Ann and Brad's Great Adventure travel blog

Boston, MA

From the majestic views of the Taj Mahal in India to the wilds of rural Laos, from the rumbling buses of China to the peaceful beaches of VietNam, from the ornate palaces of Bangkok to the harrowing Killing Fields of Cambodia, we saw it all. Now, after a week of being at home, it all seems to be so distant, and yet so much more real. Back in the land of refrigeration, ample toilet paper, hot showers, and personal vehicles, no one shouts "Change money?! Change money?!" after us, but neither do they smile and greet us on the street. Seems that the United States we left three months ago is largely the same one we've returned to. The big question is: have we changed?

I don't think there were any real epiphanies or life altering moments of clarity. We weren't in a campaign to save the world or bring religion to the unenlightened -nothing that grand. We were merely gadding about seeing what this corner of the world has to offer. We did however, travel with open minds and hearts, welcoming different peoples, ideas, and cultures to shape our view of the world. With the behemoths of China and India lumped in, we visited nearly 43% of the world's population -and the large majority of them were happy to see us. We were greeted with bright faces and warm smiles nearly everywhere we went. Despite the language and cultural hurdles, our differences did more to bring us together than drive us apart, and this is a fantastic lesson to bring back home with us.

Days now are routine -or at least uninteresting. It has been disturbingly easy to fall and get lost again in the whirlpool of the mundane. Experiences abroad were the complete opposite -every day we were exposed to something extraordinary, unlike what we had seen or heard the day before. Every day we talked to someone different, saw a different place, ate different foods, were touched by different people's stories and opened our minds to different ways of life. With such diversity here at home, certainly the same is possible, yet much more difficult to achieve. Hopefully now we'll be more apt to take those tentative first steps.

No doubt we have grown as individuals on this trip, but much more importantly, we have grown together. While I wouldn't recommend that every young marriage subject itself to shoestring travel in distant, unknown lands, it was perfect for us. With the exception of an odd hour here or there, we spent the entirety of three months within arm's reach of each other. Sure, there were a few bickers and squabbles, but those have been far eclipsed by all the learning, laughter, and love we've shared. We are so happy that you've all been able to share this experience with us, and we hope that it has helped to broaden your outlook on life, as it has ours. We would like to thank everyone for following along and for all the love, support, and encouragement along the way. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

Life's like a movie
Write your own ending
Keep believing
Keep pretending
We've done just what we've set out to do!

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