It’s been a crazy month! Since I last posted, I’ve been to five countries, taken about ten flights, and driven 1000s of kilometers. After quite a bit of struggling, I managed to pack up all of my things and organize shipping for two of my bags to Hanoi, Vietnam, my last destination before my flight back to the states. Of course there were a few hiccups throughout the shipping process but they eventually arrived at my airport the morning before my flight after some finagling with Vietnamese customs. Anyways, after my room was all spick and spam and back to looking like the day I’d arrived, it was off to New Zealand where I spent two action-packed weeks on a road trip visiting Mount Cook, cruising down Milford Sound, playing frisbee golf, hiking the Kepler Track, climbing Fox Glacier, and visiting the Pancake Rocks among other things. After two weeks of cheap eats, tons of peanut butter, tuna, and beans (yeah, it sounds gross, I know!), card games, and lots of hostels it was time to say goodbye to my eight mates for the time being.
I headed to the airport in Nelson, New Zealand (where, shocker, there was no security!!!) and boarded a flight to Bangkok, Thailand where my parents were waiting for our emotional reunion. Together we enjoyed an amazing trip through South East Asia with our tour group of 3o quirky and outgoing people. We visited the Grand Palace, got Thai massages, rode an elephant (so awesome!!), took a boat ride through a floating market and a floating village, headed to the largest religious temple in the world, Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap, Cambodia and then it was off to Vietnam for the remainder of the trip. We spent 10 days exploring delicious local cuisine, shopping, visiting temples and checking out museums before wrapping up our trip with a visit to Halong Bay, one of the newest natural wonders of the world. Before I knew it, my travels were coming to an end and I was finally ready to head back home. After a quick pit stop in Chicago to see my grandmother, who just had her 80th birthday, I flew into New York City. It was unbelievably bittersweet to finally be coming back home and I’ve had such an amazing and fulfilling experience in my time abroad.