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  • skywatcher 12:10 pm on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Camping #9/52 

    This I have learned about backpacking:  it costs a fair amount of money to be able to live primitively!  I had a decent tent and hiking boots, but everything else had to be evaluated in terms of traveling light…whew!  I had already established a route – a trail I had visited before as a day hike.  The campsite I remembered was about six miles in, tucked into a grove of trees and bordered by a wide but shallow stream.  And I would be spending the night on a Sunday, which meant my chances of getting the preferred site were good.

    The friend who had agreed to go with me backed out at the last minute (nice), but I determined to go anyway.  I left about 1 pm, carrying 1 1/2 liters of water; temperatures were in the 90’s.  Not a great day to be packing it in, but I made it; after about three hours, camp was set up and I’d taken a dip in the stream.  (In retrospect, I didn’t need the tent fly, but thunder early in the afternoon had caused me to err on the side of caution.  You just never know…)

    The water purifier is a genius invention – I had refilled all of my water bottles within 15 minutes of arriving at camp, and it tasted just fine.  Dinner was reconstituted mac and cheese (not bad!) and hot tea…yes, the temps were sweltering, but I find a cup of tea to be very calming.

    So…what does one do after dinner in the middle of the woods?  After hanging my bear bag (containing all food), I spent most of the time wandering around the stream, cooling off and playing with the fish.  Spending time in nature is like detox for the soul.

    Once the sun started setting, I put on my headlamp and settled in for a little reading; I was too tired to stay up very late, though.  Sounds of the night?  Bullfrogs, breeze in the trees, and a whippoorwill – which I hadn’t heard since I was a kid!  I had hoped to hear owls, but I guess you can’t have everything.

    I broke camp by 7:30 the next morning, planning to make it back out before the heat really set in again (it had stayed relatively sweltering all night).  The trek back felt harder…oh, my aching limbs!

    I’ve already talked with another (more dependable) friend about a longer trip before the summer’s out, so we’ll see what happens.  I can’t wait to do it again!

  • AG 5:44 am on July 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Adventure #18: Made travel plans 

    I have struggled with the idea of traveling Asia alone after I leave Korea and go back to the States. Although I came to Korea alone, I had contacts in place immediately upon arrival and quickly made friends with people in my training group. Traveling to different countries alone is different than moving to one alone where you have a job lined up and where the natives welcome foreigners. There are so many unknowns when traveling alone. I considered just going to China to walk on the Great Wall and then heading home to Chicago. I figured if I could make it to China for a few days that I wouldn’t really be alone for a long time.

    I guess this actually was more about me just wanting to hurry home and settle down. I mean all of my friends are doing it, so it seemed like the next step. But then I had an epiphany. I am single. I am young despite what society tells me. I have no children or husband holding me back. Not that having a husband or children would be a bad thing. But it’s just not my life right now. So after much self-reflection, almost a year’s worth, I finally came to the conclusion that my life is happening right now, and I need to really live it. I should embrace my single life and stop being concerned with societal norms. I was actually feeling lonely and depressed for a bit thinking about how I’m alone and how everyone I know has a significant other. And then I realized that there is absolutely no reason to feel bad about being alone. And that I was only feeling bad because I’m 28 and society tells me I should be married and maybe having children. I’ve never been able to actually admit that I want to be married someday or have children. I think maybe I only thought about it because that’s just what people do. And it’s normal. Maybe someday I will want these things. Maybe someday they will just happen. But for now, I’m content with being alone. And it’s not so much that I needed society to accept that. I needed to accept that for myself.

    So after contemplating possible travel destinations here in Asia and deciding to take the plunge and travel alone, a friend of mine in Korea mentioned that she was going to travel at the end of the summer to most of the countries that I wanted to visit and wanted to know if anyone was interested. So I guess this was one of those scenarios where the universe again gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it. Her and I are now going to travel to China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia for a month. My last destination before I go home will be to stop by California and visit my best friend from high school and her husband. Then I will head to Chicago…but not to settle down. I’m going to spend some time with my family and friends and then possibly hit the road again and come back to Korea for another year.

    • blueskiesinva 4:13 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink

      Good for you – follow your gut, not social mores. Introspection is a good thing; how else will we know who we are and what “fits”us as individuals? Be safe and have a wonderful time!!

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