It has been six months since we packed our belongings into Nikki and Brad’s Chevrolet Express van and waved goodbye to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Rhys stared in absolute wonder at the awesomeness that is the Grand Canyon. Indi dangled her legs over the edge with Brad and exchanged awed curse words, since nothing else seemed to dignify the moment.
Rhys viewed the ocean for the first time. Indi renewed her love affair with the sea.
Rhys drank beer among friends around a bonfire in Mexico. Indi flew a kite whilst in the ocean.
We spent fifteen days on a cargo ship and experienced peace that is only achievable in the middle of the Pacific. Indi grew stir crazy. Rhys grew sea-sick.
Rhys hopped hostels in New Zealand and rode in a helicopter around Mt. Doom. Indi walked twenty-five kilometers (fifteen and a half miles) in Taupo and was mooed at by following cows.
Rhys watched Star Trek four times. Indi laughed and cried at Up.
Rhys played fetch with two wonderful dogs on Piha Beach. Indi wondered what life would be like on Piha forever…
Rhys waved off dozens of touts on the beaches of Bali. Indi got talked into buying a pineapple on the white sand, and peered through the bright sunlight to see the ancient woman carve delicate spirals into the fruit flesh before handing it over.
Rhys held long evening conversations with a Buddhist. Indi explored Islam with Ali.
Rhys saw the depth of Jakarta’s poverty. Indi found the depths of depravity in an unlikely, small Indonesian town, and ran away.
Rhys marveled at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Indi trudged to the top of magnificent Borobudur, and gawked at the Prambanan spires.
Rhys learned the art of the Chinese tea ceremony. Indi lost her hat in a Pizza Hut in Yogyakarta, going for a picture of the strange pizza combinations available in their menu.
Rhys took a walk in a rainforest. Indi’s boots still smell of the peat moss jungle, where dewdrops glittered from every available surface.
Rhys went backstage at a Chinese Opera. Indi was photographed for the local papers.
Rhys has ingested a ton of food that he never expected to eat. Indi has discovered a love for Indian curries that surpasses most other cuisines.
Rhys broke his toes in Thailand in the company of the largest millipede known to man. Indi sprained her ankle during a thunderstorm at Ta Som, an ancient Angkor temple.
Rhys stood in awe at Angkor Wat. Indi explored the faces of Bayon.
Rhys played with children at an orphanage in Cambodia. Indi was leaned upon by a small boy named Rai, who constantly whispered letters into her ear for her to shout-out in the game of hangman.
Rhys started out at 200 lbs and wearing a size 36. His 34s now fall off him and have lost at least 35 lbs. Indi has lost over 50 lbs, and we don’t quite know her current size, because it’s not below a 6, and so nothing in SE Asia fits yet.
Rhys has fewer migraines and headaches and only breaks out in hives on rare occasions. Indi has quit smoking and doesn’t think of it at all most days.
Many of these things we’ve done together. Some of these things we’ve done apart. Many more experiences slip from memory, only resurrected by an odd smell or a somehow familiar sight. So many things could be written here, from how simply finding food is sometimes an adventure, to overnight bus rides and a myriad of transportation types; from friends we’ve met along the way to sights that hold uncommon sadness.
I miss our family. I miss our friends. But this has been the greatest six months of my life and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.
Who knows what the next six months holds?