These days, I’m in Taipei, Taiwan. I’m studying Chinese (or as I tell everyone around here, wo xue zhongwen) and I enjoy it (wo xihuan xue zhongwen).
I would have loved to be a travel blogger, but given that I can only find the motivation to update once every 6 (8?) months, it seems I’m not destined for such a career path. I always have lots to say and I tell it to myself as I’m lying in bed at night trying to asleep, but forging the link between my mind and the keyboard is, well, a lot of work. Also, while I wasn’t blogging, WordPress went and made their interface super ugly and unpractical so now I waste a lot of time cursing at my screen.
The last time I logged into the blog, we’d just crossed the border into Laos after 3 months in Thailand. Since then, we’ve…
…spent a month in Laos
…spent a month in Taiwan
…spent a month in the Philippines and visited a child that I sponsor
…spent 2 months going between Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei
…went to the Rainforest Music Festival in Sarawak, Malaysia
…went back to Taiwan to study Chinese for a few months
…took a weekend trip to Kyoto, Japan which really wasn’t long enough
…thought that Chinese wasn’t using enough of my learning power, so started taking an online TESOL (course on how to teach English) for my own personal interest
Sorry no pictures of that!
When I piled the last of my belongings into my car and drove away, I was exhausted. 3 years at a stressful (but rewarding! I do miss parts of it) job had gotten me to the point that I flew into a rage whenever I heard a phone ring. Walking into a pharmacy had me fighting the urge to turn around and storm out, and I had no patience whatsoever for people.
Since then, I’ve driven across North America, most of it by myself. I’ve chased cows and rode horses in Australia. I provided some entertainment (and hopefully some enrichment!) for autistic children in Thailand. I learned about elephants. I did a lot of hiking in rain forests. I met all kinds of people, laughed at all matters of jokes and said “thank you” in at least 5 languages.
It was around our first stay in Taiwan that I started to not hate the idea of slowing down. So at about 10 months in. By the one year point, so sometime in Malaysia, I realized I was getting tired of travelling. Which is good, really, since my savings won’t last forever.
In case anyone was wondering, there was never a big revelation moment where all the secrets of life become clear. Then again, I didn’t expect there to be. But I was hoping I’d figure out my priorities so I could decide what to come home to and I think I’ve accomplished that.
Ed and I survived spending almost every moment of every day together without either of us storming off. I won’t lie, the nights were, and still are, rough – I’m an ultra light sleeper with pretty severe insomnia and he’s a snorer who can sleep 12 hours a day…it’s like the worst sleep combination ever – but otherwise it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve come to understand what people mean by “when you travel together, you notice your differences more”, but it’s all just a question of realizing that you can either let your differences come between you, or you can just accept that you’re not and will never be the same person. Sometimes it was frustrating to not be able to move at my natural pace of ALL GO GO GO ALL THE TIME and do all the things I’d be able to do if I were by myself. But then I’d be reminded of all the things I could now do as part of a team that I couldn’t have done (or wouldn’t have enjoyed doing) on my own.
The last miles
I haven’t quite decided yet when I’m coming home. My “Epic Journey” account is running low but I can easily support us for a few more months without having to touch the “Back in Canada” account, so there’s no rush. We are thinking of spending Christmas in Taiwan, or rather I am and Ed doesn’t care. I still have a couple (3 I think) weeks of Chinese class and I might tack on a couple more if the school lets me. I don’t want to be on a deadline to return home, so I might as well spend Christmas here in Taiwan, where we’re comfortably settled in a decent apartment with Ed’s older brother.
After that, maybe we’ll go home, maybe we’ll make another stop or two.
I still have a lot of malaria pills left and it would absolutely break my heart to waste them (we ended up visiting way less countries than expected), so maybe we’ll make a stop in Cambodia. Myanmar, remote Indonesia and maybe India are options too but out of all them, Cambodia intrigues me the most. (They’re all excellent destinations, but I kind of feel like India’s too far out of the way while Myanmar and remote Indonesia are quite similar to places we’ve already been.)
Then, our taste of Japan was so short and so sweet that we can’t help but ponder the possibility of going back. It would be annoying in the winter since we’d have to stock up on jackets, but I do think Japan’s comfort, modernity and temperate climate would be a nice way to end this crazy adventure.
I love the possibilities.