Day two of my trip I was being scammed by a couple of chinese students in a tea house. I was so innocent, so naive.
After a truly scarring overnight train journey, I made it to Beijing. Here begins my long saga of solo pictures in front of monuments. I was really popular in Tiananmen Square though; many chinese asked me to pose for a picture with their baby.
I decided a five hour hike up the Great Wall of China in 90 degree heat was a good idea. That was a fun day.
I made it to Bangkok just in time to pop a cockroach in my mouth. The can of Chang beer later helped to wash down the crickets.
Then I arrived in Koh Tao to detox. I got my PADI certificate to dive anywhere in the world and spent the week in scuba school.
After pulling myself away from the islands (it took three weeks to leave) I headed up north to Lopburi. Here, I was mugged by a band of wild monkeys, bit by one on the shoulder and robbed by another. Here's a picture of the thief who stole my shoe.
I also had the pleasure of teaching young Thai children english in Chiang Mai.
After a trip to a Thai hospital for an infected lymph gland, I took several bus rides through to Laos; one of which involved me standing between a caged chicken and a monk. An important milestone in Laos was when I taught myself how to ride a manual motorbike. The same day I took off on a three day journey to the Bolaven Plateau on the motorbike alone with a pathetic looking map and no phone.
After surviving the Bolaten Plateau, I headed up north to participate in the backpacker ritual of tubing in Vang Vieng. We were each given an inter tube to float down the river with while bars threw ropes out to us to pull us in for a drink.
Then in Luang Prubang, I jumped from a rope swing into a waterfall. I also got the worst case of food poisoning I've ever had.
which thankfully cleared up in time for me to experience the amazing street food of Vietnam.
And hike with the Ha'mong hill tribes of Sapa
passing through Mui Ne to see the beautiful contrast of scenery Vietnam has to offer. And later I was humbled by the effects of the Vietnam war on the locals.
In Cambodia I toured the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge and witnessed the cruelty of humanity through the genocide of the Khmer people.
I later toured Angkor Wat, one of the most majestic temple complexes in the world.
And took a break from sight seeing for a few days to be in a Cambodian commercial.
I ended my time in Cambodia stranded on an island off of Sihanoukville. Local fishermen took us in and gave us homemade rice whiskey until the storm cleared.
And after Cambodia, I was off to Myanmar, by far the most interesting country i visited. I observed cultural traditions that are hundreds of years old and listened to locals complain about the political turmoil. I fell in love with the Burmese and their country.
I spent three weeks in Sagaing as one of two western women in a Buddhist monastery teaching young novices english. At the monastery I slept on the floor of a bamboo hut, practiced mediation and learned about the pillars of Buddhism. One of the most rewarding experiences of my trip.
My experience in Myanmar made me realize that I wasn't yet ready to leave Asia. I headed back to Cambodia and got a job bartending at a beach resort for two months.
Where I had some really interesting roommates.
And was attacked by sandflies who laid eggs in my skin.
After Thailand I met a friend in Malaysia and got lost on the streets of Penang.
Then we relaxed on Pulau Pangkor
Where the most defining photo of my trip was taken...
I ended my time in Asia in Singapore where my parents paid for me to stay at the Marina Bay Sands.
Once I got settled in Melbourne, I went to Cairns and dived the Great Barrier Reef three times.
And marveled at the beauty of the Whitsundays.
And ended our trip in Sydney in time for the Vivid Festival at the opera house.
After exploring Australia, I got the chance to marvel at the natural beauty of New Zealand.
And went skydiving over a glacier.
I finished up the rest of my time abroad in Melbourne, saying goodbye to good friends and enjoying the city.