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5 Weeks and Counting

It's hard to believe we've been on the road for over a month and yet it feels like a century ago I was going to bed at 10:30, getting up STILL EXHAUSTED at 9:00 to go and teach a full day until 6:30.

My Korean has definitely waned, although, I have to admit the odd time I do turn around when I can hear it in the street. I have to shake my head and look around just to remind myself that I'm no longer in Korea.

Malaysia was everything we had hoped for. Sandy beaches, delicious food, friendly people. So much of what you're looking for when you're on holiday.

It had beautiful beaches, some corally, some sandy, all relaxing. Sometimes we'd see crabs scurrying along at nighttime. Other times we'd find hundreds of dead little jellyfish that had been swept to shore by the tides.

The water was always breathtaking. All those blues and greens you seen in pictures. So remarkable in fact that I did pinch myself one or two times.

Australia has been the "home away from home" we needed. After only just over a week in the country, I feel like I may have never even lived in a far away place like Korea.

The food is so diverse - Thai, Indian, Greek, Italian, Turkish, Afgani, Chinese, Japanese, even Korean - I'm sure you can guess which type we've given a miss, not out of lack of deliciousness, as there is some Korean food I'd be happy to try again, but more out of boredom.

The cities are big and bright, filled with skyscrapers and wide sidewalks and cafes and galleries and shopping malls and toliets with toilet paper, sit down seats AND hot water to wash your hands.

The beaches are outstanding. Since it is winter here, we have not had the privelage of braving the shark-waters with the surfers. But there is just something about looking out at an Australian beach that seems very distinct. Unlike Malaysia. Unlike Korea. Unlike Barbados. Just distinctly Australian.

I'm finding it hard to take pictures here, because minus the beaches, the cities feel so much like home. I never took pictures of me among the streets in Toronto so it seems weird that I would choose to do so here.

Melbourne is especially reminding me of the Big Smoke. Only the streets are wider. And D is convinced it's cleaner. But I'd say it's been that long since we've actually had a good look at the streets at home that we wouldn't be able to tell anymore.

I'm also finding myself back in the 'backpack groove'. There is a certain method to this madness.

Settle into your hostel or hotel - most always a private room for the two of us as we've done this enough times to know what we feel comfortable with. Some people would forgoe the room costs to save the money to go on the piss all night. We prefer the privacy and comfort. Personal choice is all really.

Unpack the important pieces - for me, it's the large make up bag that has everything from Nyquill to my mascara. As long as there is about a metre of space (it folds out very long!) somewhere in the room to unwrap these wares, the places begins to feel like home.

For D, he has a little digital clock that gets set up on his bedside table. If we only have one table by the bedside, it's his. If there's not table, a chair will do.

Suss the place out - usually we can manage an ensuite as the middle-of-the-night-widdle is much easier done in the room than a hike down the hall. We just spent a night in a Melbourne place which was lovely and clean and a 47 second walk to the bathroom. And I had to go TWICE in the middle of the night. Boot strapping, as we'd call it in Korea.

What to do - plan our day around sights, eating and bathroom breaks. This is so much easier in Australia, especially the bathroom bits, and of course, being able to speak English certainly makes things run smoothly.

The Siesta - always at about 5ish until we get ready for dinner. Sometimes we sleep. Sometimes we read. Sometimes we make decisions about adding new places to our list, cutting things out of our list, checking on the pennies to make sure we're staying somewhat on the financial track.

Dinner - we have always loved our evening meals. These are our times to reflect on our day, decided what we liked, what we didn't like and just enjoy some of the culture of the city or town or island we're staying in or on. Sometimes this can be an expense others would forgoe. You can really always find a hostel with a good kitchen to cook in for yourself. Again, personal choice.

And I'm also realising, once again, how different everyone's experience can be. And how, even if you asked me for advice or places to go or things to see, I could never really give you something solid. Something foolproof. Something that would define the 'best holiday ever'.

Because priorites are different. What you want to see, do, eat. Where you want to shower, pee, sleep. Who you want to meet, not meet, push out of the bus. How you want to drive, bus, train to the place.

Most importantly, your mind is always changing. My mind has changed about what I wanted over the next 4 months so drastically in only 5 weeks. How could I possibly get inside anyone else's head when I can't even figure out my own.?

We read a lot and are told a lot about 'must see' places, how 'there's no where else on earth' and 'you can't miss this'.

What I've learned? You can. There are actually places that you can miss. Because you're adding places that no one has talked about and sometimes? They become YOUR must see. YOUR place on earth. YOUR can't miss.

And I think that's the part of my journey that I'm enjoying the most. Those sneaky places that smack you in the face with surprise and quickly become a cherished travel moment.

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