Globetrotting with cancer in 2019

I distinctly remember booking my first holiday for January 2019.   I did it on my first day of treatment.  I could barely walk and had no idea whether or not I'd make it to 2019 but I needed something to look forward to, so on a wing and a prayer, I booked for my sister and I to go to Cuba.

Realising that my backpacking days were long over, we booked a 10 day trip through Rickshaw travel.  They arranged our accommodation and transfers, supporting local, independent businesses rather than large multinational companies.  I absolutely loved Cuba, the sunshine, the people watching, the vibrancy.  Havana was everything I expected it to be, chaotic, colourful and cool.  We were lucky enough to have an apartment right in the centre of the old town and could watch the town come to life each morning.  I had very little expectations of Vinales but loved the walk in the tobacco fields and simplicity of life there.  I'd been looking forward to Trinidad as it's renown for its music and dancing and we weren't disappointed, being entertained by the locals on the steps of the old town.    We were also given a tour of Trinidad by a local guide who explained that many people still relied on the government rations.  There were no supermarkets but little corner stores which were sparsely stocked.  While we were there, there was a bread shortage and it seems this is a common occurrence.

Impressed with Rickshaw travel, I went on to book another holiday through them, this time to Vietnam and Cambodia.  With my sister back in NZ, I needed to find another travel buddy - someone who wouldn't mind travelling at my new, rather sedate, pace.  Thankfully good friend Vicki stepped up to the challenge.  We initially planned our trip for October but were recommended to postpone to November to avoid the rainy season.  Once again Rickshaw travel arranged our accommodation and transfers and recommended a couple of tours.  We both loved Hanoi, wandering round the old town, watching people living their lives out on the streets, lots of tiny independent shops selling anything and everything.  In Hoi An I surprised myself by enjoying a cooking class at Red Bridge Cooking School, making spring rolls, rice paper and a curry.  One of our highlights of Vietnam was our vespa street food tour in Ho Chi Minh City.  Vespa adventures got the perfect mix of thrills and safety, food, drink and entertainment.  We were totally buzzing at the end of our tour.  We continued south, down the Mekong and into Cambodia.  Unfortunately I overdid it in Vietnam and ended up in bed for a couple days in Cambodia.  Not wanting to miss out, I rallied and was able to enjoy two days exploring the incredible Angkor Wat.  Our second day at Angkor Was we joined a Grasshopper Adventures cycle tour and spent a brilliant morning exploring the ancient site.



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