Far out! Here we are almost at the end of another year and I haven’t posted a thing on this site for 6 months! I had every intention to do so, really I did, but other “things” took priority. From what I read, this happens to many bloggers. I promise to change my habits in the new year.
This year has been full of ups and downs. The “ups” were really up and the “downs” were really “down”. The biggest “down” was losing a sister to to a horrible disease, and that was terribly sad. In truth we lost her years ago, when the disease took her mind and her faculties. We’ve had to watch her endure her last years as someone else; not the vibrant, effervescent sister we’ve always known. Her passing was in some ways a relief. Relief that she had to endure no more. However the finality of her life is nonetheless tragic and we will miss her. A lot.
I’m happy to report that the “ups” have been many. My trip to the USA to celebrate my birthday provided many of them. That was the excuse I gave for it anyway, as if I need one. I’d never been to New York and decided it was time, so off I went, with Liz, a friend who hadn’t been to the USA and had been wanted to for 30 years. We went to Las Vegas first, taking in the Grand Canyon (a 2nd time for me – once is never enough of that awesome place) and the Valley of Fire. After a week of shows (Cirque du Soleil!) , some gambling, and shopping we flew to New York. In New York we stayed within one minute walk to Times Square for a few days, then relocated to Greenwich Village. The best of both worlds. We flew from New York to New Orleans for a week then to Los Angeles for a few days before flying home. It was a great trip.
Three weeks later I took off with two of my (older) brothers to the Southern Islands of Thailand, staying at Railay Beach and the tiny island of Koh Lanta. It was the first time to this area for both of them, but not for me, and I wanted to “show them around”. I’d never traveled with family before and had had little contact with the brothers since our teenage years. They live in New Zealand, while I live in Australia. We’d seen one another at family Christmas’s when our mother was still with us and occasionally at family weddings and that’s about it . You know how it is – Time just flies by. So you can imagine traveling together (and “budget” traveling at that!) the 3 of us got to know each other up close and personal for the first time and enjoyed many laughs reminiscing over events of our youth. We each had stories to tell.
One brother is recovering from cancer, and this trip was really stepping out of his comfort zone. He’d never in his life traveled in this way or to this part of the world. In fact, he hasn’t done much traveling at all. His life has been spent building up his perceived empire. I planned the itinerary to challenge him a little and also ensure plenty of R & R.
After the islands we flew to Vietnam. The next 4 weeks was spent exploring the southern half of Vietnam, mainly Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta, Mui Ne, Dalat, and Nha Trang. The road trip on motorbikes from Mui Ne to Dalat and then on to Nha Trang was a great way to see the mountains and the countryside.
USA, Thailand and Vietnam were the only countries I visited this year, outside of Australia. The rest of the year has been spent learning new skills (website building), generally keeping my business interests under control and spending time with my beautiful family. How has your year been? Please do share your “ups” and “downs” with me!