I’m the kind of person who doesn’t believe in goodbyes…. partly because I’ve said goodbye to my D.C. family like a million times, only to return a few months later. I always say that this isn’t a goodbye, it’s a see ya later kind of thing, which is true. You just never know where life will take you. I make tremendous efforts to keep in contact with the people I care about. I check in on my friends every now and then and really take the time to take care of my relationships.
I don’t take to meeting new people well. I would prefer to have a small group of tight knit friends than a million friends, so when I invest my time and efforts into my friendships, they’re meant to be a lifetime type of thing. I don’t need to be with them 24/7. My best friends back in LA will tell you that I always pop in and out every now and then, but when I’m back, we just pick up as we didn’t just spend 7 months apart.
Traveling has been a different type of experience for me because you spend almost 24/7 with your travel partner. It definitely tested me and my boundaries. While on this trip I will have a total of 5 different traveling partners:
- Tonga – All of Europe & Thailand
- Hina – Thailand, Vietnam pt 1, Indonesia
- Jonathan – Thailand, Vietnam pt 1, Indonesia
- Tanushri – Indonesia, Vietnam pt 2
- Dina- Vietnam pt 3
Each person has a different personality that has played a significant role in my life one way or another. I’m thankful that when I came up with this idea of traveling, that Tonga stepped up and said that she wanted to come. I could not have done this trip without her.
Before the trip began, we both had sat down numerous times to outline our goals for the trip and how we envisioned the timeline to be. This planning took us a good solid year to think of. (Remember??? We’re type A) I have this extensive google doc that has everything from an official itinerary, to currency rates, to housing, to things to do in each city, to my absolute favorite part of the google doc…. the puzzle. The puzzle is the tab where we essentially played a game to mix and match the best dates and flight outcomes to get the lowest fares. As much as we wanted to be true backpackers on the go, we just didn’t have the time to wander around aimlessly until we felt like it. Also, while we were on the road, we met a lot of backpackers who had been doing on the fly booking and every single one of them had expressed how hard it was and how time consuming it was for them to waste trying to get their next location together.
So Tonga and I had brought up the 24/7 thing. We wanted to give each other the space to enjoy solidarity, but wanted to make sure that we had tabs on each other. This worked out super well for us. Sure there were times where Yessie and Tessie (aka our hangry alter egos) came out, but it was always overlooked and brushed away because we had seen and done some amazing things. We weren’t together 24/7, but we were taking turns taking the lead every day. This meant that the research of finding something to do, how to get there and back was split between the two of us at all times. This lessened a lot of the load during the trip. So after a month of traveling together, our time was up.
Tonga headed back to D.C. and I continued to Vietnam and Bali. It was actually pretty hard to say goodbye. Jonathan and Hina napped, while Tonga and I went off to grab food. It was a bittersweet moment for me, but I knew that there was things to be done back in D.C. When it came time to walk her out, it didn’t feel like a goodbye. I was definitely sad that she wasn’t going to finish out this trip with me, but we have had some pretty great memories to last us for awhile. She had taught me how to be a littler tougher and how to be deadly calm when everything goes to shit. So when we went our separate ways in Bangkok, it was more of a celebration of the crazy month we had and a nod to the future where we’ll meet up in another country and party like we’re 21 plus some.
The rest of this trip has been a cakewalk and it definitely has to do with all the people I have gotten to travel with and share these experiences with. So thank you to all my travel buddies for a crazy and unforgettable time.