Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The End of the Adventure

Over two months ago I left DC to start what I called "Mollie's Grand Adventure," and what a grand adventure it has been! In the last 68 days, I have had so many experiences -- mostly good, some bad -- and seen so many cool places:

It's been like doing seven vacations in one trip. I've done a lot of things and learned a lot of things -- this wasn't a "finding myself" venture by any means (I already know me pretty well), but I was frequently forced to be brave and more uncomfortable than I would normally choose. I feel like I've been traveling forever, but at the same time I can't believe it's already over!

I'm sad to leave of course -- this traveler lifestyle is something I could get used to -- but at the same time I'm ready for certain home things, including but not limited to my family, constantly available drinkable water, preparing my own food, washers/dryers, truly clean feet, and having access to more than four outfits.

As you know, I spent all of Nepal within 5 feet of Sister2, and then most of Southeast Asia within 5 feet of Andy. Two major travel partner wins, since they both like to do the things I like to do, try all the food, and walk a ton.

If you've been following my posts all along then you know what I've been up to, but here are my retrospective highlights and things I would have done differently from the Southeast Asia portion of the trip.

Best days (I can't pick one):

Worst day:
  • Excluding long days-o-bus rides, the last day in Bangkok. It ended in massages and delicious food, so it was not a total loss by any means, but the day itself was hot and super-polluted and draining. Cities after too long (2 days) wear on me.
Place I would have stayed longer:
Place I could have skipped:
  • Hue (it was fine but not amazing).
  • Luang Prabang (we stayed 4 days, but should have only stayed 2. It's SUPER over-priced and there isn't much to do. If you want to just hang out somewhere, hang out somewhere with a beach.)
Nicest people:
  • Thais -- I love how much they smile!
Sketchiest people:
  • I'm sorry to say this, but be warned if you go, a lot of Vietnamese people will screw you over at every opportunity. We were upsold (multiple times), cheated, tricked by a taxi driver, forced into the worst bus seats (we successfully fought back on this one), and robbed, all in Vietnam. :(
Best food:
  • It's waaaay too hard to pick just one thing -- so I'll say Vietnam. All of the things. 

Worst food:
  • Cambodia was the least exciting food-wise (pho pho pho pho). But oh man this coconut curry ("Amok") at Angkor Wat was delicious!

Best activity:

Worst activity:
  • There was a Class 3 whitewater kayaking experience outside of Luang Prabang. I didn't blog about it at the time because it was mostly upsetting and terrible and scary. It was also really unsafe (despite the very legit-looking guide company there were NO safety precautions taken), so I do not recommend doing this.
Favorite city:
  • Saigon

Least Favorite city:
  • Bangkok
Best Palace:
  • Grand Palace, Bangkok

Best Ruins:
  • Angkor Wat

So would I go back? Maybe. I feel like I saw Nepal and Vietnam pretty thoroughly, and Cambodia doesn't have that much to see, but I would love to explore more of Laos (we stayed in the north/central area, but further north or way south would be cool to see). Southeast Asia was pretty freaking awesome and relatively easy travel-wise, but there's a whole world of other places to go and see and explore! Who knows where I'll end up next...


  1. Sounds like so much fun!! Glad you had the opportunity to go and share it with us :)

  2. Welcome home- and hope to see you in Cambridge / Somerville soon! Great stories, great pictures- as always!

    1. Yessss!!! I'm so excited to be back -- see you soon!

  3. Thank you for writing this - it's been really fun to follow along! Miss you!

    1. Thank you for following! Oh man I do miss CAR, and I'm going to miss everyone even more as I start trying to run again...solo... :( I'll be back to visit!