It’s been about 143 days (but who’s counting?), since we left the Pacific Crest Trail. Many of you started following us because of our thru hike; you wanted to read trail journals. We had a fantastic time on the PCT, but that was about four months ago and we’re sure people are wondering: what on earth are we doing now?
More like where on earth: we are currently in Thailand, and just off the plane from a 3 week tour of Myanmar (Burma).
But let’s back up to where we left off:
After we left the trail, we finished our remaining time out West with an unforgettable road trip and backpacking adventure through some of the most famous and beautiful National Parks in the United States.
There was no regret, only possibility. And we actually saved money compared to thruhiking. Glorious, is the term I would use to sum up that trip. You can see photo highlights here.
After that we returned home to Atlanta for just under 2 months. For four hellish weeks of that, I worked to complete the most difficult English Teaching Certification course on the planet: the Cambridge CELTA. The rest of the time I spent catching up with family and friends and preparing to leave for Southeast Asia- there wasn’t much time for anything else.
Some of you are asking, teaching English? What?
Yes. It has been a lifelong goal of mine to go abroad for more than just a vacation or sight seeing trip and becoming an English teacher was always one of the most accessible ways to do that. It helps that I love foreign languages and have a Linguistics degree 😛
I finished my CELTA certification with a viable score and am passively sizing up each location that we visit as a possible place in which I could both live and work as a teacher.
Our first stop in Asia has been Bangkok. We arrived on December 4th.
Bangkok, for us, has been a dream. A dream world of delicious food. Good thing we are walking to all of the sites we want to see, otherwise I would have gained 10 pounds already for the constant street food sampling and snacking I do here.
Curiously, when we’re out and about in Bangkok, we walk about 10 miles a day. We would never have been able to do that pre-PCT, and though I still have PCT-related problems, I’m glad the benefits haven’t worn off completely either. Thank you stamina and leg muscles.
Bangkok was our starting point for a number of reasons, one of those being that it’s one of the few countries with a Myanmar embassy, where we could get visas to travel in the country.
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has only recently opened up to the outside world within the last few years. The country is changing fast and there’s a mad rush to see the “real Myanmar” before it’s too late. That said, we spent a blissful, eye-opening, and a bit rough 3 weeks seeing as much of the country as possible.
While we were there, we met up with my cousin and her husband, who also happened to be vacationing in the country. Pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity.
We have a lot more about Myanmar coming up on the blog. So stay tuned if you’re interested in reading some crazy stories and generally learning more about a country that has very little coverage or up to date information online.
But let’s get back to this whole hiking business:
Will We Thruhike Again?
Probably not. We both suffer from, not quite injury, but persistent pain acquired on the trail that hasn’t yet faded completely. The concern that we’ve done some long-term damage to our bodies while hiking 1,500 miles is not one to be taken lightly. I find myself thinking that I will never recommend thru hiking to anyone who is not younger than 23 years or a super athlete, while also remembering it as one of the most magical and transcendental experiences of my life.
Just looking through our photos from the Pacific Crest Trail I easily get choked up. The memories they evoke are hard to explain because it was such a radically different state of being that I can barely find the language to convey it.
Ironically, the memories have a life of their own.
Northern California was a difficult part of the trail for us- it’s where we “flipped” up to Washington. It was long, hot, culinarily, vegetatively and culturally barren and much less grand than the preceding Sierra Nevada.
Yet, for some reason, it’s become one of my favorite memories to return to, even if only for the atmosphere, which was one of stark solitude and difficult to bare at the time.
There’s no doubt that I’ll be walking the trail in my mind for years to come.
What Will We Do Now?
All this is not to say that we’ve resigned ourselves to the lives of simple tourists. We do have more adventure in store: thru biking? Yes, and I think the official term is bike touring but that’s not as fun. We have found a reliable bike store in Bangkok, where we have outfitted touring bikes to take on a long distance tour through Northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
Just as people said we were crazy for thru hiking, so do they say we are crazy for attempting to bike tour foreign countries. Even though we’re certainly not in norm, we’re definitely not the first to do it. We are preparing as much as possible, and since we have already been through one crazy, rugged adventure, I think we may just be alright.
Thanks for sticking with us,
Sally and Nikita