A Year In South East Asia

Life Is Meant For Exploring: A Year In SE Asia

As some of you who have been following along may know, we have just embarked on a yearlong adventure through SE Asia! We’ve packed up our home in the Bay Area, moved everything back to Ashland, prepped for our trip, packed our 45L Tortuga Backpacks  (yes, we’re only taking one carry-on each!), and have left the country with one-way tickets starting in Bali, Indonesia!

On our last flight of our thirty six hour journey from the US to Bali Indonesia
Taking Off From Singapore To Bali!

We’ve been talking about traveling and living abroad together for the last 4 years and are finally taking the leap and making it a reality. Alli grew up internationally as the daughter of expats and TJ joined in on the love for traveling later in life during trips to Japan and Chile.

After graduating from college and moving in together we created a vision board with our goals and aspirations, the biggest of which was traveling and living abroad in the future. So… we started dreaming and planning! First thoughts were Central and South America as we love that part of the world and Alli speaks Spanish fluently. We also considered Europe for a bit, but ultimately decided on SE Asia. Sure, Alli speaks Spanish so that would be an easy transition, but we wanted to go somewhere where we’d be on a “level playing field”. Somewhere that was totally new to both of us, where neither of us spoke the language, and where we’d learn and experience new things together without relying too heavily on one person.

TJ next to a mural on Cerro Polanco in Valpariso, Chile
Enjoying The Murals On Our Trip To Chile

Traveling to countries where only one person speaks the language can be difficult. The person who speaks the language can feel as though they need to take care of and look out for their travel buddy whereas the travel buddy won’t always stretch as far out of their comfort zone because they have a safety net to rely on and don’t need to learn as much. We decided to go somewhere where neither of us spoke the language so we’d both be growing and pushing past our comfort zones daily.

Now, we’re sure you’re wondering what on earth we’re doing and where we’re going!

Traveling SE Asia: Our Plan

Well…. that’s just the thing, we’re sort of figuring things out as we go! We have a list of 9 countries we plan on visiting and have areas in each we’d like to explore (including research on the politics, history, and culture of each place) but we’re not mapping out a specific route or timeline. This way we know what areas interest us, but we have the flexibility to shake things up when we want to.

Alli enjoying some tea at the Paica Hostel in Denpasar Bali on our first morning
Alli Enjoying Some Tea At The Paica Hostel in Bali

We are currently in Bali and will spend a month in Indonesia traveling around the country with some good friends from back home. From there we’ll fly to Kuala Lumpur and spend at least a month in Malaysia. Next, we know we’ll visit the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and Burma in no particular order… other than riding shoulder season in each country as much as possible (gotta make the most of those $$$ and visit at less busy times)!

We won’t be working much while we’re gone (except for a few digital/social media marketing freelance jobs here and there) besides sharing our experiences with all of you! Instead, we’re going to travel, volunteer in responsible ways (in many different countries), experience new places, and learn as much as we possibly can.

Some Of Our Goals In SE Asia Include:

  • Being conscious of the culture, politics, and history of each location. Knowing enough to draw value from the experience and respect the culture and people we are around.
  • Communicating respectfully (both verbally and with body language) in each place we visit.
  • Finding a balance between travel and relaxation and knowing that it’s ok to spend a few days doing nothing – we can slow down and enjoy each moment (one of the beauties of slow travel).
  • Making friends with locals and fellow travelers and spending time exploring and traveling with others.
  • Getting off the beaten tourist path and spending time doing local activities, meeting locals, giving back, and exploring smaller communities, towns, and countrysides.
  • Learning what each of us is best at, likes the most, and finding ways to work together and communicate well about what our goals are along the way!

Want To Follow Our Year In SE Asia?

If you’re interested in following our adventures be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. Clearly, we think life is meant for exploring! Feel free to share our content with anyone you think might be interested in making travel a lifestyle or who would benefit from learning from our experiences (or just find them entertaining!).

We will also be active on our InstagramFacebook pagePinterest, and Twitter posting about our adventures, lessons learned, and recommendations on how to live a life full of exploration if you’re keen on following.

Enjoying the sunset on the beach in Southern Bali together
Enjoying Sunset On The Beach Together

If you’d like to learn how you can help support our blog and journey find out how you can help here!

Stay tuned to hear about our adventures, and remember… life is meant for exploring! For now, we’re off to the southern part of Bali to visit the Uluwatu Temple!

Share this: Let us know if you have any questions in the comments and be sure to share the stories of your adventures with us on Facebook and Instagram (tag @LifeIsMeantForExploring we will see it). Pinterest fan? Pin one of the images below!


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Life Is Meant For Exploring

We promote and inspire a life of exploration with a focus on travel, outdoor adventure, experiencing local culture, and breaking away from the pack to forge a path of your very own. Whether you’re traveling the world, sitting in your backyard, or looking for a fresh start, our goal is to show you how to enjoy life one adventure at a time! We have tips and tricks, destination (exploration!) guides, personal stories, how-tos, and much more!

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