It’s hard to put into words what every new experience has done to my outlook on life. I find myself lost at home, my mind wandering as I sit writing about each adventure past. Nadia and I traveled for nearly a year working and volunteering in each destination in exchange for room and board to keep our dreams flying.
Iceland proved to be as magical a place as any I have ever been.
The elves and trolls are very real, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We scuba dove in drysuits between the tectonic plates, the clear water seamlessly glistening off of the layers of rock and sediment. We hiked up waterfalls in -6 degree weather and risked hypothermia just to see one more glimmer of the northern lights.
We hopped and skipped through Europe, seeing London, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Nice, Monaco, Barcelona, Sicily and a myriad of other towns. Busses, trains, and planes became our hostel beds, wet wipes our showers, the colosseum our backyard.
When a professor who ran a school in Morocco contacted us, we jumped at the chance to teach and tutor English for local students. During our time in Casablanca, we were confronted with a vibrant culture and welcoming people. A surf trip to some of the most remote and beautiful places we had ever seen was the perfect finale to our time in Morocco, not to mention spending the night in the upstairs of a restaurant on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Not until late into the evening did we realize that the restaurant was also the chef’s house and that the low cushioned benches doubled as a bed for himself and sometimes guests.
We had applied for a job in South Africa at a backpacker’s guesthouse and adventure centre. A few weeks later we were on a plane to Cape Town. We spent three months soaking into every experience. We not only dove with Great White sharks, we also surfed along side them. In just a few teeth-grinding seconds the 6-8ft surf went from bliss to terror and then bliss again as we made our way to a different peak.
We eventually made our way to Bali to turn my long-lived surf dream into a reality.
After a blissful month of waves, sketchy overpacked scooter trips, and five dollar a night accommodation on the beach, we applied for positions crewing on a reproduction nineteenth-century Malaysian sailboat.
Despite the fact that we were on our way to other parts of Southeast Asia when the job came through, we immediately doubled back by way of a 20-hour bus ride to the boat’s mooring at the western boarder of Thailand and Malaysia. The next day after a crash-course in sailing, we cast off, heading out into the Andaman sea, down the strait of Malacca, through the Singapore straights and up into the gulf of Thailand.
We spent the last months of our trip trudging through Malaysian Jungles, rock climbing in Krabi, and exploring the temples of Siem Reap, Cambodia. We capped off this whirlwind world wide circumnavigation in a small town in Northern Thailand, training and practicing Muy Thai (Thai Boxing). I am now terrified of getting into a fight with Nadia; she could take me out with a devastating elbow.
I can only hope our future will be filled with more adventure with thin brisk air, sandy beds, and wonderful people and cultures.
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