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Life decisions and today

Greetings all! It has been a while since we last posted. It isn’t because the past month hasn’t been interesting, but it was much different than we anticipated. I figured by June 3rd we would have posted numerous blogs about our adventurous tour of the east coast of Australia; life however has a way of changing things.

I think most of you are aware that I have been dealing with a back/hip issue for our whole trip. Things got worse last November, but we were committed to seeing what this wonderful world has to offer. When we hit the road for the second leg of the trip it was with a “suck it up and deal with the pain” attitude (my words…not Autumn’s). While that approach worked for a while, eventually, it wore thin. Even with good meds and physical therapy, normal activities such as hiking, swimming, sleeping became a painful endeavor. Near the end of our time in New Zealand Autumn and I decided that we need to cut the trip short and head back to the US to get me healed. It wasn’t a lot of fun being on the far side of the world, taking the time and spending the money to be there, but not being able to do the activities we enjoy.

So, here we are. We are back in Minnesota enjoying the start of summer and spending a lot of time with doctors and in xray and MRI machines. I think we are finally getting clear on what the issue has been (tear in my hip) and what the path to healing looks like (potential surgery). It has been a long time coming, but it is nice to gain some clarity.

Both of us are very happy to be back with friends, family, and in places that are familiar. Autumn is pumped that we don’t have to research & plan out the details of our everyday such as where we are going to eat, sleep, and explore. That said, the further we get away from our travels the more dream-like they become. The phrase “did we actually do that?” has come up more times than I can count. It is very easy to fall back into routines, which emphasizes the need for us to continue to remember the amazing things we were fortunate enough to see and do.

When reflecting back on our adventures we can honestly say that neither of us have any regrets. We understand that a trip like that isn’t for everyone, but the growth in knowledge and experience that we gained far outweighed any of the difficulties we faced along the way.

We want to thank you for following us throughout our journey and for all of the kind words and support that you provided along the way. I don’t think we will be rushing out to do it again in the near term, but more travel (of shorter duration) is definitely on the horizon!  We would be happy to share insights, stories, pictures, or recommendations if anyone is interested. There is truly a great big wonderful world out there that we encourage you all to explore. If we can assist in helping you do that, just let us know!

Until we meet again!

Drew and Autumn

The North Island of NZ

From the South Island we took the InterIslander Ferry to Wellington. This ferry was MASSIVE and I’d be more apt to call it a cruise ship due to the fact that it had numerous restaurants and two movie theaters. On the 3.5 hour ride the views were lovely as usual…..are you sick of me saying how pretty it is yet?


Wellington, as with most of the towns on the North Island, was basically a blur.  We didn’t stay here long and we didn’t do much but eat, drive (this part of NZ is pretty, but is nothing compared to the south island for views), and sleep. So, I will skip to the more exciting adventures.

Haku Falls and Dam is one of New Zealand’s most photographed spots.  It was very nice, but really we weren’t THAT impressed. It is a very accessible attraction and it’s free, so we are guessing that is maybe the reason. Once again…beautiful, but the amount of tourists kind of turned us off.



The walk up to the dam was much quieter which allowed us to enjoy the beauty more.

The next day we checked out the Wai-O-Tapo hot pools.  This interesting place is covered in steamy geysers, bubbling water, 100 degree celsius pools, and a rotten egg stench you won’t soon forget! Seriously. Sulfur is stinky stuff.  Anywho, our little trek left us warm, enlightened, and happy we don’t live anywhere near the central North Island area ; )


The minerals in this area create pretty awesomely colored ponds though….


Last, but not least, we visited HOBBITON! For all you Lord of the Rings and Hobbit lovers this place is a dream come true. Drew and I aren’t like complete nerds (aka we didn’t wear costumes), but we had a fantastic time geeking out in the Shire.  It definitely helped that the film set is located on the most spectacular 1,250 acre farm and that the day was mostly sunny.  Check it out!

Hobbit homes : )


Bilbo Baggins house…


We fit!

Had to stop at the Green Dragon Inn for a quick beer too. This is a seriously awesome place! Drew wants to fashion a bar in the U.S. like this and I just want to have a study/library in my house in this style.


Hobbiton was definitely my favorite part of our quick journey through the North Island!

Wrapping up the South Island

Drive to Christchurch, Train ride, Kaikoura

After dropping off Mama and Papa D we were teed up for a 4.5 hour drive to Geraldine. As seems typical for driving in New Zealand the 4.5 hour drive turned into a 7 hour drive. It’s just so difficult when the scenery is so BEAUTIFUL. Honestly, you could look every direction and there would be some awe inspiring vista at each turn. Check it out….

Mount Cook was stunning and a great place to stop for a little lake-side nap.

We also stopped to watch a few sassy, male red deer who were butting heads/antlers.

The next scenic adventure was our train ride from Christchurch to Picton. This was a comfortable, convenient ride and it was nice because Drew could fully enjoy the scenery! (Not to mention that we couldn’t stop the train every time we wanted to get out to soak in the scenery, so we stayed on a tight schedule).

We did have a scheduled stop in Kaikoura. This is a small beach town about halfway to Picton.

Drew and I found out that Kaikoura draws people in with their whale and dolphin watching tours (whalfin tours as I like to call them).  We hopped on a speed boat on a sun shiney day and were greeted by four whale sightings!

The Sperm Whales were cool to see but the Dusky Dolphins and Common Dolphins stole the show!!! There were some where around 100 dolphins in the pod and they were definitely having fun.  They were jumping, flipping, spinning, flopping their tails, and all sorts of other crazy antics. Some were just having fun while others were using these tricks as tactile fishing maneuvers.

Dolphin watching in Kaikoura

We said goodbye to the whalfins, stayed the night in Kaikoura, then jumped back on the train to finish our time on the South Island. IT WAS FANTASTIC and we can’t wait for people to ask us what to do when visiting there. : ) Or invite us to vacation with them….we’d do it in a heartbeat!!

Continuing through the South Island of NZ

The weather and drive to Lake Hawea were right on the money. There were a few clouds rolling in, but it just added to the great scenery. Our ocean views continued for a while before the road turned inland and back through the mountains.

A few scenery shots.

That evening we arrived at our Airbnb in Hawea and we were treated to a fantastic sunset right out the back door of our house!

We took advantage of our house sitting next to the water to explore the waterfront and walk several of the trails along the lake. We also made a lunch/shopping stop at the popular town of Lake Wanaka. Our stay was much too short here, but full of beautiful sights!

From Hawea we headed to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand… Given that my back has been in rough shape these last 3 months we didn’t partake in anything too crazy. We did make it up, however, by going to several vineyards, Arrow Town, Milford Sound, the Kiwi Center, as well as enjoying the sights and foods that Queenstown has to offer. Instead of me droning on, here is what I am talking about:

View from our Airbnb



Arrow Town

Drive to Milford Sound

Milford Sound cruise

Lovely Queenstown

Sadly, Queenstown is where we dropped off Momma and Papa D for their journey back to the states. We had a blast with them in this crazy wonderful place. (FYI Dan, it is now your turn to vacation with mom and dad.) Just playing. No, but really it is your turn.

Christchurch, Hokitika, and Franz Josef


Christchurch is the third most populated city in New Zealand.  We flew here to begin our journey, but we mostly thought of Christchurch as a place to rest our heads and cure our jetlag. Bob and Sue arrived a day later than we did and greatly appreciated the spacious Hagley Park after 20+ hours in a plane.  The park had stunning oak tree lined paths and so many varieties of trees/plants/flowers for us to admire.

Hagley Park

The city of Christchurch was hit by a huge earthquake in 2011 and unfortunately, it is still overwhelmed by reconstruction efforts.

We took the trolley as far as it would take us, so we could see some of the reconstruction efforts and explore the newly redone Art Museum.

After a couple of days relaxing we began the main part of our trip. The first day we decided to hit it hard and start our 3.5 hour journey to Hokitika (a coast to coast journey). To say the drive was awesome would be an understatement….we stopped so many times that 3.5 hours turned into 6 hours!

Our first official stop was Castle Hill. This was a formation of hundreds of boulders that emitted a power and profoundness that livened our spirits. It was truly a remarkable stop and we HIGHLY RECOMMEND setting aside some serious time to soak in the magic of this place.

On the road again….

We stopped again for lunch and a short, steep hike up to The Devil’s Punch Bowl.

Hokitika was our final destination and we made it just in time for sunset on the enormous, drift wood strewn beach.

Our house was only a block from the beach, so we spent our time drifting around the beach the next day. Bob & Sue had a great time collecting unique rocks and listening to the crashing waves. Then, we of course went back again for sunset.

A short drive brought us to the Hokitika Gorge. After an easy 10 minute walk through a tropical jungle we arrived at the gorge.

And over a swing bridge. Bob is supposedly afraid of heights, but he did great!

The gorge was filled with this odd milky, blue water. It has this unique color because it is glacial run off and picks up rock dust as it flows into the river. We had a lot of fun using the beautiful setting for our numerous photo ops!

The next day we headed to the Franz Josef Glacier. The day was cloudy with rain on & off, but we didn’t mind because the weather added to the mystic of the ominous mountains on our hike to the glacier.

In my opinion the 45 minute hike up the river basin to the glacier was even better than viewing the glacier itself! Everywhere you looked there were waterfalls flowing in as well as incredible mountain views.

Okay…the glacier was pretty cool too!

As apparently is common around the glacier, it rained pretty steadily the whole walk back to the car.

After our hike it proceeded to rain an insane amount!! For hours and hours into the evening it poured. Luckily, we were nice and cozy in our farm cottage just outside of Franz Josef.  We had timed the hike perfectly! Tomorrow we are headed to Lake Hawea and our research tells us this is going to be another spectacular drive : )


Oh Bali… You have many faces with all sorts of good, bad, and ugly. Depending on the location and time a single place could be a mix of all three.

One of the main reasons for our travels to Bali was to meet up with our good friends Amber and Reid Hanson. Autumn and I arrived early for our meet up and decided to spend a couple of days on the island of Nusa Lembongan which lies just off of the east coast of Bali. The island itself is fairly small, but was said to have great scuba diving and some very nice sunsets. We found a nice little guesthouse a few blocks off of the beach that suited our needs quite nicely. Our days consisted of reading, swimming, scuba diving, and just relaxing. Since we misplaced/lost our underwater camera I don’t have any scuba diving shots to share with you, but I saw plenty of fish as well as a large Manta Ray. That is the first Manta that I have seen while diving and it didn’t disappoint. It is amazing how they just glide through the water with little to no effort even at probably 11 feet across. They are very magical creatures.

nusa sunset nusa seaweed farm nusa sunset

After our little hideout on Nusa Lembongan, we took the ferry back to Bali. I would highly recommend the ferry company Scoot. They were incredibly helpful, reasonably priced, had fast ferries, and best of all, dropped us off at our hotel in Lembongan as well as our Airbnb in Ubud after the return ride. It made transitioning SO much easier and saved us the cost of a taxi ride.

Once the Hanson’s arrived it was adventure time. We did a number of things, but some of the highlights are below. Let’s start with the Elephant Cave Temple and the Monkey Forest Temple. These temples were both highly rated to do’s in the Ubud area. The Elephant Temple was a totally different style temple than what we had seen in Thailand, so it was interesting to compare. As opposed to the Thai temples which had one large building as the focal point, the Elephant Temple was more open with smaller areas for worship.

elephant cave elephant cave

Oh, and the other difference is that everyone had to wear sarongs here. I think Reid and I pulled them off well. 🙂

boys and sarongs

After the Elephant Temple we stopped for the Luwak Coffee tour which was next to the temple. For those of you who are unaware, Luwak coffee is quite unique since the coffee beans are first eaten and pooped out by Asian palm civets (kind of a mix between a raccoon and a cat). The civets sniff out the best coffee berries to eat and then their digestive track removes the first layer of the coffee bean. This process makes Luwak the most expensive coffee in the world. Even the fact that it felt like 102 degrees outside couldn’t stop us from giving it a try. They like to say that Italy did not introduce cappuccinos but that the Luwak “cat-poo-cinos” were the first!

tea time catpoocino

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary was up next. Amber knew ahead of time that this was going to be the highlight of her trip. We were all impressed by the crazy, hairy beasts!  There were monkeys everywhere including some adorable baby monkeys. Awwwwww!

baby monkey awww cute

There was some pretty neat stone work as well.

monkey sanctuary monkey sanctuary

The walk back up from the Holy Spring in the ravine.

river walk with monkeys

All of that hanging with the monkeys made us hungry so we grabbed a bite to eat at Bebek Bengil overlooking some beautiful rice paddies.

Rice paddy lunch paddy

We went exploring to some of the beaches on the east side of the island, namely Bloo Lagoon and White Sand Beach. While we had high hopes, they were quickly tossed aside like the massive amounts of garbage that covered the beach and was floating in the water. Totally disgusting as well as very sad. I did get some good underwater shots with our new camera (thanks Amber and Reid for delivering!).

turtle bloo lagoon fish fish

Once relocated to the Seminyak area we spent some time on a huge and beautiful Seminyak beach.

hansons waves seminyak beachboys

Oh and the coolest kite ever!

pirate kite

Our time with Amber and Reid went much too quickly, and we took far too few pictures.  The Hansons might have a few more we can steal, but their pictures were pointing at our food most of the time! We dined like foodie kings, partied at THE club in Seminyak, haggled hard at the local market, enjoyed our open-air concept villa with a pool, drank a few sassy drinks & tons of Bintang, found the perfect Mexican restaurant, and did a ton of sweating. Thanks for saving us from our Southeast Asia slump, Amber & Reid!!! We had a BLAST 🙂


The next two days Drew and I moved to the Jimbaran beach area.  After dropping our bags we went directly to the beach to enjoy their famous seaside, seafood restaurants.  There were 6 or 7 restaurants along the beach and all of them basically have the same menu: bbq seafood. We picked a restaurant solely based on whether there was a table with SHADE!! The food was delicious, cheap, and had an awesome view of the quiet Jimbaran beach.  We came back to this same place the next day for the bbq clams…so tasty!

Sunset was approaching, so we headed back towards the beach. But, this time the beach was packed! They had tons of tables set up, tour busses in the parking lots, and people were everywhere.  We managed to get a table 20 feet from the water, so the hordes of people didn’t block the view too much.

jimbaran sunset

Little did we all know that the surf was really rough and pretty soon the waves were gushing up to the table, then thankfully heading back out.  We didn’t mind, but the people next to us were a little frazzled. I found out the next day just how strong the surf is when I got demolished by a large wave.  I was totally fine, but in my attempt to get the hell off the ocean floor I lost my hat and sunglasses. Shit! Thank goodness we were leaving for New Zealand tomorrow.

On that note….Drew and I couldn’t be happier to be leaving Southeast Asia.  We are so thankful for the sweet, kind, and incredibly smiley Balinese people, but we are so sick of sweating!  It’s been almost two full months of 90+ temps and high humidity.  We are off to New Zealand’s South Island for a fun (and cooler) adventure with Bob and Sue Dale!!  Let the Dale fun begin : )

Litchfield National Park

Day 1

Litchfield National Park is a much smaller park and definitely more accessible than Kakadu with most of the roads/trails open for 2WD vehicles. Due to this fact we had heard that it could be considered the more beautiful of the two parks. I would argue that they are different and offer different things which in my eyes makes them equal. That said, the waterfalls and vistas that were accessible during the wet season were quite impressive. There was a lot we wanted to see, so we planned to spend two days exploring everything slowly versus rushing through. It would turn out to be a wise idea.

litchfield sign

We arrived from Kakadu in the late afternoon on Saturday and stayed at a mediocre (at best) motel in the town of Bachelor about 5ish miles from the park boundary. Nothing fancy, but a good kicking off point.

On the drive through Kakadu and into Litchfield we had seen lots of HUGE termite mounds of varying shapes. These were pretty cool because they loomed large throughout the savannah woodlands. Inside Litchfield there was a specific termite mound viewing area we thought would be cool for some pictures. We were kind of right. The half a dozen mounds were interesting enough, but we saw everything in about 5 minutes. The unique thing about these were that they were built in a north-south direction which always kept one side of the mound shaded and thus climate controlled. Pretty neat nature at work.

North-South Termite Mounds Magnetic Termite mound Tall termite mounds!

From there we headed to the Buley Rockhole for some swimming. There were lots of cars in the parking lot, but we really didn’t know what to expect. Turns out it was a long series of waterfalls which had carved out deep washouts below almost every little falls. The holes themselves were anywhere from 2 ft to 15 ft deep and nice and cool. We had a blast lounging and soaking up the sun and water.

buley waterfalls drew and buleyautum in buley

After that we moved a mile down the road to Florence Falls to hang out under a BIG waterfall. There were lots of locals swimming and enjoying along with a few tourists. Some of locals were jumping off the top of the falls which is about 60-70 ft! Crazy considering that they had to climb up in between the two waterfalls over wet, steep rocks.

florence falls

After an enjoyable time hanging in the water we headed for Wangi Falls for a bite of lunch and to soak in the sights. Due to the wet season, Wangi Falls was not open for swimming, but they made an impressive sight nonetheless!

us wangi fallsrainbows and waterfalls

Close to both Florence and Wangi Falls there were lots of very large bats roosting in trees. Totally cool and yet a little eerie.

We wrapped up the first day by staying at a quaint little resort with small cabins and lots of Wallabies hanging around. We were treated to wallaby watching while a huge storm moved in with lots of lightning courtesy of the Lighting Man.

Watching the storm roll in Sunset Storm Wallaby Wallaby sneak attack


Day 2

Our second day in Litchfield was reserved for the remaining lookouts/tourist spots that we missed on day 1. First stop Tolmer Falls. Tolmer Falls lookout is an amazing view from above a waterfall that was the tallest we saw the whole trip. I’m not sure the pictures will do it justice, but here goes:

Tolmer Falls Tolmer Falls (closer shot)

After a quick stop for lunch we headed to the upper Cascade Falls which was a 3.6km round trip to the top of the falls. Not only was the temperature in the upper 90’s, but the humidity made it feel like 108 degrees. Quite hot on the walk up, but getting in the falls at the top was worth it. Besides, the walk back down was easier and was much cooler thanks to a rainstorm that came through. 🙂

We had planned on driving north through the park and going a different way back to Darwin, but we soon learned about what the wet season does to roads. It didn’t take us very long before we came to a spot where the river was 1-2ft deep and flowing right over top of the dirt road. While it was an easy decision to turn around, neither Autumn nor me looked forward to the extra 100 km’s we had to backtrack to get to Darwin.

We made it back to Darwin in one piece, checked back into our hotel, and then enjoyed one and a half free days before we headed for Bali. Much needed rest as well as good air conditioning!

Kakadu National Park

As most of you know, Autumn and I are big fans of natural sights and wildlife. Instead of hopping a plane from Thailand to Singapore or the like, we decided that we wanted to head for some more natural places. Enter Kakadu. Kakadu is a very large (7,642 square miles) jointly managed National Park as well as a world heritage site. What’s really neat is that it falls within Aboriginal owned territory, but has been leased back to the government to allow for tourism and joint management. It was the first park to be “joint managed” which means that all management done within the park is done in cooperation with the local people and their laws and traditions. That philosophy seems to make perfect sense considering the Aboriginal people are the longest living people with confirmed history and culture going back 50,000 – 60,000 years. They say they have lived on this land since creation, which if you ask me, gives them a pretty good idea of how to manage things.

kakadu kakadu

We arrived at the end of the wet season, which means a little more limited access to things, but hardly any other tourists around. It is incredibly quiet, and full of color and life. On the drive over from Darwin we were treated to 50+ wallabies grazing here or there on the sides of the roads. A few were curious enough of our bright yellow car to stick around for a picture, but most of them bounded back into the brush before we could snap a picture. In addition to the wallabies, we also saw a pair of Emus. They were right on the edge of the brush and then went bobbing and weaving back into the grass. Add in plenty of birds including cockatoos, kites, doves, and lots of others I can’t name and you have an abundance of wildlife to keep us amazed during the drive over.


One of the things that we try to do when we visit places like this is to get involved in guided tours if possible. Not like huge tour groups, but small local tours where there is real knowledge to be gleamed about where we are, what we are seeing, and what it means. To that end, we stopped by the Bowali Visitors Center on our way into the park and found a couple of Ranger led activities that we then planned our days around.

The first was a crocodile discussion held in the aptly named (and shaped) Crocodile Hotel in the small town of Jabiru. We spent about 1.5 hours learning about Crocodiles (both fresh and saltwater) and asking all sorts of questions about them. Did you know that Crocodiles have teeth within teeth? It’s crazy, if a Crocodile loses a tooth, there is another one right behind it that will start showing within a couple of days. How crazy is that? We learned a ton of great information, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of what there is to know about these amazing animals.

salty croc

The second Ranger activity we participated in was the Nourlangie rock art discussions. First of all, the Nourlangie rock area is BEAUTIFUL! There is an amazing escarpment which stands tall in the background and has plenty of hidden areas and caves. It is a truly powerful place where you can feel the incredible nature that surrounds you. The talks themselves were very informative as well. They covered everything from Aboriginal law, land and family, to ancient artifacts and the living heritage that is the Aboriginal culture. The artwork and the language form parts of the greater tapestry of the Aboriginal people. As an aside, the Ranger that we had for both talks was a gentleman by the name of Christian and he was an excellent guide who is incredibly passionate about the subjects of his discussions. Be very glad if you get him.

nourlangie rock art

Afterwards we moved south towards Cooinda and the Yellow River.  Drew and I got a Buy One Get One 75% off cruise deal, so we could do a sunset river cruise as well as a sunrise river cruise.  We boarded the extra large pontoon at 4:30pm in hopes of catching a croc heading out for his evening dinner. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot one : (

But, we did see tons of blue, purple, & white flowering water lilies. Not to mention stunning views of the immense wetland.

A few Jabiru or Black Necked Storks.

Jabiru Stork

Numerous Darter birds….when drying out their feathers they summon the energy of Batman.


We also saw a snake hanging out in a tree, many Magpie Geese, Forest Kingfishers, Sea Eagles, and a few Cockatoos.

Magpie Goose

There were also a few Jesus bird sightings! The bird’s real name is Comb-Crested Jacana. It has extremely long toes that help it to walk on lily pads which in turn makes it seem like it is walking on water. Get it? Jesus bird? Walks on water!! HA. Anyways…


The guide’s commentary was a little lack-luster and his creature spotting abilities were a bit slow, but in all we were happy to be going again in the morning. With views like this who could complain?!?!

Billabong Sunrise Billabong Sunrise

The morning was a basic rinse and repeat, BUT with a fun surprise at the end. A CROCODILE!!! Now crocodiles can get up to 20-25 feet long. This guy, or likely lady, was about 8 or 9 feet long. Not a huge lunker by any means, but definitely impressive to both Drew and I!

Ginga! Salt Water Croc (Ginga)

After a late breakfast we packed up and prepared for a 3.5 hour drive to Litchfield. We were fully prepared to spend the next few hours scouting for wildlife!


We arrived in Darwin, the biggest town in “the top end” which is what the locals call the northern part of the Northern Territories. Darwin is a nice small city with a good sized business district as well as shopping, hotels, and bars/restaurants. They have recently done a huge redevelopment on the South East corner of the city. It is now full of restaurants and businesses as well as a wave pool which no fewer than 4 people said we should go use. Since we were exhausted, laying out in the sun floating in a wave pool was way way down the list of priorities. Maybe another time.

After spending most of the first day resting up, we caught a beautiful sunset and some dinner at the Ski Club. The next day was when we decided to see a little more of Darwin and do some walking around the East Point Nature Reserve where we had heard there are wallabies. It was a beautiful walk along the coast and then back across some nice pastures where there were plenty of horses and, much to our delight, WALLABIES!!! Unfortunately for you all, that evening we forgot our camera sitting on a wall after we were done watching the sunset and alas it was gone when we returned to find it. Bummer, but not a major bummer as we only lost one day of pictures. A mere inconvenience.

Tomorrow is when we pick up the car and head from Kakadu National Park (amongst others). After taking public or taxi transportation for a month plus, I am ready to get behind a steering wheel again!

The Pivot

So you know the phrase “rules are meant to be broken”? Well up until recently I was unaware that the word “plans” could replace “rules” in certain situations.

Autumn and I had been having a good time in Thailand when I was knocked down and out by a rough bout of Thailand Tummy (traveler’s diarrhea plus some). I had the first inkling of it in Pai, but it came fast and furious as soon as we got back to Chiang Mai on March 9th. Our travel plans had us flying to Yangon Myanmar at 5pm on the 10th, which was now suspect. After a very rough night with little sleep and more sickness, my wonderful wife decided that we were not leaving Chiang Mai until I was better. I actually told her that I was “good enough” to travel 9 hours, but she overruled me. The winning point was her position that she felt much more comfortable in Thailand versus Myanmar if I ultimately needed to see a doctor. Point Autumn.

While things didn’t get better too quickly, I did start recovering slowly which gave us an opportunity to relook at our plans since we had already missed our initial flight. What interest I had left in exploring SE Asia left me (along with everything else) so we said “enough of Southeast Asia”. So, we decided to do a quick 10 day trip to Darwin in the Northern Territories of Australia.

We had not been planning on going to Australia until May, but the long list of things we wanted to see/do meant that we could sneak in some adventures if we went to Darwin now. Australia has been on the top of my bucket list forever so I have been advocating hard to spend lots of time here. By making this change we can get a few things crossed off the list in a country where we really wanted to go without interfering with our other plans. Awesome!

We were pumped about the decision. A little while later we had tickets and were primed to hit the road. Unfortunately… Thailand wanted to make sure we didn’t forget them before we left.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time for our flight, checked our bags, and headed toward security and immigration. Security? No problem. Immigration? Problem…

Turns out that foreign countries don’t like it when you overstay the time on your travel visa. The immigration officer handed us off to the police so we could receive our fines and paperwork. We were each fined 1,000 Baht (about $28) for overstaying 2 days in Thailand. That wouldn’t have been an issue, but we only had 1,890 Baht left from our travels. Shoot. Back down the stairs we went, exchanged ten whole US dollars, then went back up, through security again, and paid the fine. Whew! Good thing we give ourselves lots of time at the airport in case things go sideways.

All in all I think we handled things quite well and rolled with the punches instead of getting worked up about it. Lesson learn; although I’m not sure how we could have handled the immigration thing differently.

Anywho, we made it to Darwin safely and are about to enjoy a great first day!