สวัสดี, ສະບາຍດີ, xin chào, helo, ជំរាបសួរ!
For those unspoken in the dialects of Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, Filipino or Khmer (which apparently only shows up in miniature font sizes), you guessed it, all the above translate verbatim to "Hello and welcome to Mark and Julie's blog covering their 7 week travels around SE Asia."
As Julie and I have progressed our way through the pre-defined path of "adulthood" --
Step 1 = Initial Non-Tinder Date
Step 2 = Subsequent Non-Tinder Dates
Step 3 = Beyonce-Inspired Motivation/Encouragement (for the older generation of readers, this change of color is a link -- Use a working/non-arthritic finger to depress the mouse button and amazing things will occur!)
Step 4 = Marriage
Step 5 = Non-Baby Addition (aka dog) - This technically occurred prior to Step 1, but let's just ignore that detail for sake of simplicity
Step 6 = Shelter Acquisition (aka bank savings disappearance)
Step 7 = TBD
-- The inevitable addition of smaller versions of ourselves has approached on the horizon, and constant reminders from friends & family that our alienation from society may occur if we do not choose to increase the size of our 2 1/2 person family, has forced us to find respite in one final hurrah to time/sleep/life. And thus, what better way to relax and enjoy a final few moments of freedom than by backpacking our way around one of the most chaotic regions in the world: Southeast Asia.
With a prior trip to SE Asia under my belt back in 2009 (unfortunately unblogged due to pre-Al Gore internet speeds), we commence our journey along the "Banana Pancake Trail", detouring from time to time in avoidance of gap year students, 27 year old versions of myself (still just as handsome, yet sporting approximately 78% more hair and the occasional moderate hangover) and of course the newest trend of tourists who walk around holding iPads in front of their faces. Nonetheless, onward we go, in search of delicious meals, photogenic locals (preferably missing teeth for that National Geographic-esque capture) and the inevitable relentlessness of heat, humidity and oh-so-salty perspiration.
Let the journey/sweating begin!
Next Stop: Bangkok