Matt and I are on the road again, if only for two weeks. For ultimate, of course. We’re both headed out to Dubai for WCBU 2015 to play with Currier Island (not a real place). Matt is on the open masters team, and I’ll be playing on the women’s masters team. We’re super excited to see many of the friends we made while we were traveling through Southeast Asia and playing in the various tournaments in that region. Matt and I are both excited to travel together again, and we’ll try to update the @lisamattrtw twitter feed and @toteymoo instagram for the next two weeks or so.
As Lisa departed for home, I was both looking forward to, and anxious about, my new solo travel adventure that lay ahead. It was a fun and exciting prospect to be completely on my own, but would I miss having my good friend with me to keep me laughing through it all?
Well, I’m now over a month into Europe and I still haven’t managed to experience any solo travel. Not even a single day spent without people I had known before hitting Europe!
We weren’t supposed to make it to Boracay; we’d already been to the Philippines in November and didn’t want to loop back when there’s so much else to see, and the cost of getting to and playing in the tournament on a touristy island was way out of our budget. But we did it anyway, and it was one of the greatest times of my entire life. #sorryimnotsorry
Sadly, not all events are fit for public consumption and online perpetuity, so this is a PG-13 version of our week in Boracay.
After much thought, I have decided to pause my trip and return to the States at the end of May so that I can play the club ultimate season with my team, Molly Brown. But never fear, dear readers! It will not be the end of my travel journey. I intend to play the season from June to November and then re-join Matt somewhere in South America. Matt is planning to travel alone to Europe for a few months while I’m chasing plastic back home.
I got a layout Callahan! For our readers who don’t play ultimate, a Callahan is one of the most exciting plays that can happen. It is a defensive score akin to a pick-six in football. And a layout is ultimate-speak for diving after a disc. Callahans are rare and usually the result of some fluke rather than intent. But this one was fully intentional and the highlight of my ultimate career thus far.
At the 14th annual Bangkok Hat Tournament, I was on the Red Ninjas. Here’s a cool picture of us being badasses:
A huge part of why our journey thus far has been so amazing is the kindness and hospitality that we’ve been shown by others. Whether it be by chance, old friendships, ultimate, or couchsurfing, our trip has been blessed by other people who have been our travel angels.
Perhaps the greatest traveling lesson I’ve learned thus far is how helpful it is to explore a new place with a local. They can help you avoid getting ripped off, find all the best food spots, and give recommendations on all sorts of things from how to get around, sights to see or avoid, and what the craziest local dish to try is. They’re also useful for learning about a place’s culture and understanding what life is like for them. And, greatest of all, having a friend in a new place makes traveling so much better.
The Vietnam Hat Tournament took place on December 21-22, 2013 and was the second of three ultimate tournaments in Southeast Asia that I was determined to attend when we left the US. In November, we played in Manila Spirits in the Philippines, and in early February we will hit the Bangkok Hat. Other tournaments are possible along the way, depending on where our travels lead us.
Lisa and I were nearing the end of our 25-hour bus journey from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City when she got an email from the Vietnam Hat Ultimate Tournament organizers meant for captains and team managers. It said further information would be forthcoming, but thanks for taking on an added role for the upcoming weekend. This was perplexing, as she hadn’t signed up for any special managerial team role. When we got off the bus at 8:00pm on the Friday before the tournament, we checked into our hostel and headed over to the tournament party to figure out what teams we would be on and when we would need to be at the fields. When we arrived, the team listings showed Lisa had been designated team manager for the Orange team and somehow I was listed as team captain for Medium Spring Green!
Extra special thanks to Mitzie, JC, and Lester for all of their help this weekend, and everyone on Sid Vicious for making us feel at home and welcome in this huge city. We were so happy to play with you all. Visit us in Colorado sometime so we can return the hospitality!
Less than 24 hours after landing in Manila, we were already playing ultimate at the local Wednesday night league. We had planned to sight-see around Manila for a few days before the weekend ultimate tournament that had triggered the Philippines as the starting point for our trip, but in the end ultimate was played four of the first five days of our trip.
Through a series of fortunate circumstances, we had been introduced to Lester, who appears to be somewhat of a celebrity in the southeast asian ultimate community. Our mutual friend, Laura Noges from Denver, had played with him a couple years ago at a Hong Kong tournament and was very excited for us when she heard we would be playing with his team “Sid Vicious” (thanks to the good word she put in for us)!