To my darling boys,
We are coming to the end of our backpacking adventure around South East Asia and so it seemed fitting to pen you a letter on our travels. After all they have been such a monumentally important part of our lives.
My idea to sell a load of our stuff, pack up our belongings into two backpacks and set off on a family adventure around South East Asia was met with a few raised eyebrows. Actually, scrap that. It was met with a barrage of negativity, people questioning our sanity and people trying to talk us out of it. Despite all of the negativity, we felt it was an amazing voyage to embark on as a family and we couldn’t help but feel that it would enrich our lives and bring us closer together as a family unit.
I would be lying if I told you that the negatively didn’t impact the lead up to our departure. In the last fews days before we left England my anxiety was in full force. I struggled sleeping and found myself questioning if it was too late to put the brakes on our entire operation. Thankfully through the negativity, we also found some fellow passionate travellers backing our corner, reminding us that we were about to embark on a rather epic adventure that many other families are already on.
It all seemed a bit surreal standing in the airport, attempting to check in our luggage and trying to navigate a rather tricky conversation with the woman at the check in desk, who kept talking about the complications of not having onward travel booked. I’m not entirely sure why we had the fiasco to be honest with you both because on arrival in Thailand they didn’t even ask about onward travel… at least I don’t think they did but by that point I was hallucinating from lack of sleep because neither of you slept on the bloody plane!
Anyway, landing in Bangkok was the starting point of our backpacking journey and what an adventure it has been. We have travelled through seven countries on our journey, all so different and unique. We took in the stunning temples of Chiang Mai in Thailand, the natural beauty of Laos, the chaos of Vietnam and the ancient city of Cambodia. We’ve learnt so much about kindness from the people of Malaysia. We’ve learnt so much about conservation in Singapore and we’ve leant so much about the true beauty of childhood and family from the people of Indonesia.
It hasn’t always been an easy road, there was that time I messed up the flights in Vietnam, the time your Dad lost the credit card in Thailand and that really awful 20 hour sleeper bus ride, but those days are outnumbered by the truly wonderful and magical ones. The days we held hands as we walked along the beach, the day we fed a rescued elephant by hand and the days filled with everyday moments in extraordinary places.
I am so incredibly thankful for these moments and these times I have spent with you. It is like a dream showing you things that would only have been accessible to me in a book when I was growing up. I’ve loved opening your eyes to a whole other world. One of different cultures, religions and ways of life. It has been incredible to climb mountains and trek through jungles with you. To show you rural villages, bustling cities and a hundred different sunsets.
We’ve experienced so much together as a family and have learnt so much about the world we live in, but I think what has been the most rewarding part of our trip is seeing how much you both have grown. You have both grown so confident, so intrigued about the world and so inquisitive. You have become passionate about our planet and the creatures we share our planet with. You have become aware that not everyone lives like we do and with that you have become more aware of the importance of kindness.
Our travels around South East Asia have been quite the adventure, full of perfect moments and learning. How lucky we are to have been on such a wonderful adventure, how incredible a journey, but what is the most amazing thing is that all of these moments, these memories, they’ve been made as a family.
All my love,