Today marks our 365th day of travel. And what better way to mark our one-year “travel-versary” than by a full day on the road?  The morning began in much the same way as it did a year ago, with us packing our backpacks and walking out the door. This time we boarded a bus bound for Sukhothai. I secured a window seat, and settled in for the 7+ hour ride which would give me plenty of time to reflect.

I looked out the window as the bus pulled out of the station. It was hard to believe that last year at this time, I was staring out a tiny window…but crying my eyes out and simultaneously acting as an immediate buzz-kill for Jeff, who prior to my sniffling was totally amped. In case you’re interested, he does a re-enactment of this scene (badly). Maybe he’ll show you if you ask. As embarrassing as it is to recall now, this episode serves as a marker of how far I’ve come.

There are small differences and larger ones. As for the little changes, if there was some debate, it is now official. I can go an entire year without make-up (gasp) or heels (big gasp) and wearing only the clothes I can carry. There are a few more freckles on my face and the rest of me about twelve shades darker, however temporary. I can kill a cockroach and eat a grasshopper. The cravings for Western comforts, while greatly appreciated, have slowly become less necessary. Plus, I can pee anywhere, including off a tree or in the nastiest of nasty public toilets. Woohoo! But that’s all small stuff.

The best part of travel--making new friends

The best part of travel--making new friends

As for bigger differences….well, I think that remains to be seen. It’s easy to be affected and feel like a different person when you’re out of your comfort zone and being challenged everyday. But the other side of this experience is whether or not we have grown enough to make changes in our daily lives once we’re back home, where it will be all too easy to slip back into old habits. We’ll see how it goes. I hope this trip will continue to affect us always, and that we will go about our daily lives differently as a reflection of it. It is hard to say how or what form these changes will take, since we are still out here on the road. I can be a little extreme, a little bit “all or nothing” and as Jeff usually reminds me, it will be about balancing the changes we want to make, with the reality of our lives once we get back. As the months have somehow dwindled to weeks, the usual challenges of negotiating a fair price or securing lodging will give way to negotiating salaries or securing a parking space, but the long term challenge will be finding a balance between our “travel selves” and our actual selves. Or maybe they are now one and the same. It’s been a recurring dilemma, particularly for me. Good thing we still have several weeks to figure it out.

Posted: January 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Thailand | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »