Most of you probably know that I have the tendency to get 1,000 steps ahead of myself. Part of what I want to work on during my great adventure is being okay not knowing exactly what is next. In my heart, I know the fun of the adventure lies in not having every second planned out. But, let’s be honest, I’m a sheltered white girl from Minnesota. If I just roll into China/Thailand/etc and am like, “Hey hey hey! What up? I’m here!” I might be setting myself up for some problems. Combine that with, there are so many things that I want to see and do!! I have ended up planning a lot of my trip already…
October 1-2: Fly from Minneapolis to San Francisco to Shanghai!!
October 2-3: In Shanghai. I’ve never been to China. Apparently you don’t need a visa if you’re there for less than 72 hours, are in one of the main cities, and have a ticket booked out. Since this is a basically an 18 hour layover, I think I meet this criteria. Fingers crossed. My goal for Shanghai: Leave the airport. Make it to my flight to Thailand. Eat dumplings.
October 3-8: Chiang Mai, Thailand. I have an Airbnb booked. I think it’s in a good part of town, but the guidebooks stressed me out. So TBD. I’ve never researched where I should stay well enough. In Greece and Paris, winging it went great! In Rome and Lisbon I was less lucky. Anyway, in Chiang Mai I’m hoping to take a Thai cooking class, see some temples, pet an elephant (that’s the one thing I did read about – how to find an elephant sanctuary where they actually are nice to the elephants!), maybe do a jungle/river adventure, get some massages, eat a lot of Thai food. I can get all that packed into a few days and find myself some fun/trouble/relaxation along the way?
October 8-13: Ko Tao, Thailand. Again, booked the Airbnb. But really, I’m coming here because it seems like it’s easy enough to get to my yoga training from here and it’s an island that’s known for scuba diving!! That’s one of the 3 things I was able to figure out from my guide book. When I was in middle school, I went scuba diving in the Cayman Islands… but I wasn’t scuba certified? I don’t know how I did it… but anyway, I’m going to do the open water certification here! It’s 3 days. Trip Advisor names like a billion places. My little French airbnb owner has recommended some people. I’ll post a proud graduate moment when I’m certified so you can all be proud of me.
October 13-November 22: Koh Phangnan, Thailand. The health/heal/reflect/regenerate segment of my Eat, Pray, Love. I’m doing a week of detox and then a month of yoga teacher training! I’m pumped for this. When I decided last year that I wanted to take a sabbatical/leave I wanted to do yoga in Thailand and Spanish class in South America/Spain. So really, this is one of the things that inspired me to take the leap! BUT what my handy dandy Thailand guidebook taught me is this island is known for 1 thing: the full moon parties! So, even though I try to find peace and calm, I somehow find myself a good party too 🙂
November 22-December 2: The world (or Asia/South Pacific) is my oyster! I have a couple weeks before my Habitat for Humanity in Fiji starts. In an ideal world, I want to go to Vietnam, Bangkok, Bali, Australia and New Zealand. I’ll probably go to Australia, but I’m willing to see what the journey up to that point leads me to.
December 2-December 14: Nadi, Fiji. Building a house, yo! Will be hard work, but I’m excited for this part too. Maybe it’s my Catholic guilt, my St. Olaf Lead a Life of Worth and Service, my empath sensitivity, but I feel like with all of this journey that is just about me, I want to actual try to give back in this time. With all that’s going on in our relative backyard in Houston, Florida, Mexico City and Puerto Rico it’s hard not to think, damn, I’m off for a year and these people have nothing… why am I not just down there now trying to help these people?!?! But, I digress… looking forward to serving AND putting my new found skillz of scuba diving and refined skillz of beach bumming to good use in Fiji!
December 14-20: TBD… but ending in Tokyo. I bought my ticket home for Christmas to be December 20, and I’m flying out of Tokyo because, why not?! I might spend a week in Japan. Like in Thailand I think I can eat (sushi in this case) and look at temples and go to crowded markets and just soak in a world that’s seemingly so different to the only one I’ve ever known, and then take a train and see some mountains and more cool things… but I can also go to New Zealand, or stay in Fiji, or check out North Korea (JUST KIDDING ON THAT ONE).
Well in typical Vanessa fashion, that was long and filled with too many details… but that’s the plan for step 1!! A week from now I’ll be in China?! So soon it will go from the plan to the reality. YAY!! 🙂
This is my airbnb in Koh To where I’m going to learn to scuba dive. It’s a private bungalow in the jungle, but 5 minutes from the beach. It has electricy (with air conditioning, a water heater and wifi). A hostel in Ireland in college aside (I was drunk and it was long ago, but I’ll assume it was cheap), it’s the cheapest “hotel” I’ve ever stayed in. I ALREADY LOVE THAILAND.