This is not a small thing we are doing. We made a choice. For some it was easy. Others agonized over every detail – either way, we ended up at the same conclusion. Some were excited, some were scared, but most were a mixture of the two. We packed up life as we know it, and said our see-you-laters. We boarded flights to destinations, both known and unknown. We began a journey that has taken us further than we could have ever imagined.
We chose. To live an unconventional life. To leave loved ones behind and abandon our creature comforts. We warped our sense of home, to the point where some of us don’t know how to answer that question anymore. We changed our perception of family. We opened our hearts and our minds to the world, agreed to weather whatever it threw at us. We prepared to do it alone, and quickly realized we didn’t have to.
We climb mountains. Crawl through caves. Swim in oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, pools. Hike to lakes, hot springs and epic views – through jungles and rice fields to hidden villages – to waterfalls we scale up and rappel down. We seek sunsets and sunrises – sometimes we miss both. We camp. There is bungee jumping, cliff jumping, wake boarding, skydiving, skateboarding, sand boarding, paragliding, surfing, volleyball, soccer games, rugby pickup, disc golf (that last of which I suck at).
We work. All hours of the day and night. We prop our laptops up in airports, cafes, workspaces – in homestays, hostels, hotels and AirBNBs. We take calls in the desert, on docks, outside clubs, on boats, at breakfast/lunch/dinner, in the wee hours of the morning and the darkest hours of night. We hunt wifi and power.. outlets and passwords are our survival tools.
We dance in the rain – and in airports, on beaches, in workspaces, apartments, elevators, on planes, trains and automobiles. In the occasional club.
We set goals. We grow. We fail. We succeed. We fall in love, and have our hearts broken – we break hearts along the way. We fight… with ourselves and each other. We celebrate, ourselves and each other.
We explore – near and far. We take early morning flights and overnight buses – ferries, rails, and bullet trains – we rent Pandas and load into BlahBlah cars, hop on scooters (sometimes with strangers), all to reach the furthest corners of the world that we are capable of seeing.
We face tragedy. We get sick, and hurt, and lonely and sad. We struggle. We miss our family and friends. We feel guilt at not missing them enough sometimes. We fear we may never be able to return to our previous lives. We process the reality that we may not want to. We accept the fact that we are forever changed, and consider that our loved ones will never understand.
We sleep… sometimes very little, and mostly whenever and wherever we can.
We get Bali Belly and the Peruvian Plague – between porcelain palace trips we run down the sushi/ceviche/street meat/not-properly-boiled-water we ingested that could have put us in this predicament.
We face language barriers – we learn hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and I’m sorry (mostly for not being able to communicate).
We live everyday life. We do laundry and grocery shop, get haircuts, manicures, pedicures. We pay bills and balance our budgets, with the added pressure of FOMO and side trips. We order Dominos in Peru, eat mac and cheese in Malaysia, visit Hooters in Colombia, make stuffing out of pancakes in Bali – we Netflix and chill, have girls nights in. We try to eat healthy (amidst a sea of delicious cuisine), and we hit the gym – Crossfit, Monkey Boxing, Muay Thai, Zumba, Pole dancing (yes) – we go for runs, power walks, lift heavy things, practice yoga.
We lose tramily members along the way – to personal, family and professional obligations. We know that a piece of us goes with them, and a piece of them stays with us. We make new friends as well – at Nation Houses, Island Takeovers, New Years, Carnival, Lantern Festivals.
We share our adventures. Through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, blogs and journals. We recount stories over FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, however we can reach you. We share the world, our world, with those that we love, so they can live vicariously and have a sense of our joy for themselves.
We inspire you. We confuse you. We scare you (mostly our parents). You’re envious of our adventures, proud of our bravery, fearful for our safety, grateful you don’t face the struggles we do. You’re happy for us, but you miss us. You want us to come home, but know we are where we need to be.
I chose. To live an unconventional life.
I have been holding onto this post for a while. Tweaking it, adding to it – thinking of a good title, a play on words – trying to wrap it up with a neat little bow, something catchy, witty, something that will have you coming back for the next post. I regret to say I’ve come up empty, so until next time Lovers….
Randomly Yours –