Cambodia
33   - different hotels
15   - books read by Reed
11  - lost items (luckily not passports)
6  - new surf beaches surfed
5   - waterfalls abseiled
1   - EPIC holiday

MELISSA

The last blog... where to start, and how to end it.
Okay to begin, and the reason for this adventure - Reed and Jay. As parents, we all know our time with our children is limited, it goes so bloody fast - how is it possible that the babies I feel like I birthed only a blink ago are now these big, strong, smart, loving, funny young men. The time we have spent together is the biggest win of all from this crazy adventure.

Together we have all learnt so much, and I'm not just talking about amazing things like the history Angkor Wat (a personal fav), we have also learnt:
Patience - waiting in lines, for flights, much time spent in buses and vans
Slowing down - not rushing to be doing something all the time. Reading, playing cards, swimming were the best of times.
Laughter - being around kids so much, you remember what it's like to laugh a lot. The boys are a bundle of energy, and they just joke constantly.
Acceptance - accepting people for who they are and how they do things. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Trying new things - scorpions, crickets, canyoning - we all are leaving with such open minds to what we can achieve.
Respect - taking off your shoes at the door, bowing and saying thank you in multiple languages.
Respecting each other.
How to cross the road when cars do not stop!
How little you need to be happy - we have lived out of a suitcase for over three months now - the boys have basically worn the same two t-shirts! We've seen so many people who have next to nothing, and they are smiling and happy.
We've also learnt to appreciate the things easily taken for granted, the things the boys most miss about home are friends, family and our dog Jax.

A huge thank you to the family and friends who have had us to stay along the way - spending the quality time with you all was the best of times.

And if you have read along and made it to then end with us - thank you! I didn't intend to write so often, but this blog will be made into a book for us to look back on. If we didn't write every few days, we started forgetting what we had done. I know everyone loved it when the boys wrote, I wish they had done it more - I love hearing it through their words.

On a more personal note from me, last year was rough. I watched as my strong mum lost her short battle with brain cancer. She was my best friend, and I did not know how to deal with that and so I pushed it to the side and outwardly pretended all was well. Inwardly I was losing a fight with overwhelming grief and loneliness. So leaving on this holiday was a bit of escapism for me. It turns out you can't outrun your feelings, and it took until week five before I realised one day that I had laughed, like proper laughed without faking it or feeling guilty about it. It was such a crazy moment where I felt like a physical weight had been lifted off me. I still have a little tear most days for my beautiful mum, that loss will take more time to work through. But this time with my family and friends has been so healing. How lucky I am.

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Posted by travelswithmum 07:49 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Goodbye to the shoes…. oh and to Thailand

overcast 30 °C

Today is the day that Jay has been waiting for for weeks! No, not home time. …. the day he gets to rip apart his shoes.
Before we left, both boys chose new shoes to take away, unfortunately Jay left his behind 😢. So we bought him a new pair of jandals, and somehow one went missing 😢. So we bought him a fake pair of Birkenstocks in Vietnam for $7! (Originals cost $120). Though we thought we had a bargain at the time, they were definitely not built to last. So for the last three ish weeks, Jay has been wearing shoes that are half ripped apart at the top. Now, we’re not that terrible parents - we offered to buy a new pair - but he was determined that they would last to the end of the holiday. Well, they progressively got worse, but now it had become a challenge!! Many times they have flipped over while he’s walking, but they made it and today was the day he was allowed to destroy them!! Much pleasure was taken.

Another great moment - the hats that Reed and I left in the car weeks ago in Phuket have been returned. Carl thought they were never to be seen again, but the driver (who conveniently lived in Bangkok) had kept them safe for us. He was out of town on another job, but asked his friend to pick them up from his house and we booked his friend to take us to the airport. Reed was sooooo happy!! He loves that hat :). And how cool of Mr Jirat to do that for us ❤️

We made it to the airport early (as we do). Spent the last of our baht on donuts, danishes and fruit shakes and then it was take off.

The boys are excited to get home, I’m still in shock that the 102 days is over already 😫

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Posted by travelswithmum 03:22 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

One night in Bangkok (well two, but that’s not the song)

What’s the capital of Thailand?? Bangkok! Followed by a punch to the balls. This is what Flynn taught my boys….. and now they are here and there are many shots to the privates 🤣🤣

Our hotel includes breakfast, but it’s over the road at the sister hotel on the riverside (yep, we save the $100 and stayed in the one with a view of a concrete wall 🤣). Eek, another buffet!! Not quite as good as the last place, but we all filled our tummies while watching the river boats go by.

We hadn’t made any plans today - mostly because it was Jays task and he was having too much fun with his friends in Khao Lak to do any forward planning - he’s got this whole living in the day thing down pact. So we strolled for a few minutes and jumped on the ferry to cruise the river down to the IconSiam. It’s 35 degrees - so we were glad to be able to see some of the sights without having to walk around them, it’s just not enjoyable in this heat. So when we spotted a shopping mall on the route - we all agreed air con is the place to be!

The riverside is a mixture of beautiful hotels, stunning temples, the Grand Palace, all right next to pole houses with tin roofs - a stark contrast. It’s a busy place, and Jay was blown away with tug boats pulling huge barge ships - 5 at a time. We couldn’t figure out what was in them though?!

This mall is IMPRESSIVE!! Seeing the Prada and Cartier and Chanel signs out front diminished any expectations of actually making any purchases, but we were happy just to look around. There were waterfalls, giant crabs, a huge inside “street food” eating area, fashion shows, amazing coffee, and floors and floors of shops! One of the waterfalls spelled out Icon Siam in water as it fell from the sky - as well as flowers and stars and other shapes.
The boys were checking out a $650,000 Porche while I admired a Maserati across the way (price unknown!).

Carl and Jay needed to go to the loo, they came back a little buzzed out by the toilets - so Reed and I had to check it out. Well, the seats were heated and there were all sorts of buttons for cleaning and drying your bits - a little bit crazy!

We hit the food hall, then back on the boat to our hotel for a swim.

After some cards and a Cobra Kai - the finale of season 4 and apparently it was very eventful - I got a full run down 🤣

Then a short walk through some crazy back alleyways (thanks to some helpful locals for showing us the way) to Khaosan Road - a place for street food, markets and pubs. We picked up a few last minute gifts and found a place for dinner. While we were sitting at our tiny table and chairs on the road, a lady came along selling cooked spiders and scorpions! Reed was the only one brave enough to give it a go 😬 (his morning affirmation is to try something new everyday). He bossed it, chucking it all in in one go.

Then a group of young Chinese students asked if they could interview us as they are practicing English. We could tell the young man was nervous, but he did very good. We all agreed how brave he was for approaching strangers to speak in a foreign language.

We all sat and chatted about our travels, feeling ready to go home (some more than others), but looking back at what we have done, just so grateful for this time as a family.

PS - we have had a great loss today - the bag that we were kindly given in Sapa so many weeks ago finally decided it had carried more than enough. I’ve used it every day to carry essentials - money, sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant, my phone and so so many mints. It’s like a magic bag that can fit so much and we will miss it immensely. Well actually we were given two, so all is not lost 🤣

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Posted by travelswithmum 01:20 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Goodbye resort life…..

31 °C

13th July

It’s actually getting quite real that our time is coming to an end…. And I don’t like it!!
We got up a bit earlier today to fit everything in before we left for the airport. Miracle morning, gym, last buffet (thank god), last swim then another bag pack. The boys are the best packers, they’ve got it down - and if you are travelling in the near future we highly recommend the travel cubes - game changer.
Checkout was 11am and our shuttle wasn’t until 12.30 - fancy that, the perfect amount of time for a beach massage! Boys were out today, they spent the hour reading their books on the loungers. I had some sort of crazy chemical peel for the feet 😳. And Carl had a full body - he said it was the best massage he’s ever had.

Then resort living was all over for us. Our shuttle was about an hour and a half to the airport, we checked in and failed getting through security twice, once for a full water bottle we had missed, then they found an aerosol bottle (insect repellent) - oops!! They were very nice about it. Though we’ve been travelling for a while, we haven’t actually taken many flights, we’ll up our game for the big one on Saturday.

All sorted and ready to go, but our flight was delayed 2 hours 😬. After something to eat, some cards and a bit of Cobra Kai - the time flew and we were boarding the plane. Carl was sat next to an Indian couple. Through very broken English, he was trying to swap places with Carl. We couldn’t figure out why and by that time the flight attendant had come and told him to stay in his seat. She thought the wife was unwell, but from what we gathered, the wife didn’t like the smell on his shirt and wanted Carl to sit next to her instead of her husband 🤣🤣

It was very cool flying into Bangkok - Jay was the plane photographer.

Half hour taxi and arrived at our hotel all tired and ready for bed.

Ps - bit of an achievement today for the boys - reached triple digits in their push-up challenge - 100 - legends!!

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Posted by travelswithmum 13:38 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Massages….

sunny 31 °C

11th July
The suns back - yay!!

After breakfast the boys were keen to play some basketball. Carl thought tennis would be a good idea - after a couple of shots, Reed and I bailed and went back to the basketball - it’s too hot for tennis (actually it’s too hot for basketball too).
A very tall Aussie boy joined us for shots then asked for some 2 on 2. I happily left them to it and the boys battled it out - final score 10-8 to Jay and Aussie :). He was pretty impressive!

We took a short walk down the beach to join the NZ crew for lunch and then us girls jumped on some beachside massages - 200 Baht for an hour massage - $10 NZD!
It was bliss 🥰🥰. Though when I checked my photos later in the day, I saw an interloper had sneakily taken over at some point - I feel so violated 🤣🤣
Back to Robinson for drinks and hangs - many laughs. Kids swam, then went gecko hunting - managing to capture one in a bottle.

12th July
Breakfast - check out Jays plate of goodness 😊. 8 days is really too long to be buffet eating - we’re all coming back a few kgs heavier for sure. Luckily there’s a gym that we’ve been making use of to slightly help combat the badness.
We picked up our last bundle of washing - will definitely miss that 😢. We all had a little stack each, except Jay who had 1 t-shirt - yuck!! He will need disinfecting when we get back.
After a bit of lazing by the pool, we met the NZ crew at the beach again for lunch and massages. The kids all decided it was their turn and jumped in before the adults - they are seriously living their best life - yes that is a photo of the adults waiting for the kids to finish their massages - it’s so wrong 🤣. We were on a time limit today as boys were heading off to town for the State of Origin….. and with all the kids taking up the beds - Carl and I missed out - outrageous. Boys both thoroughly enjoyed their first ever massage.

Then it was time to say goodbye to our NZ mates. It was so bloody good to have spent this time with them - the kids have loved it! What a perfect way to bring an end to our travels.

After a quick swim, the boys jumped in a tuk tuk and were able to celebrate with a blues win before heading back for dinner. I chilled out by the pool, read and watched Netflix 😊
Our last dinner at the resort 😢. The boys and I indulged in a dessert - sooo good! We all said how stuffed we were, but then they bought out a banana split that they had left over…. Well we couldn’t let it go to waste 🤣

We played a fun game of “Who will spill the water?” It was so entertaining - so much more water fit in that cup than we would have thought possible!
Then a walk back to the room with a hopeful dog keen for us to share our leftover pizza.

Great last full day in Khao Lak.

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Posted by travelswithmum 09:05 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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