What began as a desire to explore Asian culture months ago, morphed into so much more! We have now reached Barcelona, Spain. With hearts overflowing, memories too numerous to count, we take this time to reflect and share some highlights:
• Visited 15 countries;
• Having previously cruised from New York through to Panama Canal to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Australia, we have now completed cruising around the world. (Australia to Barcelona on three different ships/cruise lines, 49 days and 14,395 nautical miles);
• Used close to 30 different forms of transportation ranging from train to tuk tuk, river boat to remorque, skyrail to subway, and cruise ship to camel;
• Participated in outreach missions in Thailand introducing children to roasting marshmallows to make “S’mores” and teaching teens how to “Whip and Nae Nae” and how to throw a Frisbee, all while working on their English skills and sharing the love of Christ;
• Spent a day at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Pattaya, Thailand feeding, bathing and interacting with elephants;
• Reunited with a friend from high school, reconnected with friends who joined us during this adventure and made many new friends along the way;
• Cruised across the equator for the second time;
• Visited to world’s tallest building (Dubai, UAE) and the world’s tallest twin towers (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia);
• Evaded pirates while cruising through the Gulf of Aden;
• Visited Petra, Jordan- one of the “Wonders of the World”;
• Cruised through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean;
• Visited Bethlehem to see the birthplace of Jesus and Jerusalem to see where he prayed in the garden, carried the cross, was crucified, buried, and ascended into Heaven;
• Spent time in deep discussions with a Balisian Hindu/Spiritualist and an Omani Muslim who took time to answer questions about their beliefs and allow us to share ours;
• According to Hindu legend, we stood in the “Center of the Universe” in Siem Reap, Cambodia;
• While in Jerusalem, stood at the “Wailing Wall” which is the closest a non-Muslim can get to the place where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Arc of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, and where the Profit Mohammad ascended into Heaven, making this spot so important to Jews, Muslims and Christians and causing tensions between them throughout history;
• Since we don’t have a device to track the number of miles walked or stairs ascended/descended, I will just sum it up as LOTS;
• And, as you can see from pictures, the number of haircuts for Kirk is ZERO!
To sum up this extraordinary adventure, we praise God for His many blessings, for keeping watch over us and our family while we are away, for placing us where we need to be and opening our hearts, minds and eyes to the things we are to see, for placing before us the people who have shared their time with us and allowed us to fellowship with them, for allowing us to be His hands and feet and salt and light along the way. There are NO coincidences!
It also takes a solid relationship to spend 24/7 with one person. Not everything goes “according to plan” along the way, so you need to have resilience, flexibility, trust and faith in God and each other. Kirk and I are still loving and laughing with each other.
The adventure continues as we will board yet another ship on another line to sail back to the USA. The brand new Carnival Horizon will be our home from May 9th to May 23rd as we travel from Barcelona to New York, visiting ports in Malaga, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Vigo, and Halifax along the way. From New York, we fly home to California for a quick visit and pick up our camping gear before heading out again. We will be tent camping across the USA for the next four months or so…