long live the adventurers.

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If you’ve known us for 15 minutes or more, you know we travel like it’s our job. And sometimes it is for a job. But mostly it’s because we were both born with a strong appetite for unique experiences in exotic places. Or, maybe we just really love breathing recycled air in a pressurized cabin on a regular basis. Either way, packing our bags to explore the world is wired into our DNA. Our future chitlins don’t stand a chance.

Per usual, both of us are about to embark on some serious trips this summer. Some together, some apart. While I’m gallivanting through the Midwest and Deep South for the next few weeks for work and play, Señor will be gettin’ his Asian fix in Beijing for a summer class. Tough break, eh? But don’t cry for me (Argentina) because I’ll be getting a stamp in my passport right alongside him when he’s done with his studies.

That’s right. The Armstrongs are taking on Asia. Together. Again. Like we know what we’re doing.

This isn’t our first international rodeo, but I’ll admit the idea of exploring Beijing without a trusty guide–aka my father who has traveled in China so much he’s basically royalty over there. Rumor has it he and Mao Tse Tung had a secret handshake–is a little unnerving. No one wants to be that tourist who’s all, “Do they give out free stuff at the end of that Great Wall attraction? I want a button that says, ‘I just walked on a big wall and all I got was this lousy button.'” Well-seasoned travelers help you avoid such blunders. Guess we’ll have to navigate these waters on our own.

Luckily, it won’t be for long. After our stint in Beijing, we’ll be headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s place outside Hong Kong for a week. Yes. My family lives all over the world. Once our Asian Vacation Sensation With Adoration and Celebration followed by some Rehabilitation from the Dehydration in–ok I’m done. Following our trip to Asia, we’ll lay low in New England for a bit before jetting off to Chicago for a wedding.

Are you exhausted yet? Because the details of the next month and a half are sending my head into a tizzy. I keep reminding myself that all of this travel is worth it. It’s sad to leave our Colorado home for so long, but we know not every summer will look like this. Plus, the next several weeks are not only full of airline itineraries, they’re also full of hugs from family, late night laughfests and cryfests with friends, and memories so big, they’ll make our future kids think they have the coolest parents ever.

We live for adventures, and Señor is hands-down my favorite exploration buddy. It helps tremendously that we travel well together–a great quality to have in a spouse. Like, REALLY essential quality.

We recognize that we’re kind of anomalies. What married couple in their mid-twenties just picks up and travels like we do when it isn’t in our job description? But our flexible jobs, school schedules, and the generosity of family has opened the door for some of these killer opportunities. But adventure means so much more than traveling across the world. Whether your summer plans include staycations or international destinations, discover something new this summer. Adventure is everywhere.

And long live the adventurers.

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24 hours.

It has been 24 hours since:

Laura showered.
Laura put clean clothes on.
Laura felt like she smelled socially appropriate.
Laura slept well (4 hours on the plane doesn’t count).
Laura had truly coherent thoughts.
Laura was in good standing with United Airlines (I’ve had enough of your delays, big commercial airline people).
Laura was on vacation, basking in and admiring the Asian continent.

Which brings me to now…24 hours later. Señor and I are stuck in the Chicago airport, awaiting our 10pm flight. That’s a whole 6 hours after we were supposed to leave. I could be relaxing in my tiny apartment, curled up in my semi-comfortable bed, and passed out asleep. Not that it would matter because jet-lag will wake me up at 3am. I’m sure of it.

I shake my fist at you, jet-lag!

As you can tell, I’m on my last leg of sanity. Or foot. Or arm…I don’t even know what I’m saying. Is that a real phrase? The leg of sanity? I digress.

Want to see some pictures of my trip? Ok, good. Because pictures are worth thousands of words. And seeing as words are not my forte at the moment, let’s just stick with those. These are some of my last pics from Vietnam.

A marble cave at the top of Marble Mountain. It was a HIKE. I felt like a champ.

At the peak of Marble Mountain. Sweatin’ like the athletes on the Gatorade commercials. Except ours wasn’t colored. Lame.

I don’t know what I love more about this picture. My dad’s expression or the fact that this vase will be displayed in our house in a few months. It’s natural jade from the mountain we climbed. And it’s being shipped on a boat. Like a boss.
One of my dad’s best friends fought in Vietnam. It was his dream to go back someday. Though he passed away without that opportunity, his wife gave my dad his dog tags and we gave them a proper resting place…
…Right in a hidden spot of a helicopter at a Vietnam museum. Awesome.
Lost in translation, much?
Yep. That’s what Americans were called all over those museums.
A pit stop view on our way to Hue (pronounced ‘way’). A Vietnamese version of a pit stop equals a dirty toilet and lots of cheap paraphernalia that most Americans love. No thanks.
Almost took these ones, too. So beautiful.
These were startling. Then I realized they mean something MUCH different in Asian culture. Thank goodness.
I picture this ancient statue saying “Oh no you din’t”. In Vietnamese of course.
Sign: “Do not touch, sit on, or play on the ancient artifacts”
Señor: “Oo! Get a picture of me riding the dragon!”
A few of these things are not like the others.
Naturally I sang the Rocky theme song when my dad came down the steps. I chuckled more than he did.

In a few days I’ll post pictures of Hong Kong. If I took pictures too often in Hong Kong, though, you would have thought that all we did was shop, eat, and shop some more. Which we may or may not have done. So there will only be a select few. But I need to wait another 24 hours or so. Recuperation is in desperate need.

 

 

a Vietnamese man hit on my husband?

We have officially been in Vietnam one week. I blame the lack of updates and pictures on the jetlag. On an average day, we go to bed around 9pm and wake up at 5am. That’s a better regiment than what we have back home.

Our days are packed. We spent our first 3 days in Ho Chi Minh enjoying the luxurious Park Hyatt hotel and feasting on local cuisine. And I mean feasting. I’m not sure I’ve eaten this much since Thanksgiving—hmm, bad example…I didn’t even have turkey on that November day…

Let me admit that I’m a picky eater. I grew up on mac ‘n cheese, cheese and mayonnaise sandwiches, and more daily bread intake than the food pyramid allows for in a month. Carbs were not lacking in my diet.

Thankfully my taste buds have matured.

I could literally eat a meal and a half here. Everything has the most delicately flavorful tastes. Enough about food, though. Let’s get on to the sites!

We’re currently in Danang, which is in the northern province of Vietnam. It was where the American airbase was and supposedly the first landing place during the Vietnam War (it’s up for debate…as are many things regarding the war). It feels about 30 degrees hotter up here, but the view from our resort compensates.

Before Danang, though, we were in Ho Chi Minh, as I said. Here are a few highlight pictures from our last few days there.

Eyes closed. Solid. – in front of the President’s home. No one has lived there since the end of the Vietnam War. It’s now a national monument and used for tourists to do their tourist thing.

Incense burning outside a Buddhist temple.

The busy streets of Da Nang

Climbing into the Cu Chi Tunnels – These were used during various war times by the Vietnamese to hide out and ambush their enemies. The Americans actually set up camp right above them and didn’t figure out where they were coming from for months. The tunnels were complete with hospitals, classrooms, a kitchen, and living quarters–all manmade underground.

It was easily 10 degrees hotter in there than it was outside. Woof.

Shooting AK-47’s like the real heroes did.

Clearly I needed some direction.

Our hotel, the Park Hyatt, in Ho Chi Minh!

Complete with tunnel explorations, busy streets, and tour guides named Tre, our time in Ho Chi Minh was superb. But now we’re in Da Nang, the sunny northern coast town of Vietnam. Here’s what we’ve been up to!

We were welcomed to our resort with a traditional dragon fruit drink. And flowers. They really know how to treat a woman right.

Our tour guide cut off Grant’s head…not ok. But a nice lady let me carry the food she was selling! For about 50,000 dong (the equivalent of $2.50). And then made me feel guilty for not buying any food. Oh whoops.

No photo illusion used in this picture. That grown woman is legitimately that much shorter than señor.

I may or may not have stolen one.

Touristy. Check.

Easily the best restaurant we’ve been to Vietnam. Mango in almost every dish, overlooking the river, unbelievable atmosphere.
Whatever you do, don’t overlook this tourist’s hair cut. Business in the front, hippie tourist in the back.

This picture could not possibly be more opposite of what my dad is actually like on vacation.

To be real, most of our days have been spent poolside or playing soccer with some locals (we actually beat some of them. Up top!). We get out every once in awhile, though.

Oh, and a Vietnamese man never hit on señor. Although he did beg him to get drunk with him and offered him a good time. Awkward.