Thursday, February 26, 2015

How to Survive your Honeymoon in a 3rd World Country

I'm baaaackkkkk. I've been off the map for awhile now, but I am back in action and ready to spill all the beans about our latest adventures in Thailand and Vietnam.

If you read my post on How to Pack for Thailand, you knew that I was a bit hesitant about packing for a month in a teensy, tiny 60L Patagonia duffle bag. Well, Andrew is doing his "I told you so dance" because I admitted in the first week of our trip that packing light made the whole experience more enjoyable. As if that didn't fuel the fire, THEN I admitted the last night of the trip that I didn't even wear 3 things. Case closed. This trip might have cured my disease of over packing.

After the last month, Andrew and I have officially become the masters at how to survive a honeymoon in a 3rd world country. In fact, TWO 3rd world countries, Thailand and Vietnam! If you are currently planning a honeymoon and plan to get "off the beaten track", I suggest you keep reading…

1. Don't expect 90% of your trip to be like everyone else's idea of a romantic honeymoon. This isn't a Sandals resort complete with a butler. You will sleep more nights in twin beds than a double, thanks to the sleeper trains and hotel availability. And frankly, your husband will be fine with it.

2. Dysentery will happen. You will see your spouse at their worst. You will love them more...and try to immediately erase it all from your memory.

3. Some of the most beautiful scenery is in these undeveloped 3rd world countries, like Southeast Asia. Keep your eyes, ears, and taste buds open to everything around you. It will be a crazy ride with sensory overload on a day-to-day basis.

4. When you can't speak the language or read a single word, your husband will perform his best translation and keep you laughing for hours. 

5. Go to EVERY food market you can. Try it ALL. If the locals are eating it, it's probably a good bet. Just watch out for the rats…they rule the roost once the meat vendors are gone.

6. The temples/wats are impressive. They also can start to run together. One Buddha starts to looks like another Buddha after awhile. Pick 1-2 to visit in each place.

7. Don't forget to pack a roll of toilet paper. Unlike in the states, you will have to pee like a dog and worse. That TP roll will be essential, believe me. You can thank me later. 

8. Book some things ahead of time and let the rest flow from there. These countries haven't quite caught up with the 21st century. Booking things online is near impossible so book what you can and then figure it out from there. Book VISAs early, train tickets at the station, and hotels online. This is coming from a Type A, control freak-a-leek, ahead of time person. This style will challenge you to no end, but ALWAYS works out. Shop around, there is always another solution.

9. Buy a  Lonely Planet guidebook  and keep it with you at ALL times. The maps are critical, especially when you get in a cab and have NO idea where they are taking you. Take the recommendations with a grain of salt. Hit up the items that are starred. This book literally saved us a million and one times.

10. You are a team. You are in this together. You love each other. Remember this at all times. If you do, chances are you will come back still married and stronger for it!

As much as I loved every second of our adventure, I was glad to come home. The number 1 thing I learned from our trip, is how lucky and fortunate we are to have our own home - one with a stable roof, a solid floor, running water and toilet, drawers to put our things, and all the luxuries we take for granted. Y'all, these people put a whole new meaning on the word POOR. Can you imagine making $125 a MONTH!?!?! That is the average income in Vietnam. Our country may not be perfect, in any stretch of the imagination, but we have opportunity…amenities…luxuries…and freedom. I came away from that whole trip feeling blessed.

And now that we are home, let the renovations resume...

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