At a Glance What: “Costa Rica to Tonga: 15 Months of World Adventures” Who: Sean and Amanda Cash When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11 Where: Sequim High School cafeteria, 601 N. Sequim Ave. How much: $5 at the door (persons 18 and younger are free) Why: Traveler’s Journal is presented by the Peninsula Trails Coalition as a fundraiser for the Olympic Discovery Trail. All money raised buys food and project materials for volunteers working on trail projects. For more information, call Dave Shreffler at 683-1734.
Traveling turns mundane activities into adventures. Grocery stores, markets, traffic laws (or lack thereof), music, street life, smells, flavors, colors - they're all different and suddenly exciting.
Normalcy changes. Values intensify. Simplicity is highlighted.
We always knew we wanted to take a year off to travel. By March 2004, we had money saved, our house rented, our dog cared for and our stuff stored. We had a loose itinerary including an around-the-world plane ticket with stops in Thailand, Singapore, Bali, New Zealand, Australia and Tonga.
But our first flight was from Florida to Costa Rica so we started with a road trip. We drove "Humpie," our Volkswagen Vanagon, from Washington to Florida, taking three weeks to visit friends, family and amazing scenery along the way.
Monkeys and butterflies
We then flew to Costa Rica for eight weeks. The surfing, rafting and wildlife were amazing - howling monkeys, morpho butterflies, cascading waterfalls! We took Spanish classes for a few weeks but weren't ready to sit still any longer than that.
Back in the U.S., we drove Humpie (named after the Alaskan humpie salmon) for another three months around the U.S. and Canada and then north to Alaska. We did a fly-in backpacking trip for seven days in the Wrangel St. Alias National Park. We were in grizzly country - with a few scares - but made it out safely.
We had a five-week stay in Valdez, Alaska, where Sean took a traveling physical therapy assignment. After a visit back to Port Angeles to check in our winter gear and check out our summer gear, we flew to Thailand for six weeks.
The sparkling Buddhist wats and smiling Thai faces were welcoming. We attended a Thai massage school for a week and visited friends in the Peace Corps. We survived the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami while on the island of Ko Chang, off the west coast of Thailand.
Off to Antipodes
We had a two-night home-stay visit in Singapore, then flew to Bali for a few weeks of culture and surfing. We experienced an authentic Hindu festival with sacrificing of chickens and with people entering trances.
Next was New Zealand. At the backpacker car market we bought a van, which we lived in for nearly three months. We river kayaked, sea kayaked and trekked most days.
On to Australia! We spent three days on a live-aboard dive trip visiting sharks and turtles of the Great Barrier Reef. We then switched to the elegance of Sydney, including a ballet at the opera house. We rented a car to get a brief feel of the Great Ocean Drive, encountering kangaroos, koala bears and delicious wines.
Our final international stop was Tonga, one of the Polynesian islands. Then it was back to the states. By May 2005, we were back to our Port Angeles home, family and dog. Our adventures took us from vacation mode to travel mode to a way of life, which we work to incorporate into our daily living.
About the presenters:
Sean and Amanda Cash are health care providers and business owners in Port Angeles. Sean is the physical therapist at Adventure Physical Therapy, PS. Amanda is the registered dietitian of Nutrition Trails. They grew up living abroad in military families and developing a sense for travel. They met at Washington State University in 1995 and married in 1999.
After they finished their college educations in 2000, they moved to Port Angeles to start their professions and enjoy the outdoor play of the area. They have traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Their biggest adventure was a 14-month, 13-country adventure-based expedition from March 2004-May 2005.
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