I remember one day back in elementary school where I was standing in line next to this tall guy in the grade above me. He was talking to his friends in front of him, and I was most likely doing simple multiplication on my abacus, since that’s what I do. Anyway, I remember he turned around and asked me to look at my fingernails. “Why should I do that?” I wondered. Apparently it was some experiment he was doing, and since it didn’t seem like that big of a deal, I turned my hand over and took a look. As soon as I did so, he bellowed (I’ve always wanted to use the word bellow in a blog post), “That’s how girls do it!” He then explained to me that guys curl their fingers into their palms to look at their nails, whereas girls turn their entire hand over. Now that I’m engaged, I realize that this is so girls can easily slide a ring onto their finger, while guys need to be prepared at all times to throw a punch, even when looking at their fingernails.
The moral of this story is that we all go through experiences in life that drastically change who we are. The experiences come in all shapes and sizes – from unforgettable occurrences like what happened to me in line that day, to situations that may be easily overlooked if you’re not careful, like traveling the world for a year. In order to prevent this next year from going by unnoticed, today we will write about one activity in each continent that will leave a lasting impact on our lives.
Africa: One of the very first adventures that we will embark on is a gorilla trek. (This is much different than a Gorillaz Track, although I’ll hopefully always remember both.) Early two Ugandan mornings we will wake up and follow two guys with guns and knives to hunt endangered African gorillas. We will swiftly forage through the forest in search of the gorillas, and once we find them, we will get as close as possible and shoot… pictures of them with our cameras.
At first glance, looking at gorillas up close doesn’t seem all that life-changing, since it combines sitting and being quiet with going to the zoo. However, apparently it is. (Side note: the previous link takes you to a blog post from www.thirteenmonths.com, which is pretty much our inspiration for a lot of this trip. The only difference is that they were a traveling inter-racial couple, and I’m an inter-racial couple all by myself.) After all, not everyone’s lucky enough to hang out with 400-pound behemoths all day like Inigo Montoya.
Asia: Our next life-changing moment comes in Nepal, on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. This is a 180-mile jaunt through the Himalayan Mountains, spread out over 20 days. The main reason that this will be life-changing is that unless we find a car 10 miles into the trip, we might be dead afterwards. I probably don’t walk 180 miles in a year, let alone three weeks. However, the views are supposed to be amazing, and we hear that the huts we will stay in each night are dirt cheap (we pay with dirt we find on the trail). If you’re interested in doing this trip before we can give you advice, we recommend this site for tips. Otherwise, feel free to come join us (Matt) and you too might be able to see a dog with dreds.
Australia: Soon after Nepal we’ll make our way south to 13,000 feet above New Zealand for our next memorable experience. And I use the term “we” loosely. Zhou may or may not join in on our New Zealand skydive, so if you’ve ever been and have a strong recommendation for her, please let us know. From what I’ve seen of skydiving though, this experience will be memorable because it’s the only time our mouths will ever look like Julia Roberts’.
Honestly though, I think that getting pushed out of that plane will be one of the two times on this trip where I may wet my pants (washing them at the halfway point of the trip being the other). This is the one thing I feel least prepared for, as the closest thing I’ve ever done to skydiving would probably have to be thigh driving (when you’ve ordered chinese food to go and need both your hands to eat, all you can do is jam your thighs against the wheel and hope they take you to your destination). The good thing is, now that I’ve blogged about it, I can’t back out.
South America: Our next arbitrarily chosen experience is touring the salt flats (Salar de Uyuni) in Bolivia. This is where Salvador Dali is said to have gotten his inspiration, so Zhou and I both expect to see melting clocks and monsters with eyelashes.
I think what intrigues me most about this location is the thought of 4,000 square miles of vast expanse (not to mention all the salt you could ever eat). Zhou and I come from jobs where the only times you’d ever use the number 4,000 are when counting laid off bankers or wasted tons of paper per day. So the thought of that much space – just wide open space – boggles the mind. And to top it all off, we might even be able to break the land speed record for a person who’s never seen Top Gun carrying a person who’s not sure why the third hand on a watch is called the “second” hand.
Europe: Here we will see the famous European pyramids, as according to our round-the-world travel tickets, Egypt is a part of Europe. The most memorable part of this experience will be that we will actually get to see the pyramids, rather than cutting and pasting ourselves into a picture of them, like me and my brother have done:
The pyramids are the only wonder of the world where I actually know the location (unless you count my poster of Michael Jordan, the “eighth wonder of the world”). Of the seemingly infinite number of places there are in the world, to be visiting one of the top seven seems pretty special.
[Editor's Note: If you'd like to join us for any or all of our trip, please do! We will be keeping an up-to-date itinerary here, also accessible from the "Itinerary" link on the right. If you have any questions about timing or life in general (answer: a hen weighs about six or seven pounds), feel free to email at nohurrycurry[at]gmail.com.]
Puzzles for Postcards: For the first time, we have an unsolved anagram, so Zhou and I decided it’s best to repost the same puzzle with a more helpful clue. However, as threatened earlier, if the anagram goes unsolved we will angrily burn the postcard and try a new puzzle. Please don’t let this happen, because we don’t want to add the trash can to our list of winners.
Don’t Get Spaghetti Strings and Solve this Carlin Anagram:
“Why did the ninth spy get tan pots? He wanted to test ten tags!”
Zhou WPLB: 19; 364; 403; WINTERER, DErMISES, ABETtING
Kevin WPLB: 15; 364; 382; STRIPPED, BEASTIAL*
(Zhou: I’d just like to say that I actually know bestial is spelled bestial, not beastial, but Kevin distracted me with his come-hither look.)