When we launched 20 Years Hence, we called it a travel blog because that was what everyone else with a blog similar to our own was doing and the mantle fit well enough. What else would you call a site meant to document the adventure of a lifetime? Very quickly, however, we realized that as […]
A few months ago, I began alluding to (and explicitly mentioning… subtlety is rarely my strong suit) the fact that Tony & I will be winding up our trip and heading home this summer. I didn’t go into detail about why this was happening, in part because I didn’t really think anyone other than the […]
A few weeks back, I was chatting on Facebook with my good friend Simona. We’ve been friends for nearly a decade at this point, having met during our final semester of university and bonded (initially) over our mutual love of Oasis. As if to make up for lost time, we crammed years worth of friendship […]
For the last month, every time I have set forth into the busy streets of Saigon, I have felt the keen pangs of grief. The pains are sharpest and most acute when I’m on the back of our motorcycle and we zip through the swirling snarls of traffic; it’s when I feel most alive and […]
I will not be the first person to tell you that in order to live a life of full-time travel, I had to make sacrifices. Everyone who has ever decided to travel for an extended period of time has had to give up something in pursuit of that dream—whether it’s cutting out daily trips to […]
I have been in a tailspin lately. A downward spiral. Meltdown mode. Call it what you will, I am a hot mess. I feel at war with myself, rent down the middle, and though I have been trying my best to reconcile my personal discord, I have been failing spectacularly. When all I want is […]
Do you know how long it takes to form a first impression about a person? 100 milliseconds. In contrast, it takes about 350 milliseconds to blink your eyes. So, as travelers, quite literally within the blink of an eye, we determine the fate of a city or a country three times over. I like to […]
As perpetual travelers who are constantly pulling up stakes and heading from one city to the next, we’re always looking for things we can toss to lighten our load, not ways we can add to it, so this somewhat trivial shopping outing is really anything but. We don’t buy things unless they’re absolutely necessary, are easily portable, and will get a lot of use. Whatever preconceived notions you might have of long-term travel, know this: for us, a yoga mat and two “normal” (read: not quick drying) towels count as a luxury. Oh how these months of travel have changed us.
As I suspect it was for most of you reading this, in one way or another, 2013 was a big year. For us it marked a full 12 months of the calendar that we spent devoting ourselves exclusively to travel. To that end, it took us to 7 new countries… though, as you’ll see, in some cases, one visit just wasn’t enough and we found ourselves returning to a few favorites several times over.
When Tony & I initially set out on this trip, we thought we’d be gone for the standard 1 year, maybe 18 months if we were lucky. But we’ve now been traveling long enough that when people we meet along the way ask us how long we’ve been on the road we actually have to stop and really think about it. I was astounded when I did just this last week and realized that we’ve now been traveling for over 15 months! Best of all, we’re still going strong and have no plans to stop any time soon.
Today marks 14 months on the road, and even if I’m marking the occasion curled up on a mercifully soft Nepali mattress battling a flu-turned-head-cold while a flock of pigeons coos lullabies outside our window, this still seems like something worth celebrating. In fact, if our time traveling has taught me anything, it’s that these are the moments that, whether through a whispered exhalation or a holler that shakes the skies above, deserve an offering of thanks.
By far the worst-kept secret on this blog (and perhaps the entire internet) is just how far behind this site is in chronicling our trip. This is the worst kept secret, in part, because I routinely state explicitly just how woefully behind we are, but I also figured that since our last post was about how we spent Christmas 2012, the cat was really out of the bag: try as we might, 20YH is months behind.
One year ago, we followed our bliss and a one-way ticket to the other side of the planet. We landed in Tokyo, Japan with about 95% of our worldly possessions strapped to our back, and little else other than a bank account flush from years of hard saving and a head full of dreams that it was finally time to make real. Fast-forward 365 days and, well, not much has changed really! Our bank account is certainly a lot leaner, but every morning we wake up with hearts, if not heads, full of dreams and do our best to make some of them come true. Though there have absolutely been bumps along the way, it’s a pretty fantastic way to live.
My senior year of high school, one of the art teachers offered an Introduction to Photography course. Due to my already-on-record overachieving, I had completed most of the courses that I needed to apply for university and was scrambling to find enough courses so I could take the requisite minimum number; I figured that photography would be fun. Unfortunately, so did most of the artsy kids attending my school and the instructor wound up having to give priority to kids who had already taken a certain number of art course (which, as a music geek, I had not) and I was shut out. I wound up taking Intro to Computer Science instead, which probably wound up being more useful over the next 15 years…
But I never forgot about my thwarted photography dreams.
I wish I could tell you about the day I woke up and realized that I was no longer in control of my own life. The writer in me wants to tell you that story in the same way you would encounter it in a novel, with me huddled in my bed as a clap of thunder rattled the windows, followed by a lightning bolt arcing through the sky—and me—as the realization struck that fear was now my mistress.