Unanchor Blog: Heart of a Local Travel
Whew, just returned from 3 days of motorcycling through the Mai Chau area of Vietnam, which was extraordinary. In some ways, the most incredible thing is that we exited the experience (mostly) unscathed. There were a couple of near-misses, but we both ended up with our bodies intact. This may sound like the expected outcome, and I suppose in some ways it is, but having just come through it, I can assure you it’s not the only outcome on the plinko board.
Whelp, we’ve finally got the next couple weeks lined up and booked. It’s been a fast and furious pace figuring out where to go, what to do, how much to spend, what to cut, etc. We have roughly 9 weeks in SE Asia, and while that may sound like a ton of time, it all goes very quickly. So, in a nutshell, here’s the next 10 days or so...
Real talk. The bus is intimidating. How to read the schedule, determine the fair, not look awkward AF in general, you name it. Now add in a foreign language barrier. I did my research. Read the ‘schedule,’ determined the fair and headed out on my own.
Travel is a funny thing. I am sitting here, our last morning in Nouméa, at the Babar Cafe while ‘The Greatest Love of All,’ plays in the background. Yep, that Babar. The cute and curious elephant from French children’s books. The ocean quiet in front of me as it too wakes up for the day. I may be in New Caledonia, a place I learned about roughly 3 months ago but it feels oddly familiar. That is until I am brought back to reality when the server asks me what I want in mumbled French.
When we quit our jobs in 2007 to travel for a couple years, it was fairly simple. Sell the cars, put a few boxes in a friend’s basement, and away we went. Fast forward 15 years to 2022 and that’s just not the case. There’s a career, a dog, a house, a mortgage, insurance, and a perspective benefitting from a decade and a half of additional experience. So while the end result was the same, the path to get there was much different.
Waking up this morning I have a smile on my face. Last night was one of those nights that I revel in when traveling. Maybe it was the wine gods at work. The connection, the conversation, the merging of cultures, even the language barriers.
A quick 1.5hr flight from Tahiti and the crystal clear blue waters of Fakarava came into view. Reefs popping in and out of the water as we passed over the lagoon. We were greeted by the tiniest of airports.
I’m at a cement table, situated about 20 feet from the shore, feet and legs dangling in the 80+ degree water of the Fakarava lagoon. Belly full of poisson cru, beer in hand, swimming suit wet from a recent dip. I literally just took my camera and filmed a nurse shark swimming by the table, without even moving. It’s surreal.
Whelp. That went fast. We’re closing out a month here in Tahiti, and it feels like it went in about a split second. Perception of time is odd. The first couple of weeks felt like the world had slowed down as we were adjusting to the new schedule, the new location, a new home, and a friendly reminder that not everyone speaks English so you better dust off that french you’d forgotten in Paris.