In 2 short weeks HK and I will be on our way to Norway, and I’m telling you, it can’t come soon enough!  Here in Atlanta it has been in the 90’s for months already, and frankly, I am totally over the heat!  Last summer we spent 2 months in Vancouver, BC, and were grateful to escape the oven that we call home in the summertime. And although we had the 2 days of the hottest temps ever recorded in Vancouver (96F), we were at least able to cool ourselves in the refreshing waters of the Pacific.

Anyway, while gathering some essentials that I know we’ll need for our upcoming trip (rain gear and warm clothes–we’ll be traveling north of the Arctic Circle), I came across a crayon, partially melted, stuck in the deep recesses of my backpack. It was a reminder of a long-ago trip that HK and I took to Laos and Thailand several years ago. We had decided to “think outside the box” for our 10-year wedding anniversary, and eventually agreed on an independent kayak/backpack trip down the Mekong River, staying in local villages with none of the creature comforts we take for granted at home. We slept under mosquito netting on the floors of local villager’s homes, ate on the ground off of banana leaves and spoke none of the local language except to ask where the bathroom was (bathroom=hole in ground). The only running water we encountered in the villages was the cappuccino-colored water of the river, so you can imagine how we smelled after nearly a week.

Before we left on the trip, I tried to think of some little something that I could take that might endear me to the locals. (Yes, I like to feel endeared—imagine that). I knew we would encounter lots of children, so i decided that paper and crayons may be just the ticket.  I was right. During the course of our trip, the local kids would curiously poke their heads out of the windows of come just within 10 feet to get a better look at these blonde-haired, fair skinned foreigners. As soon as I got the crayons out and started coloring on my pad, they would gather around and want to draw a picture for me.  The icing was taking digital photos of them and letting them see themselves instantly in he viewfinder.

It was a tough journey, we both got stomach parasites and were exhausted at the end, but in hindsight, iIt really was a trip of a lifetime. I thought I’d share some of my memories from this adventure with you.  What are some of your favorite travel memories? I’d love to hear them!

note the Osama Bin Laden t-shirt.

"happy hour" enjoying rice wine

dinner smorgasbord

Christmas eve, 2002

checking us out from the safety of their hut

group shot!

Mother or Grandmother-not sure

public restroom

karaoke night