Whenever you decide to do something crazy like quit your job and buy a one-way ticket to the other side of the world, you always question yourself. Especially if your plans center around learning how to use a sword and eating lots of mutton in a tent. But I think if you ask most long-term travelers if they regret their decision to disrupt their “normal” lives and explore this incredible world of ours, they would respond (very enthusiastically) that it was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. It was certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The question I’ve been asked the most since I’ve been home is: “What’s next?” The answer is that I’m not sure. I’m not sure where I’m going or what I’m going to do once I get there, but the invaluable lesson that a traveler learns is that everything will be all right.It doesn’t matter what you decide to do, or where you decide to go, because things have a way of working out. You can stumble off of the train in the middle of the night and find yourself in the most charming Siberian town the next day. You can lose your wallet in China and survive for almost a month with very little cash. You can travel to a remote land by yourself and meet the most amazing people who will become your trusted companions. Things always have a way of working out.
Thank you for reading…-Amanda
Going back to your Peace Corps site is kinda like going home after your first semester in college. You realize that you will always be a guest from that point forward. Your life as you knew it no longer exists. Strange things have happened to your room (my old house in Thailand is now a motorcylce repair shop) and you are acutely aware of the most minor changes that have occurred since you left. In your mind that place is frozen in time, but in reality time has marched on without you. One of the biggest shocks for me was how big some of my students had gotten. They were grade school children when I left and now they are young adults in high school. It made me stop and think about time and how precious every day, week, and month is. Read the rest of this entry »
My first trip to Thailand was six years ago. I was living in Japan at the time and it was just a quick vacation. I immediately loved it, though. I loved the chaos, the tolerance, the relaxed lifestyle. I knew I would return one day. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m in Thailand. Hallelujah. It was definitely time to move on and Thailand is exactly what I needed. I’ve been thinking alot about Tibet as I spend my days relaxing in Bangkok, though.
My final excursion in Tibet was a two day trip to Nam-Tso, a holy lake about 3 hours Northwest of Lhasa. I saved this trip for last because the elevation at the lake is about 1,000 meters higher than Lhasa, and I was already suffereing from minor headaches because of the altitude.
As seems to be the norm in Tibet, Nam-Tso was breathtaking. Clear blue waters surrounded by the Himalayas and monasteries. We spent the night in a tent and it was cold, cold, cold, but definitely worth it to experience the lake without the circus that begins when the tour buses arrive at 11am and ends when they leave at about 4pm. We met cool new people, took in breathtaking views, experienced unique cultural exhanges, and enjoyed some of the most memorable days of our lives. You know, the norm. At least when you’re in Tibet. Read the rest of this entry »
We spent a couple of days this week hunting down local buses that would take us to a few monasteries outside of Lhasa. One was Sera monastery, where we saw some monks in heated philosophical debate, and the other was Gandan monastery, which was simply AMAZING!! It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and we were lucky enough to walk the kora around the monastery with mostly Tibetan people on pilgrimages from all over Tibet. Read the rest of this entry »
It was raining when we arrived in Lhasa at 8:00 pm on Tuesday evening. I didn’t have a ride arranged, but one of my friends did and he invited myself and two other girls from the train to join him so we could all find a hostel together. We had luck at the first place we went, the Yak Hotel, getting beds in the dormitory for about $4 a night. Read the rest of this entry »
There was a definite excitement in the air as we all waited to board the train to Tibet in the Beijing West Railway Station. Not only were we all lucky enough to land a ticket on the new train to Lhasa, but we had hours of breathtaking scenery to look forward to. The train would take about 47 hours, leaving Beijing at 9:30pm on Sunday and arriving in Lhasa at 8:00pm on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been in Beijing for 8 days now and although I wasn’t exactly excited about spending another week of my vacation here it was exactly what I needed. Read the rest of this entry »