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'Cos we're leaving on a jet plane ASIA ... ready or not, here we COME!

The End of this Chapter

CANADA | Friday, 21 March 2008 | Views [1517] | Comments [1]

Home sweet home!!…. After traveling for the past 5 months, we are now back full circle… It’s hard to believe that we are finally back home though! It’s kind of bitter sweet, because it’s great to finally be home… with all the comforts we are used to… but at the same time, come to the realization that our EPIC ASIA TRIP, our 6 MONTH honeymoon is actually OVER!

But I am damn proud to say “We did it!” Yep… we really did it! Felix and I really backpacked for 6 months! A year ago today, I had butterflies in my stomach, waiting anxiously for my meeting with my manager, to broach the very prospect of taking such a trip. Both Felix and I will forever be indebted to our manager’s for giving us this incredible opportunity to go outside of our comfort zone, and experience the World firsthand. I think we are both changed people as a result. I know we will always think back fondly to this trip, in the decades to come.

I encourage anyone to do a trip like this…. You will thank me for it! I guarantee it! Maybe 6 months is not for everyone, but even if you can get away for one month to just travel and see the world. Life is about Experience. Staying within your comfort zone is not living to your full potential! I know it’s harsh… but you gotta do it, I tell you!

You will also be very proud to know that after 6 months, 24/7, Felix and I are still not sick of each other! I guess those 6 months was a true test to our relationship… and I know this will make some of you gag… but if we can survive this trip… I think we are in it for the long haul! =)  And to answer everyone’s question of… “Did we fight a LOT?” Surprisingly, we didn’t…  I can’t say how we did it, but by some weird twist of fate, we really seriously compliment each other. I scratch my head now and think… how did I get so lucky…?! If I was traveling with anyone else, I think I might be sporting a black eye now. ;)

It’s really hard to believe that we are finally at the end of our trip. After visiting 10 countries, and 30+ destinations, how can I adequately describe the impact of this experience on my life.  Just sitting here, and reflecting back to the last 6 months, there is just a flood of memories, sensations, and experiences…that I will never be able to capture on paper.  I again… encourage, you to experience it for yourself!

The number one thing I have learned is… “to not take things for granted.” Now I know this sounds a little cliché, and I even said this from time to time before I took this trip, but now, I have really come to realize what we REALLY have. The next time I come across an obstacle or a challenge and get stressed out, I hope I will first think… “Is this really worth the emotional turmoil?!” and “Is this worth all the stress?!” All the things I would potentially face are now just so mundane i.e. I have raccoons in the roof or property tax is due again, or my car needs to get fixed etc  (PS Pam and Andrea… for your sake, as part of our travels I wish I could have ate Raccoon! Just to get revenge for you…  BTW Japanese raccoons are really CUTE! Not like the North American Road Kill!)

In our travels, at least for me, I had a lot of time to reflect, and it all boiled down to the things that I treasured in life. Surprisingly the things I cherish the most, are ‘immaterial.’ You cannot put a dollar value to them. For example, my family who give us unconditional love, or our health, or the rock solid friendship’s that we have… the last couple months has taught me that I have a King’s ransom in the those three fundamental things! Can I get any luckier! Funny, how it took 6 months of backpacking to come to this realization.

Life is in constant motion, and at any given time, that perfect balance could be shifted, to the right or …to the left. But to maintain the mindset of appreciating what you already have, will make you more content with your life. In simple terms… Happier! ;)

Our last two weeks in Hong Kong was literally a whirlwind of activity... poignant memories that stick out:

-  Spending time with my Aboo! My grandma is 94… and been a widow for over 20 years, but she still misses my grandfather soooo much. To still be so in love, and miss her husband so much, it just warms my heart!

-  Being invited to my friend’s homes for home cooked meals. There is nothing that makes me happier then going to a friend’s house and taking our time eating damn good food and enjoying each other’s company! Freeman, Eli, Dai Car, Ah B, Jeff and Jackie… I have definitely ranked each of your home cooked meals as the TOP MEALS in HK! ;p  You guys mean the world to me…. always know that!

-  Spending quality time with my cousin’s Elaine and Melissa…! You girls rock! It was awesome to finally hang out! Elaine… I am so proud of you for going to Cambodia… Can you now understand how in awe I am with that country! =)

-  Coming to the realization that I don’t have to be in constant contact with old friends to still maintain a strong bond. For so many of the old friends I got back in touch with… its like no time had passed, even though for some, a decade had passed since we last spoke. Suzanne, Wendy, Florence, Tracy, Jeff Tam, Katherine … I am so happy we have what we have!

- Seeing the patience that my grandfather (on my dad’s side) shows for my grandma. My granny doesn’t have very good short term memory anymore, and will repeatedly ask the same questions. To see my grandfather who sometimes has a quick temper show so much patience, and not get frustrated with her, it humbles me.

 - For enjoying personalized food tours of Hong Kong on Carmen and Ah B’s day’s off….  And also having Carmen feed me hearty doses of  painful honesty… that ONLY she can get away with it! =) We make such an unlikely pair.. but for some weird reason, it feels so right! And for the record… I could never be friends with someone that you hate too! ;p Thank you for always thinking of us, and making us feel so at home! PS I love Ah B!

-  Being pampered and spoilt at a luxurious spa with a full body massage and facial courtesy of Freeman and Eli. These guys really know how to do things right, and they treated us to an amazing day at the spa as an end to our trip. Felix who hates being touched… loved being groomed at this slice of heaven on earth! You guys really shouldn’t have showered us with such a decadent gift! Thank you!

This trip would not have been possible if it weren’t for key people in our lives who made it all possible … we would like to sincerely thank….

- Our manager’s who let us take this leave of absence, even despite the challenges of backfilling us while we were gone. Who also didn’t even ask any questions or make us feel guilty, but supported us whole heartedly.

- Our co-worker/friends, who picked up our workload while we were gone, and made this whole entire trip possible. (Special thanks to Ellen, Dave B, and Justin.) I owe you guys big time!

- Our families and friends who were super supportive through the whole process, and keeping the emails coming to keep my homesickness at bay! (Esp, Adrienne, Lauranna, Ivy, and Jaime.)

- Sumit/Will/Robyn, for being the inspiration for this trip! We ‘heart’ backpacking, and don’t think we will do it any differently on future adventures! Felix says its guest houses all the way… he wouldn’t do a 5 star hotel if he had a choice! ;p

I cannot think of a better way for us to start our lives together…. Thank you for giving us an incredible start to our lives together!! We are happy to be home… and looking fwd to getting back into a routine… ;)



Stephanie and Felix: I hope you remember me (and my son Sam) from Halong Bay. I wanted to let you know just how much I enjoyed meeting you both -- and for letting me in on your incredible journey. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your journal entries, and the pictures were just incredible.

I hope you guys are just as happy today as you were when we met you on the wonderful Halong Bay portion of your adventure. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful trip through Asia.

  Earl Ramos-Perlberg Nov 30, 2009 5:41 AM

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