After a full year of sedentary humbugging, I am excitedly beginning to prepare for my next big adventure. Around this time last year I was returning home from a three month backpacking trip through Europe, a trip which ultimately altered the way I’ve decided to live the rest of my life.
My trip through Europe was not the first time I’d been away from my home and family for an extended period of time, but it did teach me many things that summer camp never could. It taught me how to live lightly (and on a budget), how to meet and befriend total strangers, and to appreciate food and having a clean place to sleep. It and helped me recognize the human capacity for kindness and, conversely, the human capability to be conniving and manipulative. We slept in train stations and in rooms sponsored by Absolut vodka. Sometimes we were greeted like family, and other times treated like nuisances and miscreants. We stumbled upon festivals and tourist traps, and thousands of scenes that fell somewhere in between. But most importantly, it gave me a direction.
Currently I’m in school, majoring in English and minoring in Global Studies. At the same time I’m also trying to acquire proficiency in German and I intend on learning several other languages as well. I’m not entirely sure about what I want to do specifically when I get out of school, but I do know that I want it to be international, or at the very least allow me to travel and work within the context of different languages, cultures and cuisines.
In the meantime, I’m counting down the days until I leave for a 33 day adventure in Thailand. After we arrive in Bangkok, we will spend two weeks at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, where my travel companion Alex and I will be volunteering with elephants for two weeks. We aren’t exactly sure what this entails, but that makes it even more of an enticing endeavor for us. After that we plan on exploring the area around Chiang Mai, head down to Phuket and lounge around on some of the famous Thai beaches.
While I fantasize about the mysterious wonders that Thailand has to offer, I’m piecing together the things I need for my trip. As the days dwindle down, I’m getting my papers in order, making sure my passport is up to date and that my visa is valid. My backpack is slowly filling and my excitement is mounting. I will be keeping this blog in place of a formal journal, and will be updating whenever I get the chance. Until then, I will be anxiously awaiting my departure and hoping for the best.