Preface: I wanted to create some shorter posts to document the weeks leading up to my leaving so that maybe one day I can look back and laugh at how grossly under-prepared I was for the coming years of travel and remember the events that led up to me taking this little adventure in the first place. So, here goes nothing.
T-minus 5ish weeks until departure: I have read all the blogs on Southeast Asia. Every single one. Don't believe me? Ask me what the cheapest beer is in Laos. Ask me where to swim in bio-luminescent plankton in Cambodia. Ask me about the snake blood shots in Vietnam (but don't ask me to take them). Ask me about the most common scams in Thailand - and then ask me how adept I'll be at actually identifying them in the moment (answer: not at all adept). Ask me where the best beaches in the Philippines are. I know things, people. My brain is overflowing with knowledge on countries I've never visited and experiences I've yet to have. As we've discussed, this means nothing, because it's a whole new ballgame when you actually get there and experience culture shock in every possible facet of your day to day life, but we'll get there when we get there. Amazon Prime has become my best friend: I've ordered inflatable neck pillows, microfibre towels, mosquito repellent, packing cubes, super agressively ugly trekking sandals, you name it I've bought it (and cried about it bc my bank account is less full than I want it to be and I haven't even left yet). I am trying to find the line between absolute necessities and luxuries that will just weigh me down. It's not easy trying to figure out how to put 6 months of your life into one backpack, people, let me tell you. In regards to Germany, I plan to get drunk and facetime all my friends on different electronic devices so that they can act as a panel and tell me "Yes" or "No" on everything I want to pack. Foolproof plan, right? Maybe not, but it's the only one I've got and when you're preparing to pack for an indefinite length of time where you'll be in climates ranging from the arctic tundra that is Germany in winter to the surface of the sun that is Southeast Asia in the summer, that's as good as any plan really. I keep waiting for the stress to hit, but to be honest I don't think it's going to happen. I know that might sound crazy because I'm about to completely uproot my entire life, but I try to live my life like the Russian guy in the movie Bridge of Spies: when asked if he's worried about any given dire situation, he responds simply, "Would it help?". I mean, he's right. What good does worrying do? You're expending energy concerned with something that hasn't even happened, and may not ever happen. The best thing about life is that it goes on. No matter what happens today, most of us will be lucky enough to have a tomorrow, and that tomorrow has infinite possibilities. The only thing I'm really not excited for in the next few weeks is the goodbyes. Today was my first "goodbye" to our family friends Kate and Diana, and I am less than enthused about it. Next weekend will be Sami, at which point I may lose my mind a little bit.. but we'll handle it, because that's what we do. I've started the vaccination process (for the few vaccines I've actually opted to get) and researched all the ways I could possibly die during my travels. Potential reasons for my unfortunate demise include but are not limited to: snowboarding off a cliff in the Swiss Alps, partying too hard in Budapest for New Years Eve, getting lost in England or Scotland as a direct result of being unable to understand their horrific accents, going out like my man Steve Irwin and getting a sting ray stinger to the heart, and last but definitely not least likely, contracting malaria and dying in the middle of Southeast Asia. Personally my money's on the sting ray thing but I guess you'll have to stay tuned to find out. I still need travel insurance (to combat the threats to my life mentioned above) and an unlocked smartphone and about a billion other things, but for now I think I'm more or less on track. Any good vibes (or actual tips) you want to send my way are MORE than welcome.
Wish me luck, ya'll!
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
(in August in the US)