Call me crazy, but.... Winter, Ideas, Timing, and This Thing Called Life....
I know that winter is coming... and have been in denial for a few weeks now. Every winter I have been fortunate to plan at least 2-3 escapes to go visit friends or just go somewhere and stay in a hostel and make friends. This winter, I have no specific trips on the books... its not good for my mental health!! With that, I have had a burning desire to take a few weeks off and backpack in another country (or more)... Recently, my job has been 'meh'.. long story short, I was forced to give up some of my fave clients that I have worked with for over 11 years, solely so that the government can save $2 by outsourcing my job to agencies 35+ miles away. I get that its a business.. but these folks are real, live, amazing humans (all with disabilities)... and that doesn't bode well with me. Anyways - I am slowly creeping towards being mentally checked out. So, I have had this travel/backpacking thought for the past 3 years, but timing just never seemed right. Until now.....jobs are a dime a dozen, I have a friend who needs a place to live for awhile (I have a spare room!), and I (pretty much) have the ability to (money tree!!! <--I kid, I kid) pursue the dream, as they say. So now what?!
Step One: Renew my passport (check!)
Next: apply for a Visa (half check).
Step Two: Pick a destination (check).
Step Three: Get vaccinations to match said destination (partial check).
Step three 1/2: Ask boss for LOA (check).
--> If approved, great!!! If not approved, see step five.
Step Four: Book a one way flight (EEK!!).
Step Five: Give boss my 2+ week notice if necessary.
Step Six: Just DO it! There will never be 'the perfect time' to go.
Yep, if this all pans out, THIS girl will be taking an LOA or quitting her job, booking a one way flight to Destination Thailand.. for an unknown length of time... and making the most out of this thing we call, LIFE. Cheers!
How I learned to love travel of all kinds:
I have to say that I have THE coolest parents ever. They raised us and taught us the importance and the beauty of travel - whether near or far. Every summer we took a 2 week vacation across country in first the camper truck, then the 5th wheel camper when we outgrew the first one. While I appreciated the trips back in the day, even amongst the sibling wars ("he's on my side!"), and long hours of nothing to look at (Car Bingo!), I appreciate all of those experiences so much more as an adult. I realize the daunting task of taking a family of 4 across country, from planning destinations, to prepping the camper, to packing the camper, trying to entertain two teenagers who 'hate each other' 88% of the time, to dealing with situations that arise out of ones control. Not to mention the cost of travel. But most of all, I appreciate the fact that at this age, I have seen all but 5 of the states in the US, many of which were in my childhood years with the fam. I realize how lucky I was (*and am) and never take an opportunity to travel for granted. Because of my parents, I have learned to love travel - from seeing and experiencing new places, meeting new people, learning different cultures even within the US, and more - and I am not afraid to travel solo if no one else wants to go along. I usually travel with no plans - 'I will head south unless the weather is bad' and then I find myself out east in search of nice weather and great riding. I never make reservations - I don't like to HAVE to make it to a certain place by a certain time... what if the bike has issues? What if I get tired before arriving there? What if.... so instead, I just roam.. prepared. I almost always pack a tent and sleeping bag in the worst case scenario I can't find myself a room or an airbnb or a couch to surf on. It has always worked out. Well, except that one time in Colorado at Midnight in the rain and in Vail... but besides that. My parents are awesome because while they worry about me, they support my crazy ideas and crazy adventures 100% and are always excited to hear what I am planning next. Most people quiver when I say I want to backpack a foreign country, solo. My parents fully support me chasing my #1 bucket list item.. and that is AWESOME to have their support.
For those of you worried...I have selected this country on purpose and have done my research - Thailand is the safest country for solo female travelers. They have 7 of the worlds 10 best beaches. The flights are expensive, the accommodations are not. The people are friendly (mostly) and there are a ton of volunteer opportunities in exchange for free accommodations. I have researched the two areas NOT to go - near bordering countries who are in turmoil. I have researched what vaccinations I will need ahead of time. I have researched Thai culture - I once touched a Chinese child's head and thought the family was going to murder me and then croak in shock. Turns out, touching a child in that culture is like 'tainting their soul for the worse'. Noted. And from then on, I have researched culture prior to travels. I don't want to be THAT person again. I have learned the very basics in Thai language (ya know, where's the bathroom, how much, help me..) and I just got my learn Thai CD's so I can continue to learn while in the car on the way to work on wintery days. I have researched what to pack, what not to pack. Where to stay based on what kind of adventure I am looking for. What kind of pack to use. How to get from point A to point B if I don't want to trek. Where to stay if I DO want to trek. What to eat and how to eat it. What not to eat and what to stay away from. How long I can stay without a Visa, where to get said Visa, what currency is used, where to get said currency... how to use a cell phone there and what I need to do so....where to get emergency help and how to contact the right folks in an ER... and on and on. So while idea may seem sporadic, trust me when I say this has been on my bucket list for a long time and I read nerdy travel blogs and books for fun. And I prepare for the worst (sickness, injury, etc), hope for the best. My biggest battle may well be how to pack for 2 months in ONE backpack in which I will be carrying the entire time... TBD.
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