Against my better judgment and that of almost everyone I know, I just quit my stressful but stable job at a communications agency. Income uncertainty is a small price to pay for mental freedom and… the opportunity to embark on a long-anticipated voyage to southeast Asia (India, as well as whichever other countries decide to let us in). Total time away: a whopping 99 days. We’re sort of anxious to leave the [relative] comforts of our [somewhat] charmed existence in Montreal, but but we’re quite certain we’ll get over it.
Visiting a new place is exciting, but far less costly and time-intensive activities tend to excite me as well… Cases in point: listening to Otis Redding, concocting a delicious meal from leftovers, and shooting the breeze til 5 am with good friends. Fun and meaningful experiences are lurking nearby anywhere, any time. Nevertheless, preparations are underway and trepidation is mounting for this particular journey – this will be the longest trip either of us have ever taken, despite our advanced ages of 31 (me) and 34 (him). We can’t wait for the sensory overload that typically accompanies a drastic venue change – not to mention the myriad of experiences (and tastes) that can’t possibly be had at home.
Our Travel MO
Some travellers make it a point to visit waterfalls and other natural wonders, while others consider UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites their principal guide. Our preferred modus operandi is to walk extensively, eat everything, drink copiously, and strike up conversation with anyone who’ll give us the time of day [and seems unlikely to kidnap, murder, or annoy us].
Because we’re planning to move around quite a lot, we’ve decided to be backpackers on this trip – surely, I’m not so superficial that I can’t survive for 99 days without a hair dryer or more than three pairs of shoes (that being said, tiny pangs of panic arose when I typed those words just now. Just kidding! I’ll be fine.
We don’t really have one, aside from the massively convoluted series of flights we’ll be undertaking to get from Montreal to Cochin, India, via Frankfurt, Doha, and Bangalore. [Aside: One of our chief motivations for choosing India is to visit B and E, dear friends from this side of the pond who are spending a year in India while she studies malaria on a Fulbright scholarship.] Because we like to do things backwards sometimes, we’ll begin our trip with a few days of sun, sand, and sambar before venturing into the infinitely more chaotic north of India, and beyond.
We’d like to explore Nepal and perhaps Thailand and Cambodia, and the idea of Sri Lanka was bandied about, but other than some light googling, we’re not going to plan the rest of our trip in advance. That could be a big mistake, but we’ll take our chances.