A year ago today, Jo and I bundled ourselves into a taxi and breathlessly told the taxi uncle to “bring us to the airport, FAST, please!” Our plane to Chengdu, China was departing in two hours and Jo had just finished drying her hair at home.
In a way, it’s a good thing we were distracted by the recurring thoughts of “SHIT FUCK SHIT, WE’RE GONNA MISS OUR PLANE!!”
We had thrown ourselves into travelling for an indefinite period of time and quite honestly, I would have been freaking myself out (more) if I had thought about this for a smidgen of a second more.
We’d been planning for this for a while now. Personally, I started planning/saving for this trip for the past five years (at least). Emotionally, we knew that it is something that we really wanted to do. Intellectually, we knew that if we are really going to be doing this, this is the best time to do it.
Yet, getting on that plane to Chengdu was like that big leap of faith – it’s the first concrete step we would be taking on our grand trip around the world after years of planning. It’s the point of no return.
Even when it comes to trying to pursue things that I really want, I still feel the butterflies in my stomach when I have to venture into the territory of the unknown – the uncharted waters where nothing is certain.
On the one hand, if this half-assed plan was to succeed, we could potentially have achieved something that we’ve always just dreamed about. And yet, for all our planning, I know that our plan is far from foolproof, and there might be a 1% chance of complete and utter failure (plus/minus 99%). The easiest thing to do would be to retreat back into our comfort zone.
One year later, I know now that I was a nincompoop for even thinking of not doing this.
Over the past year, we’ve travelled through countless cities/small towns/hamlets in eight countries (who’s counting, right?). We’ve seen sights that truly boggled our minds. There’s nothing quite like trudging for four days over the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan, China or traversing through the Salt Flats of Uyuni, Bolivia with newfound friends. We took approximately 673 pictures of the whales in Puerto Madryn, but nothing can do justice to the experience of seeing them splashing about 100 metres in front of us, hearing them breathing loudly all around us, with the backdrop of a spectacular Argentine sunset. We’ve walked through the GORGEOUS graffiti covered streets of Barrio Bellavista in Santiago, Chile and viewed works of art by ancient maestros in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. We’ve swum with whale sharks in the Philippines and run from giant tortoises in Galapagos. We’ve eaten the most awesome steak in the world in Bariloche, Argentina and (unwillingly) sampled raw, decomposed goat meat in Zoige, China.
And that’s just a small fraction of the (sometimes overwhelming) experiences that we’ve had.
I don’t know if I can say that we’ve grown and learnt a lot from everything we’ve seen/felt/did/ate, but I know that I’ve changed.
It’s hard not to.
For one thing, our wallets have unmagically became A LOT lighter. Yet I know that there is very little else I would rather have spent all that money from. True, I would still love to own that Canon DSLR, that latest Iphone or even that Lamborghini, but I don’t think any of that would have enriched us the way the past year had.
I LOVE my friends back home. But the endless talks with other long-term travellers pursuing their one true love are some of the most passionate discussions that I’ve ever had. These talks inspire me to believe that it is POSSIBLE to live for something you love instead of always being tied down by practical considerations. We can always find a way.And then there’s the part of us travelling together. We’ve been together for more than ten years now, (and in two days we would have been married for two of these ten years) (Happy Anniversary!). I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been best friends for most of the time, but the past year has allowed us to understand each other even further.
We had our fair share of fights. We ARE in each others’ faces 24 hours a day. But because of this, we know better what it is that annoys the hell out of the other. (Sometimes, it is fun to know when this knowledge can be used for some hilarious hijinks. IMPORTANT: This maneuver should only be attempted by professional husbands/significant others)
The experiences we had were great, but sharing the experiences together brings the awesomeness to another level. It’s amazing to be awestruck by the sunset in Boracay together, to stroll through the Gobi desert hand in hand and to walk down the coast of the End of the World side by side.
And now, here we stand at the beginning of another adventure through the islands of Galapagos.
No. HELL, no.