I never wrote my final blog about Ushuaia. I never made an “I’m home!” post, or even explained to everyone that tried to text me that my cell phone number is no longer mine. The truth is that I didn’t really want to declare my trip finished, because that’s just sad. Well, the new year is here, and I’m ready to give you an update on the end of the Chile trip and the status of the next one. I am very, very happy to say that after two months of hiding in Eugene doing odd jobs and applying to regular ones, I will be continuing my travels starting 20 days from now in Southeast Asia! Even more exciting is who will be accompanying me for this journey. My partner-in-crime Sophie Howard is in the process of acquiring a set of wheels while finishing up at her Princeton in Asia teaching post in Thailand. But more on that in a bit, because here’s some pictures from the end of the world.
What a trip. A month and a half since returning home, it’s kind of hard to believe that it all happened. It all just happened too quick. And for that reason, I (we) will be going out again starting in February, and I can’t wait! Our preliminary planned route will first take us from from just north of Phuket in Southern Thailand, up the peninsula to Bangkok. From there, we will head through Cambodia to catch the Ho Chi Minh highway in Central Vietnam. We will continue north, through the highlands of Vietnam to Hanoi, and possibly further if time or our own desire permits.
This trip will be pretty much the exact opposite of what I experienced in Patagonia. The harsh winds and frigid temperatures will be traded for sweltering humidity. Crisp drinkable spring and river water will be traded for bottled water. The dozens of remote kilometers between towns in Patagonia will be traded for people, sights, temples, food, and activity everywhere. Finally, the single route choice from Patagonia will be traded for an infinite number of alternate routes and detours. I’m anticipating plenty of new challenges and experiences that will, like last trip, push us both to our limits.
Gear-wise, a lot has changed. I have a new really cool camping hammock (Thanks, Dustin!) that has a built in mosquito net that I will be using instead of a tent if we camp. I’ve also completed my set of Ortlieb bags with the handlebar bag, which I am inordinately excited about because it gives me SO much more immediately accessible and waterproof space. With no need to carry food for days at a time or winter clothes, I’m foregoing the red front panniers. My brown homemade bag from the last trip is coming with me, along with the rear red panniers and a cheap new triangle frame bag that has room for a 2.5L Platypus water bladder. Tank tops, sandals, tons of sunscreen, more lightweight sweat wicking clothes, and cycling shorts are all new additions to the packing list.
I will be again bringing my Surly Long Haul Trucker from home. Sophie will be riding a Japanese-made Araya Federal T with baseline Shimano components. It is made out of the same 4130 chromoly steel that my Surly bike is made of, but without import taxes and American brand pricing. I’m excited to see how it works out. Sophie hasn’t shown much interest in starting a blog, but I’ve offered to let her write whatever she wants here. So, without further ado, this is from Sophie:
Over the past ten months, while Bryan was being knocked over by Patagonian headwinds, I’ve been teaching conversational English to middle school students (aptly named my ‘adorable nightmares’) in the Phang Nga province of southern Thailand. When he expressed interest in wanting a travel partner (and, I’m sure, someone to laugh at his jokes), how could I have refused?! The rest is history, and now, here we are about to embark out on a trip of epic proportions – 3000 kilometers, 3 months, and a bounty of new experiences! I’m looking forward to sweating in places I previously didn’t think possible, hot nights and even hotter days, breathtaking sights, and laughing at those aforementioned jokes. In the wise words of my mother: “Just jump right into the deep end! Either you swim on the surface or ya’ grow gills!”
That’s where I’ll leave this entry. Onwards to Thailand!