The year began in a similar fashion to 2011 – we went from freezing cold Harbin to a tropical place in SE Asia as we visited the Philippines for the first time. A trio of Chinese public holidays in the spring provided three chances to get out and check off the rest of NE China as we hit Liaoning and Jilin provinces. Spring saw a bunch of fun at the Great Wall, including a camp out and a music festival. After more than three years of living and working in Beijing, we decided to resign from our jobs, sublet our apartment, and pack our lives into backpacks to travel for a year. Our trip kicked off in the summer with a 3-month coast-to-coast jaunt around the USA, and it continued in Southeast Asia and China.
They say it’s more fun in the Philippines, and we sure had a damn good time there on our first visit over Chinese New Year in 2013. We flew like Superman and took the plunge – an epic canyon swing with stunning views, saw the Chocolate Hills, chilled on the beach, and even got up-close and personal with the world’s tiniest primate. There was tons of Great Wall based fun in Beijing – we camped out on the Wall, stayed in the Chairman Suite at an eco-resort near the Mutianyu section, and even raged a music festival there.
On August 1st, we left Beijing and embarked on what would end up being a 14-month backpacking trip around the US, SE Asia, and China. From skydiving over two national parks to scuba diving in Thailand, it was the trip of a lifetime. We also got to spend time with family and friends, catch a bunch of Phish shows, and even made it to both an MSU and a UT game. The year wound down with Christmas on Koh Rong Island and New Year’s in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.