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Published: June 25th 2017
Flying into Another Sunset
We captured this image as we were returning to Bangkok, the starting point overseas of this adventure. It is for us another sunset, which leads to another sunrise, and the start of another adventure a little ways down the road. Ain't it good to be alive?
A few years ago there had been a very clever advertisement directed at travellers who have completed their careers, and finished raising their families, but have not in the process lost their youthful spirit of adventure, and are now set to pick up where they left off - way back when they had no responsibilities - and continue their global wandering. It featured a plane taking off into the sunset and was accompanied by the caption "Remember when the kids wanted to run away from home?"
We thought about finding that image and posting it on this final blog entry, but decided instead to use one of our own photos, captured as we flew our own skies, into the new sunsets and sunrises that await us. And we are not running away from anything. Instead, we are running into anything and everything that presents itself.
This adventure has been amazing, and anyone who has read even a few of the twenty seven entries posted will not be surprised to hear that this is not intended to be "the trip of a lifetime", but rather the beginning of a new life style for us.
As we prepare for our return home, we are not thinking of settling back into anything too solid. Instead, we are shifting our perspectives and thinking of our return to family and friends in Canada and beautiful Saskatchewan, land of a thousand skies and strong, warm people, as just another slightly longer stop on this trip.
Although I do not consider myself an avid fan of David Letterman, it seems appropriate to borrow his Top Ten List format to feature the highlights of this particular adventure. However, I simply could not narrow it down to ten, so my list reads "Top Fifteen." Nor was I able to determine a particular order of importance - way too stressful - so I listed my highlights, instead, in the order in which they happened. As for Stan, he wants you to know that he agrees with everything, and fully adopts this list as his own. To which I will add that he is just slacking off - he didn't even climb Adam's Peak! But you get the picture.
The Top Fifteen Highlights of the Dreamchasers Adventure
1. Climbing the 5,200 steps, 7 km up the mountain in the middle of the night to Adam's Peak, in Dalhousie, Sri Lanka, also known as Sri Padha, or Sacred Footprint, believed to be the last point where the Buddha touched the earth before he died, and being part of and witness to a Buddhist pilgrimage in action.
2. Visiting Pondicherry, India and the various settings that were introduced in the novel The Life of Pi.
3. Boating through the beautiful backwaters in the province of Kerala, India.
4. Discovering the architecture and natural beauty of energetic, vibrant, and very modern, Mumbai, India, as well as the diverse economy and tenacity of Dharavi, Asia's largest slum, in Mumbai.
5. Living on a houseboat on Dal Lake, and being treated like royalty by our hosts in Srinagar, Kashmir, India.
6. Sharing a meal with 500 others and helping wash dishes afterwards at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
7. Visiting The Taj Mahal in Agra, India.
8. Visiting Varanasi, the oldest city in India, and experiencing daily life along its ancient, narrow alleyways, as well as witnessing the cremation ceremonies along the shores of its sacred Ganges River.
9. Jumping off a cliff, paragliding in Pokhara, Nepal, and getting a take-your-breath away closer look at the Himalayas from the skies.
10. Never-a-dull moment river rafting, for the first time ever, through the wicked fast, but warm, level 3 and 4 river rapids of the Trisuli River near Pokhara, Nepal.
11. Hiking in the Himalayas.
12. Flying around Mount Everest.
13. Getting my birthday wish and swimming with the big turtles at the Gili Islands, Indonesia on my birthday.
14. Getting my second birthday wish and performing at Gili Trawangan's renowned Fortuna Music Club on my birthday.
15. Shopping, shopping, shopping. Everywhere we went, looking at the items for sale presented fabulous insights into that area's culture, and provided hours of entertainment. Having said that, I must also share that we travelled more than two months before buying anything. That is, until we arrived in Kashmir, India, where the quality of the merchandise far exceeded everything we had previously seen, and the experience of shopping was a cultural immersion course in itself. Same could be said for shopping in Varanasi, India. As for Indonesia, the artwork and design as well was astounding, and very difficult to resist. So we go home with heavier bags than we arrived with, like all travellers do, and look forward to putting up the artwork soon that will remind us every day of where we have been, and the good memories that were created there.
In the past four months we have travelled 51,270 kilometres (31,558 miles). Over 45,800 kilometres, or 28,458 miles, of that distance has been travel by air. The remaining 5,470 kilometres, or 3,398 miles, were travelled over land, via rail, bus, automobile, tuk-tuk, rickshaw, motor scooter and bicycle, as well as a few boat trips. We have visited six countries, and twenty six cities, and have had the opportunity to get insights into many previously unfamiliar cultures. In the process, having seen so much diversity, I remain even more convinced that we are all, in the end, more alike than we are different. And the most universal language of all remains the smiling face.
I have yet to see, across all these miles, these countries, and these many races, religions, and cultures, a smiling face that is not beautiful.
The search continues in 2014, when the Dreamchasers pursue their next adventure.
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