Over four years ago, when Nikita and I met, we made an unofficial pact to escape the rat race and travel, at least for a while.
Then I jetted off to Beijing, China for a semester.
But it all worked out: he came to visit me. We had a great time and realized that we loved traveling together.
Slowly, over the next four years, we clarified this dream we shared and began to assemble it into reality, piece by piece.
And now, we’re just a few days away from departure. I can hardly believe it, but this time next week we’ll already be off on new adventures in Bangkok, Thailand.
Life, Up Until Now
The process has been so long and drawn out that it feels less like a big, dramatic accomplishment and more like the slow arrival of a gigantic barge into a different harbor. It takes a lot of time and consistent effort to truly change the course of your life.
It took a lot of planning, saving, and sacrifice.
We both worked in normal jobs for years. We downsized our lifestyle, rarely going out or engaging in the type of frivolous spending that young people with their first jobs are known for. We altered many of our habits specifically to save money, like almost always eating in, going vegetarian, only shopping at Goodwill, and spending the weekends camping or playing video games instead of going out on the town like our friends were doing.
We even started a blog, and spent countless weekends confined to the couch, writing, coding and blogging away.
Is This Really Happening?
It’s been such a long, fun journey that it’s hard to believe we’re only a few days away from what we’ve worked so hard for. We’ve gotten so used to this trip being behind the scenes and now that it’s front and center it’s completely nerve-wracking.
I’m sure it’ll be nerve wracking for the next several weeks, or months even, as we adjust to our new lifestyle and to the constant feeling of culture shock. This isn’t really a bad thing, because I believe that fear is an important motivator in life. Fear lets you know that you’re about to test the boundaries that keep you from growing.
All of this has been a bit jarring for our friends and family too, who seem to be coming to grips with the fact that we’re leaving, well, now that we’re leaving.
I think most of our friends and family didn’t believe that we would actually go. Which is understandable, leaving your life to travel for a long time isn’t something a lot of people do, so it’s hard to relate.
The Road Ahead
Our plans now? We’re heading to Bangkok, Thailand, to start a SE Asian backpacking adventure! (Not backpacking in the hiking sense, but in the traveling light and traveling slow sense.) Yet again, everything we’ll need will be on our backs- but this time no tent, sleeping bag, or days worth of food! Luxury!
From there we’re heading next door to Myanmar, to meet up with some relatives who happen to be vacationing there.
Who vacations in Myanmar?
Even though the country has been one of our top must-go places for a while now, we decided that it was so cool and awesome and auspicious that they would be there that we had to go visit with them while we’re all on the other side of the planet.
As if Myanmar, newly opened to tourism within the last few years, wasn’t off the beaten path enough, we’ll be looking to explore less urban parts of the region by bike. This could change depending on the conditions, but we’re definitely not the first people to do so and have heard amazing things.
We’re thinking that this should all take a few months, and we plan to be in our next dream destination- Japan- by April or May. From there we’ll take our time exploring the country before moving on to China, but we want to keep it open ended: you never know what opportunities will arise!
We’ve had a blast on the Pacific Crest Trail and keeping up with our blog so far. A special thanks to all of our readers for tuning in, staying in touch, and giving us encouragement. We hope you’ll continue to as we start the next chapter in our lives.
Until we’re on the other side of the world,
Sally and Nikita