Samoa

Boulders near Maninoa beach in Samoa’s Upolu island, south coast

making a few ozzie friends

bruno practicing some traditional/pop Samoan dance moves

 

the overpriced and uncomfortable fale’s of Lalomanu. a flapping plastic tarp on a stormy, windy night? not good.

 

the gorgeous public buses of samoa

oooohhhhhh….aganoa how i miss u……..absolute paradise

our cozy fale

is this beach not perfect in every way???

 

we had a swim a nearby freshwater lagoon, with shrimp inside!

chris

 

 

what’s up jack

 

chilling out with the crew

me

where’s the wave, where is it

paradise, i insist

 

the crew, from left to right: bruno, luke, jack, chris, lou, alex, marty, and moi

bye samoa

Tonga

welcome to the pacific islands. this is the northwestern corner of Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu. Hatafu

 

typical burial mounds

through the village on the way to the beach. they really love their king…

recycling bins

it was the dog that insisted on getting on the board…

don’t we all get sleepy at work….here the local food market.

root vegetables are the most common crop here, mainly “taro”

what’s wrong with this picture?? its the wrong way around!!! this huge sign is smack in front of the tourist information office!!!!

 

the powerful blowholes

this is Eua, a small island of Tonga just south of Tongatapu. whales of all kinds, mainly the humpbacks, migrate through these waters, under which lies the Tonga trench (the second deepest in the world)

you just look out to sea and within five mintues you will see them…amazing…this one did a back-flip for us!

our guesthouse and walkway leading to the lookout platform

newfound friends…

 

 

our guide to the other side of the island

from the clifftops, a roaring sea beneath an ominous storm

beautiful gliding birds with long tails (i dont know the name…)

the beach on the other side

hiking through the forest to get there

a bit of rock-climbing

a bit of caving

 

and off we go home through the fields

 

North Island – New Zealand

Raglan on the nz’s north island, west coast

 

our sexy campervan!

i had to show you this 😉 the name derives from the Maori name of an endemic bird (now extinct)

a grumpy and bossy driver

view of the great Taranaki volcano

in the snow-covered forest of Taranaki

brrrrrrrr

 

this is new zealand, rolling velvety green hills dotted with sheep and cows. everywhere.

on the Forgotten World Highway through the backcountry

 

that’s what i say…

the Bay of Islands

cooking in our comfy campervan

pothole reflections, sunset, clouds

 

 

paying respects to massive ancient trees in the Waipoua Forest

 

the Four Sisters

Te Matua. the largest living Kauri tree in the world (more than 2000 years old). so strong, yet so peaceful.

treehugging 😉

 

Piha beach, West Coast, close to Auckland

 

 

on the way to Karekare beach (where The Piano was filmed)

 

 

Sydney – Australia

around surrey hills in beautiful sydney with our friend and host tom-oh

the opera house

 

 

 

bruno’s dying glasses make their last appearance

stumbled across some familiar buildings… 😉

from inside the contemporary art gallery  (that’s artwork on the walls)

 

more grafitti art

the lush botanic gardens, the envy of any contemporary city

instead of hundreds of pigeons….hundreds of cockatoos!! i was in heaven…

 

pef (pierre) and me at manly beach

wannabe gidget

pef and bruno

on the ferry across the harbor

oops, there they are again!

panoramics of this postcard bay

 

down the coast at Tamarama, south of Sydney

bruno riding at Maroubra, the land of the bra boys

ronnie!! a good ol’ friend…it was great to see you again

 

poster boys from left to right, tomoh, bruno and pef

 

“sharky’s” beach…yikes!

tomoooooh u little rascal

 

nothing like huddling in front of a crackling fire in an ocean-front pub in winter while waiting for a ice-cold ale and chips (fries). 

Singapore

during our layover in singapore en route to sydney we ventured out to the center for a snapshot of the city. here, the main shopping drag.

a nice residential area. sorry, this is all we had time for.

The Written Post

Up until now we have been lending an almost textless account of our travels. Images can speak a thousand words, they say, but they are far from adequate in relaying the breadth, depth and detail of experiences had on such a journey. I don’t mean to, nor could I, transpose all those experiences onto paper (or screen anyway), but our account would be as incomplete for all our friends & family as it would be for us without taking a moment to verbalize some of our reflections over the past 7 months. Don’t worry, it won’t be unbearably long. Its hard enough for me to finally get myself to write this!

Some of you have already travelled this far, for shorter or longer, already felt the thrills and disappointments that these parts of the world have to offer, let alone just the feeling itself of stepping out of your “usual” life and into a new one where every single day is unpredictable and entirely new. It’s not that travelling makes you a better person; if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the backpacker trail it’s that it’s all what you make of it. Some may as well have never left their doorstep; if you don’t want to learn, you won’t, and if you don’t search for anything, you won’t find it. So in the end it isn’t about traveling the world or not; its about how you do what you do, whether its in the relationships you have, the work you do, or the way you live.

But, everyone has their own dreams. Ours was travelling, and are blessed to born into lives in which we are able to do so. Going to far, remote and impoverished regions you truly realize what a sheer stroke of luck it is to have been welcomed into such a priveleged part of the world and to pertain to such a slight percentage of society that enjoys such favorable circumstances. So many of us think we’ve earned our place in society….but what kind of nonsense is that? 

Being jolted into awareness on these and much less transcendental matters that you felt you were already aware of is probably one of the most valuable aspects of travel. Some would ask (as I used to ask myself), How are you helping all those less fortunate people in the countries you visit? As if you were doing something about it by staying at home. In fact, a lot of these places can benefit immensely from the right kind of tourism and by stimulating the local economy, but taking time off to travel isn’t about saving lives. It’s about seizing the chance to let the lives, cultures and landscapes of others touch you, and vice versa, in ways that can change you, and perhaps others, for the better. You can’t expect to fix things without first beginning to understand them, and that requires tolerance. Along with all the wonderful, fun, exciting, inspiring, perplexing, frustrating even depressing moments, what you hope to come out the other end with is greater tolerance. Tolerance, open-mindedness and the knowledge that comes from real-life exposure to people and places on this planet that others may never have the chance to meet and experience. What a waste to have that chance and not exploit it.

When I scroll through our blog I remember all of those moments with such vivid emotions, unfortunately many of which cannot be truly transmitted without being there, at that place at that time. I imagine the string of images must come across as one carefree and indulging adventure after another. What’s missing from the photos though is everything that happens in between; the sounds, the smells, the textures, the conversations, the rides, the exchange of gestures, smiles, glances, mutual understanding, the hello’s, the goodbye’s, the trash, the chaos, the peace, the laughter, the sorrow, and all the contradictions… Not to mention what you learn from all the fellow travellers, of all ages, from all corners of the planet, that you meet along the way, some of which tell you amazing stories, teach you the greatest lessons, or become your closest friends.

Indeed we’ve seen such a small portion of the world on this trip and skimmed over it so quickly that we could call it a glance, at best. It would be presumptuous to try to summarize each country we’ve been in a nutshell, its not even possible for that matter. The reality is that there are as many shortcomings and  strengths in developing societies as there are in ours. They are only different, and I think there is always something to learn from either those weaknesses or those virtues. While in the West we’ve got more than our fair share of comforts and the products of progress (which we rarely contemplate gratitude for), other places in the world can remind us of the value of human relationships, the superficiality of our physical selves, the worth and respect of elders in society, our inalienable connection to nature, generosity in the face of poverty, simplicity, smiling in spite of everything, unconditional kindness, the uninhibited upbringing of children and their the un-spoiled nature and disposition…and so many more things. We loved India for its unexplainably controlled chaos and unnerving clamour as much as for the deep and tender gazes of its children and the cheeky cheerfulness of its rickshaw drivers. Its dhosas, its curries, spicy: morning, noon and night. Sri Lanka for its unexpected beauty, welcoming gestures and its patience through hard times. Ladyfingers curry, mmm. Nepal for its Namaste’s, its utterly shocking beauty, its hardwearing carriers, weatherworn faces, and dusty children. Its hearty daal bhat. Thailand for its tolerant, warmhearted nature and quickness to flatter. Everything from its lush countryside to its pulsating capital, and its delectable street markets. Its impossibly hot tom yum soup. And all its little luxuries. Laos for its earnest, unimposing people and incredible backdrops. Its mulberries. Cambodia for its grandeur, resilience and positive energy, and crazy drivers. East Timor for its endurance, its full-bodied coffee and its courteous bom dia’s. Indonesia. Last stop in Southeast Asia. We’ve loved its diversity of everything (except the nasi goreng….); its secret beaches, perfect waves, its characters, its machetes, its hello mistar!, hello missus!, its sweet-smelling flowers and obsessive pujas.

Of course the list goes on and on, and don’t get me started on the bad stuff…There’s the trash, the pollution, incoherent materialism (who can blame them), unchecked growth, inequalities, injustices (internal and external), corruption, carelessness, stupidity, contradictions left and right. But, in fact, we couldn’t possibly claim to be free of any of these flaws in our own realm. In all this awareness, we wanted to share with everyone a taste of what we’ve savoured during our travels so far (speaking of which we haven’t dwelled much on the food because that could be subject for another post altogether, perhaps even longer!!!), especially all those wonderful things that we should focus on, learn from, share, and enjoy. 

I lied about this not being unbearably long. But all the rest is true.

Thanks for reading and hope you are enjoying this vicarious experience! Next stop is Sydney and we’ll be back soon with another (mainly visual!) update.

Love to all,

Ana & Bruno

West Sumbawa – Indonesia

welcome to sumbawa. this is how the fix flat tires over here.

view of the sparkling turqoise bay of Maluk

 

 

having lunch at Maluk

turqoise kitty eyes to match

i want to go swimming

bruno’s dilapidated sunnies

another sunset, with fisherman, jelenga beach

 

jelenga beach in front of little bingin, close to our guesthouse

im tired after a hard day’s surf

scar reef (its called that way for a reason)


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