04 January 2015

Seeking an Adventure

If you read a previous post of mine carefully enough, you will probably have read that I have been on a backpacking trip to Southeast Asia lately. In fact, by the time this post goes live, I will just be on my way returning to Berlin. Probably, this is the longest trip of mine to date, with several legs, and several different stops. If I counted correctly, I have taken 9 different flights for this trip. But anyway, I will definitely write a proper travelogue series of this trip, covering three countries in mainland Southeast Asia, not to mention the fact that I stopped on an intermediate European country on the way back instead of directly heading back to Berlin. But for now, I want to talk about how this all started.

See, I wanted an adventure. I wanted to experience the thrill of traveling again, the way I did Guatemala and the Caucasus. After all, the last time I had an adventurous trip was Summer of 2013, when I visited Armenia and Georgia for three weeks. Somehow, it all started when I traveled to Guatemala, that trip felt like it was totally different. It was different because things were not planned. I remember that until then (my trip to Mexico City in 2011, for example) I was making these intricate itineraries, creating meticulous travel plans that involved setting hours as to when to eat what where. I remember seeing a document I created about how one day in Mexico City, I would be eating breakfast at 7:00, will be in one museum at 9:00, exiting it and going to a church at 11:00, then having lunch at 12:00 at this particular restaurant, and so on. While I loved planning it, it was also overkill, as most of my friends and especially my sister pointed this out.

So Guatemala happened, and that was the first trip in which pretty much nothing was planned. The only thing I planned that time was the first hostel night in Guatemala City. The next day was totally free, which actually let me consider crossing the border and heading to Honduras to head to Copan, where I spent two days. Every other move I did in the city was purely the result of consulting which chicken bus was departing next.

The trip to Armenia and Georgia was of a similar vein. I only planned to go to Armenia, but I ended up heading to Georgia as well. Again, no set plans. That was definitely fun.

After that, I think I didn't have another adventure. I know why, it is because the travels I have done next weren't foreign enough. I mean, I went to Malta for 9 days, and while I definitely had fun, it was not large enough to be adventurous. After that, I went with my partner to Tuscany and London, which we already pre-planned the various cities that we would sleep in. And while I loved the food and the architecture, it was not too much of an adventure. After that, it was the trip to Boston and New York, and this trip was more a trip to see friends and family, rather than to go sight-seeing and discover a new place. Both of these cities I have already been, after all.

So yeah, I have been craving for an adventure. Back in June, I was in a bad mood. I felt like I was unmotivated. We just booked our tickets to fly to Boston and New York, and since I am not the closest person when it comes to my immediate family, I wasn't looking forward to that trip. I couldn't use it as a motivational element in my day to day life (whenever there is a trip that I am excited about, I just think about that and I can forget about how stressful my work day is). My partner noticed it, and he said that I should take a trip, an adventure. So I considered it, and implemented it. I checked my finances, and since they looked good, I opted to buy a ticket to Myanmar.

The funny thing is that this trip was not the most spontaneous trip either. Back in July and August, I already had decided which cities I would be spending the night in. But then this was necessary because the tourist infrastructure in Myanmar is not yet enough, and I would just end up in crappy high-priced hotels if I didn't plan ahead. So I planned ahead. I bought a guidebook, a phrasebook, even a road map. And I am excited. As much as I have fixed the places I will be visiting in this trip, there are other aspects of it that still make it an adventure. It is a new country for me, after all.

I am glad that my partner and I have a good arrangement when it comes to traveling. We love traveling, but have different yet overlapping travel interests. So we travel together for the most part, and yet there is still the leeway to travel separately. And this time, I am traveling alone.

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