Dear Ethel, Family and Friends,
Christmas has come and gone since my last posting and it’s nearly March, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to finalise this blog. I first started writing this blog in March 2008 when we decided to pack up our house and go travelling. Now 2 years later, 8 countries, 66 blog postings, 50 or more videos and thousands and thousands of photos later, it has finally come to an end. Our goals during that time were relatively loose, but doing a TESOL course was part of the plan and we have achieved our aim and now have our Diploma’s and have taught in Malaysia, India and Vietnam. Not everything goes to plan and a lot of things are out of our control. Our job in Vietnam for instance was an unfortunate mistake that with all the preparation in the world would not have prepared us for what happened there, but it is all experience good or bad.
A brief summary of the journey is as follows:
Our trip started on 1st April. We flew out of the Gold Coast on Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur for 6 days, then on to Cambodia to see the Temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. We travelled this first 2 weeks with our friends, Michael and Joyce Johnston. From here we separated, us to Penang and them to Chang Mai. Louise & I enrolled in a month long TESOL English language course to teach English to speakers of other languages. 14th April 9th May. We booked into a nice apartment for our month’s stay and hired a small car for the last 2 weeks. After we finished our course, we met up with the Johnston’s again to travel to Kuching, in Sarawak in Borneo, East Malaysia for 4 nights, then on to Kota Kinabalu further to the north for another 4 nights to see the orangutans. Michael and Joyce head back to KL and back home while Louise & I headed to Thailand staying at, Krabi, Ao Nang, Koh Phangan and then on to Bangkok.
Next stop Europe, we flew into London to spend a few days with my Uncle Murray then on to Crete in Greece. We only stayed a short time then on to the Peloponnesus via the ferry to catch up with our German friends Ralph and Titia who have a holiday house there. Then back to Crete and a slow tour over the length of the Island ending at the eastern end and caught a ferry to Kapathos and Rhodes where we experienced an earthquake. Next was a hydrofoil to Marmaris Turkey. We had a look at Fethiye before booking ourselves onto a Yatch flotilla trip for a week, sailing around the coast to Orhaniye. We stayed here for a month and met up with an Australian guy and helped him to restore an old yacht. We visited the local areas, Selimiye, Bodrum, Ephesus and a quick trip back to Simi Greece. Then long bus trip to Cappodocia, in central Turkey where we did some ballooning then on to Istanbul. From here we had planned to head back into Europe but found out we needed to head back to Australia for an important appointment for Louise.
I elected to stay in Bangkok, Thailand and try to find some teaching work. Being unable to find any teaching work, Louise joined me back in Thailand, we decided to travel to India and do some volunteer teaching. In the meantime we spent some time on Koh Samet while waiting for our Indian visas. Then back to Panang and KL and onto Bangalore India. We spent all November in Southern India, Cochin, Alleppey, Munnar and Goa. We were due to travel to Mumbai when the bombings happened there, so we had to reschedule our trip a bit and our teaching. We decided to do our trip around the north of India before our teaching. So we headed for Deli, Jaipur, Agra and Varinasi and spent Christmas in Agra where the Taj Mahal is. It was a miserable Christmas and we booked our return flights to Australia on that day. However we still had our teaching to do so headed back to Mumbai and on to Pune where we were teaching English at a School and a week in Aurangabad as well. We spent January teaching then headed back to Australia in February.
Our house was still rented out at that time so we decided to buy a campervan and travel in Australia for a while. We took 6 weeks to travel down the coast from Coolum to Bathurst stopping at nearly every beach on the way. We then stayed in Bathurst for 6 weeks while Louise’s Brother and Sister and their partners went on holiday in the US, so we stayed with Louise’s Mother. It was during this time that we were offered the job in Vietnam. It was a 12 month placement ongoing for both of us. We headed back to Queensland to work and prepare for the position with the Australian partners of the school. We sold the camper van and re-rented our house and took off for Ho Chi Mein City, Vietnam. We started teaching in July 2009. It all seemed to be going well for the first month or two, then the Vietnamese partner started behaving oddly and over the next 2 months was asking us to leave. We started to get good results with the students so it was very surprising to both us and the Australian partners. In the end they cut our wages in half and that is when we decided it was time to leave. We spent another month in Vietnam travelling up and down the coast before we had to return to Australia for our Niece’s wedding in November. Arriving back in Australia disappointed and frustrated we decided we need a holiday to get over it.
We ended up travelling from Melbourne to Perth, delivering Campervans and doing the Great Ocean Road, the Nullabore and Margaret River region on the way. We spent a week in Perth enjoying the city and the area before we realised we needed to get our lives back on track. So we flew back to Canberra and have been staying with Louise’s Brother and his family since. We don’t get our house back until May now so we have bought a car and taken jobs here for the time being and are applying for Government positions in the meantime. If we get government jobs we may stay in Canberra and buy an apartment or we may move back to Coolum to be back in our own house once more.
All in all, it has been an incredible journey and we have been incredibly lucky to be able to do it. Looking forward to the next one, whenever that may be.
All the best for now.
Ric & Louise