I just bought a ticket to visit my little brother in Chiang Mai, Thailand in April, so I'm borrowing this photo he took to express my excitement. I'll be visiting my friend Megan in China for a few days, as well. I've been wanting to visit Asia since I lived with Megan in the spring of my junior year of college. She studied abroad at UNF for a year and it was fun to get to show her my world and introduce her to different aspects of American culture and hear about Chinese culture. So I'm super excited to get to see some her world and learn even more about life in China. She's now a schoolteacher in Chengdu, so I'll go there for the weekend after I leave Chiang Mai. My only regret is that I can't go for longer. I always figured this would be a trip I would take between jobs, but since William is over there it makes sense to go now, and I only can take so much time off work.
But before I visit Megan, I'll spend some time with William in Chiang Mai, where he's studying abroad this semester. I'll be there during the Thai new year, which apparently entails lots of parades and throwing buckets of water on everyone in the streets, so it should be fun.
There is a lot to be excited about, but one thing I'm looking forward to is this is a much different version of travel than I've done before. I've usually traveled with some particular tourist destinations in mind in certain cities (Paris, Rome, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, even London) and/or as part of a bigger group with a set schedule and agenda (Ghana, Paris, Oxford, NYC, Mexico, Costa Rica). I'm looking forward to really just getting to explore without feeling the pressure of having to see certain things. Unlike that time I went to Peru with some family and didn't go to Machu Picchu (Which I do kind of regret, but I was 15, so it wasn't really my call), I feel like Chiang Mai isn't really the type of place where people say, "Oh, you went there? Did you go see _____?" Not that sightseeing is bad (I'm sure I'll do a good bit of it), but I feel like it frees me from my own expectations, as well. I'm legitimately excited just to explore, to wander the city when Will's in class, to eat good Thai food. I won't be disappointed if we don't get to make it to that one particular tourist spot.
So anyways, I'm just glad to have another adventure to look forward to. For now, I'm enjoying my everyday adventures in Florida (I'm actually going to Miami with some friends this weekend), but I am excited about visiting another country for the first time in several years. Plus, this will leave Australia as the last continent I haven't been to (besides Antarctica, but really, who cares about going to Antarctica?)