After five months of travel I now understand why people try to do this endlessly. This is the longest trip we’ve ever taken, and I am addicted to living this lifestyle of freedom with just a backpack, flexible plans and my partner in crime. I love not knowing what each day will bring, or even what day it is. (Tuesday?) I relish the choice to do what we want when we want, and to be open to new experiences and opportunities that come up throughout the day.
One of my favorite things is the chance to eat delicious food at street stalls and restaurants for nearly every meal, and being able to afford to do that! I will never tire of the daily opportunities we get to meet friendly and interesting people. In the working world making new friends can be tough, but when we travel it’s nearly impossible not to meet people we can relate to.
I appreciate the time we have to slow down and enjoy sunsets nearly every evening, and even the occasional sunrise. I love leisurely mornings looking out over the ocean, rice paddies, or a bustling cityscape, writing in my journal, without the nagging feelings hanging over my head that I should be doing something else. Late night star gazing, long, aimless walks, the feeling of novelty with everything we see and do. Even seemingly ordinary things like buying toilet paper can feel like an adventure. These are just some of the things I’ve gotten very used to. I don’t want them to stop.
Going home to America is suddenly a real thing that we are doing soon. At the start of our trip, six months seemed like an endlessly long time. Now it’s nearly over. We should probably make a plan at some point for what we will do next, but neither of us seem to be set on anything just yet. We have a lot of options and possibilities ahead of us. We likely won’t stay in America for too long. If we can earn some money while we’re home then we’d love to travel for another month or two even before we go somewhere more long term to work. It seems like putting roots down for a year or so will be necessary to refill our coffers and get some projects going that don’t seem to be getting done on the road. We have to be honest with ourselves that we need to mellow out and get some work done.
I don’t feel worried that we don’t have a plan for what’s next. In fact, I feel downright comfortable with it. The biggest lesson I’ve learned (and continue to relearn) on this trip is to stop making so many plans and just see where the day will take us. We like to say that our lives are guided by the rules of improv comedy: Always say “yes, and…”, add to the situation, keep focus on the here and now, create and welcome change, and go with the flow. The Universe constantly sends us people and opportunities that we couldn’t have even anticipated or planned. Saying yes to those chances has given us not only a wealth of experiences, but for me, a new found belief that this openness and acceptance of what may come is a way of life I enjoy. It works.
We now have a motto we try and live by, which is “Say yes to life.” So when the man we met at the train station in Goa invited us to spend the night in his village, we said yes. When we got invited to attend strangers’ wedding in Yangzhou, we said yes. When our train was stalled for 16 hours in the countryside of Myanmar, instead of complaining, we said yes to making it a ridiculously fun night on the tracks. Saying yes to things I may not fully understand, or even things I fear, can take me to places I never imagined, mentally, emotionally and physically. I love that uncomfortable, adrenaline charged feeling of being pushed out of my comfort zone.
Once we go home to California and our money isn’t going as far, the pressure will be on to figure out what we’ll do next. As always, we’ll come through and make it happen. No matter we do, I know it will be awesome, and I’m ready to take it on.
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