As we wish you a joyous holiday season, we hope to find you, our family and friends, all in great spirits as this year comes to a close. Due to our current nomadic nature, this year’s letter comes to you in the electronic version – sorry, no cute magnets for your fridge this year!
What a busy year this has been for us! We left off last year’s letter as newlyweds having survived an eventful year with two weddings and the beginning of our new life together. This year, we have many more stories and adventures to tell you about!
As you may know, we are currently in Legian Beach in Bali, Indonesia writing to you by the pool, sipping pina coladas and eating our Christmas dinner of Stuffed Crust Pizza™. We are now 100+ days into our year-long ‘Around the World’ adventure and loving every minute of it! We have visited over 25 major cities, stayed in 35 different hotels, learned a few phrases of each language, eaten out every single day (ugh!), read over 30 books and traveled by rickshaw, motorbike, horse carriage, ferry and raft. For the New Year, we will be in Australia, exploring the outback, enjoying some grand slam tennis, surfing blue waves and diving with sharks at the Great Barrier Reef. Other countries on the list in the near future include New Zealand, Fiji, India, Nepal, Egypt, South Africa, and numerous European destinations.
January through July, we were busy wrapping up loose ends and knocking out our to-do list. Once we had made arrangements with our jobs, finances, eating farewell meals in our favorite local spots, selling almost everything we owned, including our cars and saying good bye to our friends, we were on our way. We leased our home to some wonderful renters and moved into a smaller apartment in Midtown for our remaining few weeks. In August, we headed to Seattle to celebrate the blissful wedding of Terry’s sister, and then headed to Alaska on our first cruise. We had a wonderful summer and it was great to see family members on both sides of the family before we embarked on our year long journey.
On September 5th, 2009 we boarded a huge plane, headed directly from Atlanta, Georgia to Tokyo, Japan. Wow. The first day will be a day that we will never forget – so many feelings of excitement, nervousness and anticipation. I’m sure we both said “What are we doing?!” at least a few times that night. The rest has been a breeze and are now getting the hang of it – we even look and think like backpackers now! We wear flip flops all day, eat at street food stalls, fight for every penny bargaining, have become expert packers and can sleep anywhere comfortably. Although we miss having the comforts of a couch, kitchen and a general routine, we love that everyday is unique and unpredictable. We have already caught up with numerous old friends and family all over the globe, met interesting new friends and hope that we encounter even more enchanting people and places.
Further adventures are in store in the upcoming months before we step back to the shores of reality, changed and with priceless global experiences. We hope that we have inspired you to take advantage of every moment, push yourselves to the edge and explore the limitless possibilities our world has to offer.
Again, warmest wishes to you and your family this holiday season. Although we may not be together to enjoy friendly company, you are in our thoughts and prayers always. May your holiday and forthcoming year be filled with good news, blessed friends and loving family.
As always, check up often and subscribe to www.manaliandterry.com to get your weekly anecdotes of your favorite globetrotters!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!
Manali + Terry