Though 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 were all great, 2013 was probably the best yet. It began with one of the Great Hikes in New Zealand, and ends in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In between, one full year of backpacking, with eleven countries and most of South East Asia are accounted for. Even more so than previous years, it was quite difficult to choose just one photo per month. But them’s the rules, and so without further ado:
Cruising the Milford Sound
The beginning of the month was spent touring New Zealand’s South Island. A cruise through the Milford Sound on a cloudless day was equal parts good luck and beautiful views.
Sunrise at Bagan
February saw us traveling around Malaysia and visiting Burma. There were far too many great moments, but sunrise in Bagan is hard to top. Our night bus got us to town by 5 am, and a small, beleaguered horse brought us to the temples just in time to get see the sun rise.
March was the second time I unknowingly landed in Kathmandu for Holi. What is there to say about Kathmadu, other than it’s the maddest, greatest city we saw the entire year.
Just a Normal Day on the Annapurna Circuit
April saw our trek through the Himalayas, where we were treated to legendary views, legendary climbs, and legendary blisters.
Chilling at the Taj
When your month includes a visit to probably the most famous building in the world, it’s pretty much what you gots to go with.
Southern Oregon Swimming
The transition from India to Orange County and Southern Oregon was a strange one, to say the least. But spending my days swimming in the river with my family quickly became the norm–and a welcome one it was!
Summer in Oregon is a pretty special time, and while Hood doesn’t compare to the Himalayas, I will always cherish the Cascades. This picture was taken while hiking with a friend from Korea, after which we stopped at Los Gorditos for grubbing burritos.
Camping at Mt. Shasta
I returned to Thailand in August, but before that I got to go camping with my brother and mother at Mt. Shasta. The town of Shasta was really cool, and our campsight was really spectacular. We had a grand old time walking, swimming, playing card games, and cooking on the camp fire.
Swimming in Laos
September was so much fun. It began in Southern Thailand, where we met a friend from Korea and hung out on various beaches. Then my sister showed up and we cruised up to Laos, which quickly became very dear to all of us. The day we biked to the Blue Lagoon in Vang Vienne and jumped from the tree for a few hours was the best of an already good couple of weeks.
We spent most of October rushing down Vietnam. While so much of the trip was gorgeous, Sapa was the highlight for both of us. This was the view from our 8 dollar a night guesthouse.
By the end of November, we rented a place in expat heaven. It was easy to procure microbrews and stuff for an excellent vegan Mexican Thanksgiving.
Fighting Cthulhu on Christmas
Yeah, I love board games. So when Christmas day included a trip to the zoo, homemade palak tofu, rajma masala, chana kaddu, chapati, burmese tomato salad, that was all pretty great. When post-dinner digestion featured vegan peanut butter chocolate pies (with oreo crust) and Cthulhu carols and a rousing game of Elder Scrolls…well, you do the math.