life is good. in fact, it’s surreal good.
if we’re all being honest here, india rocked our world and took a toll on us both emotionally and physically. the minute we landed back in bangkok, we felt like we were home. the place that was so foreign just a month before, was suddenly so familiar and comfortable – but we were beat. danny was sick (head cold / stomach bug / exhaustion) and i spent those first few days on the beach trying to make sense of it all. attempting to digest and compartmentalize india.
now with two weeks of beach time under our belt, we’re recharged and better than ever. we keep joking that we’re really good at beach vacation. indeed.
just yesterday, we were taking an afternoon swim between cocktails when d turned to me and said, “this is our life. how awesome is this?”
that’s how we feel. we get asked that particular question a lot, and that’s the honest truth. it’s incredible.
and with that, the balancing act continues. i really can’t believe we’re already 2 months into this adventure, but if we think about all we’ve done and (literally) how far we’ve come, it feels as though it must be longer. i’ve heard parents say about raising children, “the days are long, but the months/years are short.” i think that sums it up perfectly.
we’re at the point where the looming end date feels like it’ll be here before we know it, but we’ve realistically still got plenty of days / weeks / months to play with. so now the big question — how will we spend them?
before any vacation, new job or experience, you fantasize and try to imagine what it will be like. you think about what you want it to be like. you visualize yourself doing certain things and feeling a certain way. you look at what other people have done or said about their similar situations. and then like any experience, when you’re actually living it, things change.
very early into this trip, we concluded that there are a few different types of experiences, the:
a. i’m so psyched and know i’ll love this… no ifs, ands or buts. yes!
b. out of my comfort zone, but i’m going to push myself to try out this place/experience.
c. based on experience, i know i won’t enjoy x/y/z but will do it simply to say that i’ve done it.
i’m glad to say that using past life and travel experiences as our caliber, we were both quick to confidently eliminate most “c” adventures, locations & activities from the itinerary. why? because at the end of the day, nobody is going to give us a badge or really care we what did, but we have to live it. this is our time. and we’ve realized that it’d be silly to choose to spend our precious time doing things that won’t enrich our time.
don’t get me wrong – not every minute is quality-controlled and peachy keen and we do plenty of things we don’t necessarily want to do. oh, the stories we have about not-so-fun situations we live through each week. plus, those are part of the greater travel experience, as are the “b” things that push your boundaries and comfort zone. those are a must! i’m talking about knowingly exerting time, energy or money for something we should do but won’t get much out of (for danny, the hyper-touristy attractions and check-list items). a “c” example for me: we’re both PADI scuba diving certified. we did this before a trip to Fiji and Australia. but after a few dives, i could never shake the anxiety i felt before scuba diving. each time, i’d get scared going down, get scared if i saw anything bigger than a puffer fish and couldn’t wait for it to be over. so, why would i pay big money and spend an entire day scuba diving in thailand? the only reason i can think of is to “say i did it” or because i feel like i should since i’m here and the diving is amazing. so yeah, i’ve done it. toss me a snorkel and i’ll be just fine.
so, we’re back to the balance and ROI. and i’m not talking about money – i’m talking about return on the investment of time, energy, and experience. it’s up to us to determine how we maximize the rest of the time we’ve already invested in this trip. at this point, we’re seeing a reoccurring theme of what we really enjoy and makes us the happiest. there are definitely common denominators and ingredients to our best days. some are expected and some have surprised us. so with those key learnings from the past couple of months in mind, we’re modifying our upcoming plans and itineraries to make sure we’re focusing on doing more of what makes us happy.
it’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to be a certain type of traveler, or living an idealistic life, but we need to sprinkle in the “should do’s” verses focusing on them. danny and i meet longterm travelers every day and hear stories about their adventures and it’s easy to start comparing your experience to theirs (same goes for life). are they being more adventurous than us? are we not getting off the beaten path enough? should we go to country x/y/z even though we don’t know a damn thing about it? maybe. but maybe we’re doing exactly what we should be doing with our time.
here’s the deal. for us, we’ve realized that we’re going to happily straddle the line between “adventurous backpackers” and “long term vacationers” and that’s okay. in fact, there are so many parallels between our travel style and real life that it’s helping us come to terms with who we really are and what we want. our most memorable days have been a perfect blend of exploration and comfort. so for the next few months, we’re going to focus on seeking out more of that.
at the end of the day, no matter where you are in the world,
we each get served up one day at a time and we
should all be doing more of what makes us happy.
coming soon: bunches more photos & stories from india,
some poor little laos blog posts that got left behind and updates on southern thailand (heaven).