I guess it’s about time I put some more words and pictures out to the blogospere.
Chiang Mai followed the beaches. It’s one of the most popular towns up north for tourism and a stark contrast to the culture down south. Zina and I spent probably the most time there, hanging out in some cooler weather and small town vibes. My favorite day was the one where we hiked up the side of a mountain to the famous temple of the city, Doi Suthep. Huge shout out to technology and my folks. When I mentioned we were travel-planning at the hotel my pops got on the Google and found some sites with great advice on how to do the hike and it got us all the way there! Most of the Thai folks don’t even consider the hike- it’s taxis all the way- but it’s totally do-able. We actually walked all the way from our guesthouse in the square, maybe an hrs walk? Through a nice little part of town nonetheless. We finally started the trek and it was great. Just challenging enough to trigger a much-needed sweat, but manageable enough to do in a couple hours. It was a beautiful sight and full of tourists and glittery temples at the top (though none of them were as sweaty as us:)
We also found a beautiful little thai health-food shop that we spent way too much time at. And we saw the hunger games in IMAX. And we went to a cooking class (I’ll add in the name when I get it handy) that was a ton of fun. It was highly recommended from one of our guesthouses and it was great! We made things like cashew chicken curry, fresh spring rolls, pad thai, and steamed fish with yet another curry sauce. There were more things but I can’t give them the savory credit they deserve with just words, so we’ll have to wait until I can upload some of the pictures from my camera.
And throughout the time we spent in Chiang Mai, my plans for the next few weeks started changing, so I guess they’re more drastic than I gave them credit for and maybe I should fill you in? Well, Nepal isn’t happening. For most of you guys that I’ve talked to, Nepal was always just the tail end of my plans and something I really wanted to do. Yet.. between realizing how much gear I’d have to buy, how little time I could actually spend there compared to how much I wanted to spend, difficulties communicating with my friends about meeting up AND the growing realization that I am so close to so many other countries that would not require a wardrobe change… I ended up booking a flight to Vietnam. As of tomorrow, I’ll be flying solo into Hanoi, and making my way down the country- eventually back to Bangkok to retrieve my luggage that I’m leaving at the hotel.
SO. That’s happening.
I’m a bit nervous, but more excited. Traveling alone is a whole different world than traveling with companions and I’m ready to get some of that exposure and experience and freedom. Yes, yes, it means keeping my wits about me and my guard up just a bit higher, but I know that. It will likely be more exhausting than with friends, but in the travelers’ world, you’re never really alone. I have no doubt that I’ll meet lots of new people and make some new friends, and I think that happens even faster for a solo traveler than it does when you’re paired up. Also, I’ve spend over three months in Asia now and I’m feeling a bit more confident and comfortable than I would have been earlier on, and I want to squeeze out as much as I can before the frigid life of academia greets me (only one month?!
I’ll be straight though- I am excited to come back. While world traveling is easy to brag about and easy to idealize, it’s definitely not as ideallic as it may seem, at least not all the time. My logic is that it’s probably better to question everything and not know what my life is while walking the streets of a new, foreign city than to do it at home. It’s only a month before I’ll be back in a super comfortable lifestyle in Blacksburg (i hope anyway) but in all honesty- I’m twenty-two. I prolly won’t have any more answers to Life anytime soon. So may as well feel all lost and confused (happy free confused and lonely at the same time- xo tay swift) in a place like bangkok. At least for this moment in time. I think one of the number one regrets that I hear from older people is that they wish they’d traveled more. So if nothing else, maybe I can cross that one off the regret list? WHATEV. LOVE YOU ALL LOTS. (And for any other twenty-somethings that didn’t get the reference. Here is this song. It’s pretty much the best jam ever and gives you something to dance to when you’re all freaked out a out life)http://youtu.be/AgFeZr5ptV8
OH AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY COUSIN EMILY. She just uprooted her life to move to New York to follow her own dreams- SO BRAVE EM. love you and hoping all the best comes your way!