After all of the traveling we did, Lisa and I accumulated a lot of photos! I have long wanted to figure out a way to display some of them and, after iterating on several designs, finally installed a finished a photo wall in my bedroom that is about nine by three feet. Here’s how to do it.
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!
Oh, hey! It’s me, Lisa, and I’m still alive. I arrived back home three weeks ago, and it’s been a hectic few weeks. But if I was pressed to tell you what’s happened in all that time, I couldn’t give you a great answer. It’s all been quite a blur.
I thought going home would be easy. After six months of every day being a new adventure full of unanticipated situations and meeting new people, I was looking forward to returning to my routine: get up, go to work, go work out and play ultimate, go hang out with friends, etc. Nothing to it, right? Easy peasy. Except…
After a ten-day introduction to Buddhism and meditation at a monastery in Kathmandu, about 40 of us made plans to meet at a restaurant in Thamel (the tourist district) the night our course, and two days of silence, ended. We arrived a little late to the party and soon Daniel came up to me. He was a fellow ultimate player that I had met at the monastery, recognizable because he was wearing a jersey from a Wisconsin summer league.
Daniel: I’ve got a proposition for you. What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: No plans, so probably whatever you are proposing.
Daniel: Bungee jumping.
We had a lot of GoPro footage from Thingyan, Myanmar’s new-year water festival that Lisa wrote about previously. I finally found some time to edit it and spliced in some clips from our other travels throughout Myanmar — sunrise in Bagan, cruising around Bagan on electric bikes, the train to Hsipaw, and our Inle Lake trek.
I recently spent ten days at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu. It was a very rewarding experience that I probably would not have encountered without Lisa. When we were “planning” our trip, this was one of the few things that she had mentioned wanting to do, and while it wasn’t something I would have thought to select on my own, I was excited about the idea of learning and experiencing something new, even if I had very little idea what I was getting myself into.
A friend from home recently asked me to describe my travel adventures with one word. After a bit of thought, I settled on “freedom” which was the inspiration for part of my last post. But after giving it even more thought, I’m going to amend my one-word summary to “humbling.”
Having seen more of the Earth, it seems logical that the world would seem a little bit smaller. A little less mysterious and a little more known. Instead, quite the opposite is true. The vastness and diversity of the world has been even more impressed upon me than before. If I thought I was a tiny speck before, imagine how my battered ego must feel now!
May 11th is Matt and I’s six-month travel anniversary! On November 11, we left Denver with nothing but vague plans (if anyone is keeping score, very few of those plans actually panned out which I consider a good thing) and a sense of adventure. It has been an incredible and amazing journey, and I’ve loved almost all of it, but it is drawing to a close for me. On May 26, I begin a 36-hour journey back to Denver while Matt continues on to Europe. This is the homestretch. In three weeks, I will return to the real world.
A lot of people have asked me how I feel: am I sad that this crazy adventure is ending or am I excited to be going home?
That’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. The politically correct answer is “both” (or “neither”?), but we all know that’s not the truth. It’s closer to a ratio, 40:60. Or maybe 30:70. Little Billy can be a shithead, sometimes.
I’m writing this post on April 28 as we have just crossed Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters (17,769 feet) and made it to Muktinath, a village that sits at 3,800 meters. The following photo of Lisa was taken during our 1,600 meter descent that felt not-so-great on the knees:
Throughout our Annapurna Circuit hike, single photographs have had a hard time capturing the enormity of the landscapes. So my typical hiking day involves taking out my iPhone way too many times, pointing it towards a mountain and awkwardly rotating my body as I capture panorama after panorama.