Angela and I bid farewell to Asia for the time being and flew from Timor-Leste to Darwin, Australia, bracing ourselves for the culture shock of encountering so many native English speakers after months of relying on hand signals.
We need not have worried though. Darwin felt like coming home as we made fast friends within hours of arriving in the country. From Darwin, we flew to Hobart, Tasmania, by way of Melbourne. We rented a car at the airport and stayed in a wonderful Airbnb just on the outskirts of the city.
Over the course of four days, we drove all over the southern portion of the island and fell instantly in love with the remote, natural beauty. Honestly, we could have spent another month in Tasmania if we had had the time, but we vowed to return for a longer visit to see if we could call this place home someday.
From Tasmania, we hopped back through Melbourne before flying into Christchurch on the south island of New Zealand. Again, we rented a car and explored as much as we could of the western mountains within a few days. Then it was on to the north island and the tiny town of Thames, New Zealand, where we also found a fast affinity for the country and its people.
After a short layover in Sydney, Australia, Angela and I boarded one of the longest flights of the entire trip, arriving in Honolulu, Hawaii, the following morning. It was Angela’s first time to the state, so there was a bucket-list item getting checked off. But the primary reason we stopped through Hawaii was to see our older son, Zack, and his wife, Autumn.
We had a fantastic couple of visits with them and saw the typical sights on Oahu before flying on to the continental United States, arriving in Seattle via San Francisco.
In Seattle, we stayed in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle not only because we got a kick out of the name but also because the area is known for several excellent microbreweries. The Airbnb turned out to be fantastic, the beer didn’t disappoint, and we even found an authentic Tennessee barbecue joint that was spectacular!
From Seattle, we flew across the country to Atlanta and geared up for our first-ever adventure to South America.
Previous: Leg 12: Brunei, Malaysia, Kalimantan, Java, Bali, and Timor-Leste
Next: Leg 14: Argentina, Uruguay, Tiera del Fuego, and Antarctica