2/14/10: Sydney, Australia
To all guys who are on the fence about doing a round-the-world trip with your significant others: one of the nice features of such a trip is that it gets you out of Valentine’s Day. My proof? Last year on Valentine’s Day I bought Zhou a bunch of flowers, took her to a nice expensive restaurant, showered her with gifts such as stuffed animals and wrote her a card. This year? We ate hot dogs off a street vendor for lunch and cooked 59 cent pasta for dinner.
Although maybe if I’m really lucky, this is just how married Valentine’s Days are. Can anyone back me up here?
A couple of days ago Zhou and I were having a very serious conversation over buy-one-get-one-free $7 footlongs from Subway. I’ll pick up the conversation from as close to the beginning as possible.
Z: They probably don’t even know how long a foot is in some countries! I bet each Subway location takes the average length of its employees’ feet and calls that a footlong.
K: That’s discriminatory against large-footed people – what do you think Martin Luther King Jr. would think of that? I bet those countries have $7 meterlongs instead! We need to move abroad now.
Contemplative pause that slowly turns into a “Staring out the window into a stormy night” moment.
Z: So do you think we’ll be better people when we get home?
K: I’d like to think we will.
Z: How so?
K: I’ve actually been thinking about making a list of things I want to do differently after the trip.
Z: What kind of things?
K: Well, I want to play more guitar for one. And I’d like to buy less clothes. Oh, and I want to watch as many LeBron games as possible. I’ve come to appreciate that he’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime play…
Z: You basically want to become a more extreme version of yourself!
It’s weird – I’ve never thought of it that way. But when you boil it all down, it’s very true. When you get away from your day-to-day lives for so long, you learn to appreciate the things you love the most and you want to focus more of your time on those. Zhou has realized what a luxury it is to be clean, and she’s also learned she can do without a lot of TV. Other than figuring out that I can get by on only three shirts, I’ve taken for granted how easy it is to exercise back home and also how convenient it is to buy milk.
Our conversation then turned from the things we’d like to do more of to what we’d like to become involved in. We both agree that we’re going to set aside a certain percentage of our income for charity, and we’re going to donate that to the two or three causes that matter to us the most. Zhou really wants to take part in a local fruit and vegetable co-op, where someone brings locally-grown food to your door every week. I would like to take up some form of yoga (but not the boring kind). And we are both going to work to stay on top of both national and international news.
I probably write about this topic more than you care to read, but I guess the overarching realization is that the longer we’re away from home, the more specifically we seem to filter what we want to do in life and how we think our time at home will be best spent. The obvious question is, will we remember this once we’ve settled in at home?
Picture of the Day: This street artist actually paid the little kid $10 to jump over him. Then he begged the kid’s parents to give him $20 to cover his losses.