So, twelve months on ……

Time flies they say when you are having fun, and so it proved. After months of advance planning in 2015, followed by four glorious months on tour in South East Asia, we found ourselves back home in the Emerald Isle. Wow, that just flew by in an instant! And yet here we are twelve months later on, to our own surprise, just about to head off on travels again – yippee !

Last year we travelled well in excess of 25,000 old fashioned miles, spent 120 nights abroad in 9 different countries coping with 10 separate currencies. We flew with 7 different airlines through 19 individual airports, and had one epic, never to be forgotten, train journey through Myanmar.  We used Airbnb and 14 other hotel groups, large and small. We had to make visa applications in 5 countries and Mary undertook the awesome task of packing on 24 separate occasions – let’s not even mention the unpacking! (And no, I didn’t  – Mary is the expert so don’t even go there ladies.)

A fantastic paddy field on the slopes in Sri Lanka

We had the fantastic experience of living with people of varying religions, beliefs, colours and cultures. We don’t talk much about religion here at home, but in Asia it is all around you, in all its varieties and hues, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Confucianism and people seem more devout and open about expressing their beliefs than here at home. Waking up in the mornings to hear the Adhan calling people to prayer, while a bit eerie at the beginning,  you quickly get used to it at different times of the day. In truth it becomes a very welcome sound drifting over the Kampungs, the city or the beach, or wherever you happen to be.

Depending on where you were there were small little things, I guess traditions or practices, that were a bit unique. Like in Sri Lanka when they head off on a journey they stop at a small temple or shrine to pray for a safe journey – with cars simply abandoned outside all over the road! A bit like Ballinspittle without the moving statues perhaps, or the Fanny O’Dea’s stop on the trip to Kilkee, or the Rosary that Mam would make us say on a long car journey years ago. I guess it’s the little things that make us all different.

Street Art in Penang

Without exception we found people everywhere extremely friendly, open & willing to chat – absolutely amazing. We experienced different cuisines, street food, night market food and all the way up to posh nosh cooked by Michel Roux himself – took Mary a few days before she would wash that hand he kissed!

As you can imagine we met lots of people of various nationalities, we have seen amazing hospitality, made great new friends and contacts that we still keep in touch with and have wonderful memories to relive. And now we get to do some of that all over again – life is surely for living. We head off later this month, back to Asia for a ‘wee while’.

I do hope to keep up the blogs this time round, perhaps shorter & sweeter. If you like them give me a thumbs up, or a follow, or a share, if you don’t you best read it again. So watch out for the hashtag #travelwithgar & we will see you on the other side!

The Killing Fields in Cambodia

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