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Our greeting into Myanmar as we get off our ship
Our greeting into Myanmar as we get off our ship

This is the first part in Caitlin Martin’s series on her Holland America adventures in Southeast Asia. Check out more here, here and here—and stay tuned for more next week!

Since we live on opposite sides of the country and work a lot, my little sis and I couldn’t even recall the last time we spent two weeks together. In March, we finally made it happen: 14 days in Southeast Asia on a Holland America cruise. We sailed on the Volendam to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Our goal was to see and do everything we could. But it turns out we got much more.

Riding the elephant up to the top of Phuket
Riding the elephant up to the top of Phuket

We became friends with elephants in Thailand and protected ourselves from crazy monkeys in Malaysia. We gobbled down some of the best street food in Singapore after running (and dancing!) through the pouring rain to the food stall. In Myanmar, we stood in awe directly underneath one of the world’s most beautiful gold pagodas at sunset.

Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar's capital city, Rangoon, as the evening twilight sets in
Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar’s capital city, Rangoon, as the evening twilight sets in

We chatted with local people—whether it was in the market, while riding a rickshaw, or during a walk through a village. On sea days we took morning tai chi, relaxed at the ship’s pool, ate great food, made friends aboard, sang with the piano man, and shared laughs with the awesome Holland America crew.

Sis made friends in Thanlyin, Myanmar
Sis made friends in Thanlyin, Myanmar

Those moments and experiences shared are really why we went.

Cruising can really show you another beautiful side of a person—even when you think you know all there is to know. The challenging part remains making time to get away from our 24/7-connected, busy lives.

While I travel a lot as it is, sharing wonderful moments with people around me, this experience was unique because of the person I shared it with. So now I tell all of you, even amid the hustle and bustle of life and work: Take the time to go somewhere with someone you care about, whether you see them everyday or once a year—no matter what you do and where you go.

Just make the time to find new experiences.

The first sight of our ship!
The first sight of our ship!

Sis, next item on the itinerary is to figure out how we get your amazing boss to let you do this more often.

This is the first part in Caitlin Martin’s series on her Holland America adventures in Southeast Asia. Check out the next part here—and stay tuned for more next week!

Caitlin Martin

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