The two countries that we have been to thus far have been two completely different worlds. Experiencing the Philippines and then Malaysia has introduced a new perspective on life.  When in the Philippines, our host family wanted us to gain a real sense of Filipino  culture and way of life, resulting in time spent with them and seeing the world through their eyes as well as stepping out of my comfort zone and Western perspective, being introduced to true Filipino culture. One of the experiences that I will take with me from the Philippines is the kindness of the people and the value that they place on family and community.

Moving on, Malaysia was completely different  yet one thing remained – the sense of community that was felt with the two village home stays that we had.  Spending my twenty first birthday on Mount Trusmadi was one experience that I will not forget. The thought of being able to do this on my birthday was very special even though the overall climb was a challenge. It was well worth the blood, sweat and multiple thorns. The contrast between the past two days has been very extreme – two days spent on the mountain and then spending today on a tropical island snorkeling in the South China sea was amazing.  I was so privileged to experience such things as live coral reef, magnificent tropical fish and sea creatures. It was wonderful to just relax and enjoy the beautiful ocean.  I am sad to be leaving Malaysia. I have really enjoyed the time that I have spent here and I feel that it has not been long enough.  It seems that you just arrive in one place, meet new people  and then you are saying farewell, packing your things once again to move on. But I am looking forward to Thailand, a different experience altogether and one that may present new challenges. I will attempt to embrace them and experience everything that I can. Being  a backpacker is an idea that I have become used to and I find that  I have developed an interest in other travelers and their journeys now that I have traveled outside my culture.