Our trip is fast approaching, and I’m getting more and more excited each day. The best part about this upcoming adventure is that I have little to no idea what is in store for me. And that is what keeps me up at night, giddy with anticipation. I’m the kind of person who likes to go with the flow, takes it day by day, and looks forward to the surprises that come with not having a solid, long-term plan and letting things happen whether for good or for…not so good. That is what I think builds character. And that is a lot of what this trip means to me. I’ve been to Southeast Asia many times before, but not with this particular outlook and not for this amount of time. The possibilities seem endless.

Having David by my side – a well-traveled compadre who shares many similarities with moi – is also a new and exciting thing to look forward to. Besides for friends here and there, my mom has always been my main travel companion in the past, which has usually been fine for the most part since she is really just a big kid. She was the one who generated my desire to travel to remote and off-the-beaten-path locations and to avoid the Western outlook and actions that would label me as a “tourist”. I guess putting it that way she can also be credited with leading me on the path to my Anthropology degree. But I think Dav and I will make a perfect team. We are both approaching this trip from similar standpoints and both have a good amount of travel and life experience to get as much as we can out of this trip. We’re active individuals but are also laid back. We can be extremely silly, but we also both have a good head on our shoulders and can make responsible decisions whenever the time calls for it. But one of David’s greatest assets is how he is so personable and amiable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him not be able to start a conversation with a complete stranger, and this is something that I know I lack but is a great quality to have when you’re embarking on the kind of adventure that we are. Maybe we should do the Amazing Race next.

brothaman, sistalady, and the bootiful elizalady

The volunteer programs I will be participating in and the people Dav and I meet along the way will hopefully be my stepping-stones. There are other programs I want to get involved in (i.e. Orangutan reserves, elephant rehabilitation programs, tsunami and earthquake groups, etc.), and the best way to get connected in this part of the world is networking through people. I am hoping that each adventure I have – whether it is volunteering with dogs at BAWA or walking through the Monkey Forest in Ubud – will open a new door to more opportunities. Even as we tell people about our trip in and around Boston, someone offers a new connection – a friend who moved to Thailand and could serve as a makeshift tour guide, an acquaintance’s uncle who designs the most popular jewelry out of Bali and could perhaps offer a temp job, a well-known underwater photographer who might be able to take us on a little dive expedition, etc. I am equally excited for the parts of my trip that are planned and the majority of which are unplanned, but regardless I plan to take advantage of every single thing that comes my way.