Sterrified=Terrified+Stoked (The best combo)

I’ve been talking a lot about how I’m feeling, about my attitude towards my travels, and the mental state I’m in. Let’s stop that and talk about the details. I have a loose itinerary that has already drastically been changed a dozen times, but I think I’ve finally figured out a general path that I will be taking.

 HERE IT IS:

Monday, March 25th I will head to Northern Thailand to hit the mountains of Chiang Mai and Pai. Thailand is throwing me out of the country on the 31st so from there I will train it down to Malaysia and bum around beaches, islands, mountains and Muslims for 16 days when I will fly to Hanoi, Vietnam.

            In ‘Nam I plan to hike the highest peak in the country, I plan to eat some amazing seafood and watch the countryside pass by me from my train window. By May I should be in Cambodia and lounging on the beach, see some Temples and enjoy the last of SE Asia on an island. On May 15th I fly back to the mountains of Oregon.

 

So in a quick re-cap. Mountains, beach, mountain, seaside, mountains, beach, mountains. I’m pretty okay with this plan—I mean, by pretty okay I actually mean REALLY FREAKING STOKED. Stoked and terrified. Sterrified. Sterrified in the best way possible.

Looking into the great yonder of SE Asia from the comfort of my favourite coffee shop where I walk in and the coffee lady knows my order by heart.

Looking into the great yonder of SE Asia from the comfort of my favourite coffee shop where I walk in and the coffee lady knows my order by heart.

 

Buckle Back Up

When I was a kid, okay, far into my teenage years, I went to summer camp. YMCA Camp Jewel: Ranch Camp for two weeks with my best friend, Kallie, whom I’ve known since I was four. She’s one of those friends that I don’t remember not knowing—just for that reason alone she’s a keeper. But she’s pretty funny, weird and goofy too, so it works out well.

            Anyway, every year her Mom would drive us to the first day of camp and would slow the car wayyyy down so we could read the signs as we approached the entrance:

 

“Slow down”

“You’re moving way to fast”

“We’ve got to make”

“These moments last.”

 

Each line was on a different sign that was separated by about 30 feet. Kallie and I would literally be unbuckled trying to scoot the car faster so we could meet our councilor, bunkmates, and our horse for the next two weeks. (Mind you, we were really cool 15 year-olds.) Her Mom would be creeping along, going on and on about the signs, and how these next two weeks are going to “fly by,” blah blah blah get us to summer camp freedom!!

I get it now. I still find myself on the edge of my seat trying to scoot myself through to the next adventure, but now I’m consciously telling myself to slow [the effffff] down. I could get even more cliché and remind you (while reminding myself,) that “Life is a journey not a destination.” but that would be lame and predictable and typical expat-traveler talk.

As I wrap up my time in Kamphang Phet, Thailand and embark on a solo backpacking trip through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia I’m scared that I’m going to rush through it. That I’m going to be riding a motorbike up a mountain and be wondering what the beach is going to look like next week. Or be lying on the beach and thinking about my friends that I cannot wait to see when I land in Oregon in May—

My goal, my one and only goal for traveling these upcoming months is to slow down. I can talk a good talk about doing this, but I know that I will struggle. I know that this idea of taking it all in, not looking so far ahead that I forget where I am, is going to be extremely difficult for me. But this is a challenge that I’ve put myself in and will learn to sit back in my seat and read each sign, sing the song, look at the mountains and notice the sand between my toes.