I love people’s #FBF (Flashback Friday) and #TBT (Throwback Thursday) Instagram posts, so I thought it might be fun to do a flashback blog once in a while when the dates line up!
It just so happens that nine years ago on September 6 Kelly and I embarked on the trip of a lifetime to backpack Australia and Thailand.
We were both 20-years-old and had been dating for over a year. We had been excitedly planning, scrimping, and saving for the months leading up to it.
Our plans were simple: see the sights, enjoy the beaches, and not work!
Four flights and many hours later, we landed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to complete culture shock. We stayed long enough to see the Petronas Twin Towers, ride scary public transit and relax by the pool.
We then hopped on another plane to Brisbane, Australia where we promptly shuttled to Surfers Paradise to start our three month holiday (the maximum amount of time you could stay without a visa).
We only stayed in Surfers for a couple days then flew north for the heat before bussing our way south. We spent time in Cairns, Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest, Mission Beach, Magnetic Island, Airlie Beach, and Surfers Paradise. We finished off the Australia leg with six weeks in Manly Beach, a suburb of Sydney.
Manly’s slogan is, “Seven miles from Sydney, a thousand miles from care”. It is the perfect description for the seaside town.
We climbed a mountain in the rainforest, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, saw wild kangaroos on our runs and wild koalas on hikes, hitchhiked with a milkman, went to the Indy races in Surfers Paradise, toured the Whitsunday Islands and swam with giant sting-rays, and spent days exploring Sydney and its surrounding beaches.
We said farewell to Australia ready for another adventure in Thailand where we visited Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Phuket. We fell in love with the Thai culture and people and the pristine beaches.
Kelly’s family flew to Asia to meet us in Phuket for Christmas where we were spoiled with great company and a five-star resort!
Unfortunately it all came crashing down on Dec. 26 when the deadly tsumani struck Southeast Asia. Miraculously Kelly’s family flew north that morning and left the island just before it hit. Kelly and I moved beaches that morning and as fate would have it were walking to the beach from our hotel, which was perched on a huge hill.
The next couple days were simultaneously heart-breaking and terrifying. The Thai people’s kindness and heart were unwavering. We got off the island and made it home five days later.
The trip was absolutely the coolest adventure we’ve been on. We had some of the best memories of our lives and also the worst.
Every year since from September to December, I occasionally pull out my journal and reminisce about where we were and what we were doing.
Every year on December 26, I think of all the people who lost their lives, family members, and everything they had. It’s a sobering thought.
But, today and most other days, I remember our adventure together, the amazing places and memories, and smile!
Have you ever been on a backpacking or cross-country trip?