My husband commented the other day my blog was looking heavy on travel posts. “What happened to the business development stuff?” Good question! Short answer is HEAPS of REALLY fun travel!! Keeping my eye on the business ball whilst making the most of our expat stint has been a little tricky. The time frame was 2 years whilst we’re here in Manila and honestly it was just too long to keep focussed. It’s lurched along in spates of enthusiasm …. then sat idle for weeks …. punctuated of course by trips of a life time!
But our time is running out here and all of a sudden I can see it’s finite (read emerging sense of PANIC). You had 2 YEARS!!! What do you mean you’re not ready to go??
So heads up people. It’s business business business coming your way …. except maybe that trip to Vietnam next week …. and that island at Christmas …. and did I tell you about the awesome fares I discovered to Borneo ?? …. Oh dear …. I would make a brilliant travel agent!
At the risk of sounding evangelical ….. You just MUST try cycling as transport on your next holiday. It is AWESOME!! The slow food equivalent of travel. You don’t just whizz by the landscape – you’re in it. Part of it. We smelt the pine trees. Heard the birds. Felt the hills! And unlike walking covered a pretty decent distance.
We’ve been to Japan before but 3 days on a bike on the Shiranui Coast left us feeling far more connected with our host country. The “authentic” travel experience every intrepid/romantic/idealistic traveller craves. Our accommodation on night one was also a highlight. A little family run ryokan. They spoke a little English. We spoke a little less Japanese but goodwill aided communication and we all brilliant time. Give it a go!
I must confess some of the hills pushed me a little but I only walked 3 stretches and flying down the other side, cruising through idyllic coastal towns in coves pirates dream of, gazing out to multiple islands and the glow of virtuous achievement each day made it all worthwhile. We also had quite a lot of light rain but to be honest I’d prefer that to roasting in the sun. Ours was a self guided tour through Japan Biking. Email me if you want further info.
Currently planning a follow-up bicycle assisted foray in Vietnam. Stay tuned ….
PS The kids loved it too!
This week is the first anniversary for my husband in his new job …. The one that has brought us here to Manila nearly a year ago now. And what a year it has been! One of our goals in coming was to travel as much as possible and we’re staying commited. Though sometimes it’s hard …..
Now that we’ve been here almost a year we’re passing a significant milestone. Most things have been done once. The first 3 months when life for me at least crawled by and everything was new in an exhausting way. The “welcoming” gastro attacks. Our gradual inhabitation of the house, room by room, slowly claiming it as ours. The first days at school and changes of friends. First trips away and returns. The first Halloween and Christmas. Birthdays. The first visitors from Australia. The shift from calling Australia home to calling Manila home. Surviving our first wet with accompanying mosquitoes and unrelenting heat/humidity. First “winter” …. a wonderful reprieve! You almost forget how intense it had been. We remember now that it’s back! The first new friends. Gradually we’re carving out a new social network.
Still other things mark you being away in a different way. Significant things that you miss. My Grandpa died. My Mum got engaged (we haven’t met Kevin yet). Friends having babies. Little people growing up. Friends and family going through hard times that we can’t be there to help with.
Just recently I was in my local supermarket and I saw a woman several cash registers away who was clearly not local (we blondies are VERY conspicuous) with her 5 year old son and a facial expression I recognised in an instant. I just knew she was fresh off the boat. That mixture of utter frustration, despair, confusion, “what the hell is this place?” and “they call this bread!” as she scrutinized a loaf of local white bread. I so wanted to get her attention and provide some support. The bread here is generally AWFUL and the only decent bread (good and cheap) was only a shop away …. but she was too far away and we were on a time line precluding leaving the line. The other expats here and those that preceded and advised us have been lifesavers. The community really is amazing. There isn’t anything you can’t ask. To find myself on the side of giving out the advice was a turning point and helped me realise how far we have all come.
We still miss all sorts of things, most especially our outdoor lifestyle, but we’re almost at the point now of being closer to going than arriving. We can now say we’ll be home “next year” (some time). Things are largely familiar and thats far more comforting than I ever thought it would be. We’re thinking about what we’ll take home in both the physical and psychological senses.
I’m not sure exactly what has kicked of my reflections but I guess my internal compass is subtly changing direction, reorienting us all toward Australia over the next 12 months. I’m curious to see what shifts in attitude etc go with it as we head into our next stage. Suffice to say we continue to live in interesting times.