In less than 72 hours, I leave for a journey. Wheels up in Chicago, wheels down in Bangkok. Three months, six countries, five hundred meals and a thousand poorly taken photographs.
This trip will be many firsts for me. First time in Asia. First time traveling for more than a few weeks. First time traveling with no itinerary, no schedule, no plan, no tour group or cruise ship captain.
It will be the longest time I’ve spent in non-English speaking countries. The longest time I’ve spent without a job in a decade. The longest I’ve lived out of a backpack. The longest without a home or a bed or a city to call my own. It will be an adventure.
Food is the main focus. Eating, cooking, shopping, tasting, watching, studying. If I can absorb some things, deconstruct, recreate, then I’ll be happy. This is where the years I’ve spent cooking professionally will pay off, I’m hoping. Beyond that, I’ll spend time outdoors: hiking, riding motorcycles, exploring caves, jungles, mountains. Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam. 24 hours in Hong Kong to cap it off (if I come home in time).
This is also a time for intense self reflection. Time to figure out what I want, what makes me happy, what I value, and what I can do without. If I can nail down these four simple things, I can make some decisions for the future.