You might notice the months that have gone by since the last travel posts–it’s been a busy start to 2018! This year has included mini-breaks to New Orleans and Manhattan, and my husband and I are now in travel planning mode. We try to journey to one new international destination each year.
Last year was Cuba; the year prior was to Southeast Asia. It’s from this trip to Thailand, Cambodia (read about Siem Reap here), and Vietnam I feature in May’s Travel POTM. Mythical winged birds–or Garuda–guard the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok’s Grand Palace. One of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Thailand, members of the royal family change the clothing of the emerald Buddha each season.
Mythical Winged Garuda Guard the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Between the brutal jet lag and catching up on real life, I’ve neglected editing the 824 photos my husband and I took during a recent trip to Southeast Asia. Equally daunting: how can one possibly chose just one to feature as December’s Travel POTM™? Time management and prioritization aside, I’d like to offer a glimpse into a part of our journey that wasn’t even on our radar prior to our trip planning.
Enter Tonlé Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. Some interesting factoids about this body of water in Cambodia? It flows in two directions–due to the Mekong River–and can swell to be four times its size in the wet season. We traveled by car to a boat “dock” (I use that term lightly), where we boarded a rickety local boat, run by an engine that resembled a weed whacker and sorely needing a fresh coat of paint.
Our cruise took us to Kampong Phluck, a small village entirely on stilts! Fishing is the main local economy, and we delighted in seeing families working together to bring in that morning’s catch. Imagine an entire existence based upon living on the water in a house on stilts! Even further, the schools, police department, and even temple were raised high above the muddy waters as locals buzzed about in small boats.
Stilt Village on Tonlé Sap Lake
We also saw multiple crocodiles and had a harrowing canoe tour, yet that is a story for another day. Perhaps one in the future when I have edited all of the photos from an incredible visit to Southeast Asia…
I’m a list maker–whether it be a shopping list, an ever-evolving to-do list, or my places to visit bucket list. As a travel blogger, this last list is one that I am constantly scheming places to add and later cross off. As I draft this, I’m currently at 39 countries visited, and soon, I hope to have seen more.
So, without further adieu or waxing eloquently (un-eloquently?), here is the shortlist of where I’d like to visit sooner than later:
All 50 U.S. state capitols: I currently have 9 left to hit.
Cuba: I am hoping to see Havana before it catches up to modern city.
Galapagos Islands: Turtles!
Peru: Bring on Machu Picchu.
Brazil: After the Olympics this summer, I’m looking forward to Rio even more.
Antarctica: It’s the ultimate…and I do have a goal to hit all 7 continents.
Jordan: The historic architectural site of Petra seems unreal.
Egypt: I really want to see the pyramids…should have gone several years back when I had the opportunity!
South Africa: Friends went on an incredible safari…yes, please.
Cambodia: Angkor Wat is absolutely at the top of my list.
Vietnam: I’m curious to see the difference between Northern and Southern Vietnam.
With ever-growing inspiration and places I’d like to go, it’s almost impossible to want to revisit destinations I love. Yet there are places I want to be again. Places like Bora Bora, where we honeymooned, or Greece or Italy, which I’ve traveled to a couple of times but want to experience more.
As I pen this, I think of the Things To Do While Alive advertising campaign that struck me almost a decade ago when I lived in Sweden. Some items are checked off, and some of the items are still on my bucket list. I am thankful for these experiences, for the technology to capture memories (from my trusty Canon EOS! to Hipstamatic! and now my Sony and Instagram app), and for 5 senses to take in the world. Cheers to those places and people that have made impressions on me, and here’s to all of the adventures in store!