Welcome to our travelblog page. We initally called ourselves "AfricaBound" because we spent a year traveling around Africa from August 2007 to August 2008. At that time, little did we even think that we could go on another extended trip. Somehow through much perseverance and determination we were able to save up for yet another extended trip, this time as sort of a honeymoon. Our current itinerary has us traveling from July 2010 until December 2011 through Central Asia, China, New Zealand, Australia and then back up to SE Asia, Nepal, India and then finally Japan.

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Kathie & Jordan

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary December 15th 2011

Have we mentioned that time flies? We’ve been back home for 10 days now and we’ve been busy catching up with friends and family and getting our “normal” lives back in order. We’re currently staying with Jordan’s parents until we figure out whether we want to rent a condo as we did before (perhaps even in the same building), or if we’re ready to take the plunge into home ownership in this real estate obsessed city. Fortunately we both managed to get jobs back with the same companies we worked for before the trip and we’ll be starting those on January 9. We even returned home to the same cell phone and vehicle that we’d left behind. Same city, same jobs, same car, same phone number…honestly it feels like we never left. 500 days, 18 countries, ... read more
Machapuchare by moonlight
Great Wall of China
Young monk in the rain

Asia » Japan » Nagano December 5th 2011

So this is it, the final highlight in what has been a busy but enjoyable three weeks in Japan. It's funny, we've seen so many monkeys in so many different places and our conclusion has always been "we do not like monkeys". Sure, they look cute at first, but really they are unpredictable little trouble makers. We still have not forgiven that baboon in Samburu National Park (Kenya) that stole our chocolate bar and ate it in front of us 3 years ago... Somehow though, the thought of these cute little furry creatures with beet red faces relaxing at the spa seemed too much to pass up. So we made our way to Yudanaka Onsen to see what these “snow monkeys” are all about. I don't know of anywhere else in the World where monkeys live ... read more
Drying off by the fire
baby snow monkeys

Asia » Japan » Aichi » Nagoya November 30th 2011

We've been busy lately, racing around the country using Japan's amazing train network. And thanks to our Japan Rail pass, we can use the trains as much as we want. So we'll start with Kyoto where we really only spent one day of tourism despite spending three nights in the city. That's probably sacrilege considering Kyoto is considered by many to be the best city in the whole country. We have our reasons for this which we'll get to shortly. For the day we had booked 8 hours of private guide service to show us around which was apparently enough to take us to 3 or 4 highlights. Just a small slice of what Kyoto has to offer. So we started out with the most famous site in Kyoto, Kinkaku-ji temple or the Golden Pavilion followed ... read more
Dotombori lights
Size mis-match?

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama November 22nd 2011

Japan is renouned for its beauty any time of year, but there are two seasons in particular that attract a lot of attention. While we were unable to time our visit with the spring cherry blossoms this time around, we were very excited at the prospect of seeing the Japanese maple in all of its autumn glory. Kawaguchiko is one of the most popular places to view Mt. Fuji due to its acessability and beautiful natural setting. As luck would have it, we arrived just in time for the final two days of the Autumn Leaves Festival. In the afternoon we rented bicycles and rode around to the North side of the lake where the festivities were taking place. It was a crisp fall afternoon with a mix of sun and cloud. Unfortunately it was also ... read more
Matsumoto Castle
fall colors in Takayama

Asia » Japan » Tokyo November 17th 2011

Our first impressions of Japan? Wow! After flying in from Delhi, it's like night and day. We're not trying to be disrespectful to India, but Delhi and Varanasi are two of the dirtiest and noisiest places we've been to. Our impressions are only enhanced by the fact that Tokyo is amazingly spotless. Coming into town on the train from Narita airport we couldn't help but notice that there was not a single piece of trash along the railway tracks...not on the streets, not anywhere! Walking around town was even more of an eye-opener. We could actually walk...on wide sidewalks...without looking at our feet the whole time. And's eerily quiet too. Sure there's plenty of traffic on the roads, but in the three days we spent in Tokyo we only once heard a horn. Traffic obeys ... read more
Kaminarimon Gate
Big tunas
Shibuya crossing

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi November 11th 2011

India and Nepal must be two of the most festive countries in the World. It seems no matter where we go here, they're either in the middle of a big festival or they're gearing up for the next one. Either that or we've just been incredibly lucky with the timing of our visits. This time as we arrived in Varanasi we were informed by our tuk tuk driver of our good fortune. Kartik Purnima (or Dev Deepawali) is a Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon day of Kartik (November-December). It celebrates the arrival of Gods and Goddess on Earth, and this year it happened to fall on November 10th just in time for our visit! At first we weren't sold on Varanasi. It's one of those places that you see so many photos of and ... read more
Bathing ritual
lighting oil lamps

Asia » India » Punjab » Amritsar November 6th 2011

We arrived in Amritsar in the evening after a long travel day that was spent in jeeps followed by a train. Once checked into our hotel, we boarded cycle rickshaws and made our way to the Golden Temple, the holiest place of worship for Sikhs. It's an impressive place and is beautifully illuminated at night. We arrived in time to witness the daily ceremony where the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book) is transported from the temple to the Akal Takhat for the evening. We also experienced the "free kitchen" a communal dining area where anyone regardless of race or religion can eat for free 24 hours a day. It's an incredible operation where they are constantly serving food and clearing plates. The next morning we returned to the temple for sunrise, although we miscalculated ... read more
Getting the troops ready
Bathing at dawn
Golden temple at 5am

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Chamba Valley November 4th 2011

The past couple of weeks has taken us up North away from the crowds and pollution of Delhi and into the foothills of the Himalayas. It's been very laid back and relaxing; certainly a very different India than what one sees on the typical Golden Triangle route. Our first stop was Shimla, the former summer capital of the British Raj. We travelled along the Kalka-Shimla railway on what's known as the 'toy train'. It took us about 6 hours to cover the 96km distance and brought new meaning to the term 'scenic route'. Remarkably, the train climbs from a starting elevation of about 650 meters at Kalka all the way to nearly 2100 meters at Shimla with no less than 864 bridges and 103 tunnels along the way. We spent the next day in Shimla soaking ... read more
Trek to Khajjir
McLeod Ganj square
Bhagsu waterfall

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra October 24th 2011

Well, it's been an exciting and very busy introduction to India. We've been planning this section of our trip for quite some time now. Kathie's parents expressed some interest in joining us somewhere on our travels and the topic of India kept coming up. So back in April we finally went ahead and booked a couple of tours with Intrepid. At this point in our trip we're getting a bit tired of the constant logistics of booking accommodation, transport, itinerary planning, etc. So we figured it would be a nice change to book a tour and just be passengers for a while. We arrived in Delhi on the afternoon of the 16th and Kathie's folks arrived the next morning. It was an exciting reunion as we had not seen each other in over a year. We ... read more
Elephants at Amber Fort
humayan tomb 1
View of India gate

Asia » Nepal » Chitwan October 14th 2011

Our trip to Nepal would not be complete without an obligatory excursion to the famous Chitwan National Park. Chitwan supposedly boasts a great variety of animals including a healthy population of rhinos and tigers, but it’s not known for being the easiest place to spot them. Especially at this time of year, the grass is so tall and thick that spotting anything is nothing short of a miracle. Our closest encounters with wildlife were a few spotted deer and the odd bird or two. Really, the main reason to come to Chitwan is the experience of riding elephants through the jungle. And ride elephants we did, as we spent approximately 9 hours on the backs of these pachyderms over the course of 3 days. Riding through the forest was actually quite relaxing and tranquil. Jordan even ... read more
Sunrise over the river
Canoe ride
Tiger prints

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