Peculiar things, these opportunities. Sometimes they fall out of the sky and slap you in the face, begging you to notice them. On the other side of the spectrum, they ask you get off your lazy butt and create them from scratch. I'll be traveling quite a bit over the next six weeks, so I thought I'd fill you in on how each of these opportunities came to fruition. They each fell in very different places along that spectrum.
WASHINGTON DC: A few months ago, Chase learned he was going to be in the DC metro area for a two week training. The weekend in between was his to enjoy. "Come with me to DC?" was met with "On the condition that we can spend hours in the Smithsonian." A deal was made and that was that. I'm going this weekend!
TAOS, NEW MEXICO: A large group of friends from Chase's squadron--plus Chase's brothers--are flying out to Taos for a weekend of skiing later in January. The original idea "fell out of the sky", but the planning involved moved this opportunity more towards the side of the spectrum labeled "work" ;). Our friend, Kim, scoured the interwebs until she found a cabin large enough to house our group on the cheap. Other details, such as how to get groceries on behalf of the group, how to rent gear, etc. make this trip a logistical feat, but I'm sure it will be worth it!
I'm especially excited for this trip, as it will potentially check off two bucket list items! After a skiing accident a few years ago resulted in a New Years Eve ER visit, I've been slightly pretty darn scared of snow skiing. So the Taos trip this year will hopefully accomplish two bucket list items: (1) "Snow ski and not fall down", which was added after the unfortunate events of last time, and (2) "Overcome a fear". A very very real fear.
THAILAND/CAMBODIA/VIETNAM: On this day next month, I'll be putting up a Gone Fishing Traveling out of office message, and packing my backpack. This opportunity has been a long time in the making--I've always wanted to travel in the Southeast Asia region, but last April was when the idea really took root. Some might label it the trending "quarter-life crisis", set in motion by my recent birthday, but in reality, it was much less glamorous. I was rifling through some old study abroad pictures and missing the adventure of it all terribly. That's when it hit me that a) I'm not married, b) I don't have any children, c) I have the time off and a tiny travel slush fund saved up, so WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?! I could craft a whole new adventure, if only I were brave enough to start.
After that realization in April, the wheels started turning in May. I immediately requested the time off and reached out to many friends and explained my plans, inviting them to come along. I formed a basic travel path of places I really wanted to see, and booked my stay in various cities (all had 100% refund cancellation policy if I cancelled up until a week before). In June, one of my co-workers decided to join me on the adventure, and we booked our flights. More research and planning occurred in July - September...TripAdvisor, travel blogs, and well traveled friends were the best resources. October and November were the months of vaccinations and visas. We also booked some fun excursions and two more travel buddies jumped in for the Cambodia and Vietnam portion of the trip. In December, we discussed odds and ends like bus vs. train for intercity travel and how we planned to communicate with each other and our families while abroad.
And now here we are, a month before the trip, and I can tell you we have a LOT planned. We will be kayaking and snorkeling in the bays of Thailand, exploring temples by bike in Cambodia, hiking, taking cooking classes, and piecing together the history of the areas we visit. Planning this trip to make things go smoothly has been a labor of love, and even still...I can guarantee that we will have a slew of roadblocks. It's travel, after all!
I'll be in touch to give updates over the next few weeks! :)