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Beware the Maoists...

Nepal, twenty bucks and a dream

Having read over my compatriot’s maudlin (albeit, lovely) debut in our very own travelblog, I find it necessary that someone come and lend some basic background information for our loyal readers out there…

(Hi Mom.)

And so…on with the exposition…

Once upon a time, in a far away kingdom known as Clinton, NY, two young girls stumbled upon each other in the hazy period of time commonly referred to as “college.” They bonded over a mutual distrust of Republicans, an obsession with Utica Club and a general feeling of superiority over most everyone that crossed their path.

5 years later, both were gradually losing their sanity in their overworked, underpaid posts as they tried to change the world. One day a phone call was made and a trip proposed: “one year off, around the world, wherever we want to go.”

We had clearly taken leave of our senses. Jobs were quit, belongings were packed and in T-3 days, we will be on our way to Japan to begin “Pay the Bribe: the Year We Became Canadian.”

Why pay the bribe, you ask? When we began researching this trip, I expressed an interest in seeing Nepal. When this information reached certain individuals who wish to remain nameless an email was quickly sent off with a State Department warning about rebel forces in Nepal. As we began researching the issue, we came across one instance of tourist running into a dangerous situation.

It was described as follows: “To date, the Maoist contend that their issue is solely with their government and not with tourists or any alien parties entering the country. They continue to fight for a complete revamp of the multiparty democratic system, as well as abolition of the caste system and the equitable distribution of resources in Nepal.

“The only known incident in which tourists were harmed occurred when a small group of Polish backpackers encountered the Maoist rebels while hiking through the mountains. When the backpackers tried to cross their camp, the Maoist demanded what amounted to a $20 bribe. The Poles refused to pay and were detained; two days later, they were released without paying the money.”

And so, we venture off to the great unknown. Everything is uncertain. Which countries will we visit? Where will we stay at night? What will find to eat? Will our money keep? How many languages will we learn to say “where is the bathroom for the love of god?”

But one thing is for certain. One single thing we agree on through and through: we meet Maoist rebels in the mountains…

We’re paying the bribe.

(The staging area, featured below...)
lauren_0011.jpg

Posted by lbassi 17:18 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Preparing for Lift Off

chaotic preparation and nostalgic goodbyes

After two years in a place I never imagined myself living, North Carolina somehow seeped in to my life and my leaving it felt rather abrupt. Raleigh doesn't readily charm the new comer; it's not a city one visits and falls in love in a week or a month. It is, rather, a city that grows on you slowly over time and eventually it feels very much like home. And so when it came time to leave a job I love, say goodbye to friends I adore, pack my things from an apartment I could live in forever, and jet to the post office at 4:45 to beg and plead that they accept the poorly packaged, unlabeled boxes of my life so that I could jump in the car and haul myself up to Vermont before hastily leaving the country -- it didn't feel real. Nevertheless me, my poor weighed down civic, and a very patient friend set out for New England through Hurricane Ernesto on 8/30.

Over the course of the past two weeks I've been scooting around visiting friends and family to say good-bye while frantically trying to tie together the seemingly endless loose ends of our fast approaching journey. As I've moved about, it has occurred to me more than once that I feel quite lost in it all - I am, for the first time in my life, without a place to call home. Rather than embracing this fact and looking forward to all of the incredible adventures that lie ahead, I have instead conjured up ridiculous nightmares and general unease about moving on and starting over, about letting go of routine, and unhealthily dwelled on thoughts of all these wonderful places I’ve lived that no longer belong to me.

So, on my drive back to VT from Boston, I did what any logical girl would do when she's overwhelmed with pre-departure stress: I stopped at a much missed dunkin donuts for a cup of iced coffee (a drink I swear actually feels like New England) and headed to Walden Pond to enjoy 40 minutes of pure unadulterated basking in the past and soak of some of its incredible calm. Walden Pond.jpg
I think it was Kundera who wrote: "In the sunset of dissolution, everything becomes illuminated by the aura of nostalgia." Though I'd like to think that what we're about to embark on is an incredible new beginning, I know too that with every beginning, there is something that must come to an end.

The next time I write I'll be in a different place entirely …

Posted by Ivory 21:02 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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