Ooh, sorry! Didn’t mean to scare you! You probably weren’t expecting to find anyone in here since I disappeared a few weeks ago. Really sorry about that. I even got a few messages from people asking if I would please respond to their emails so they could stop worrying that I might have boarded Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
I’m here! It’s okay, everyone. Recall the search teams. Well, not for the Malaysia Airlines flight… those folks need all the search parties they can get.
Anyway, I’m jumping in here to interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to bring us forward to the here and now. It’s a little confusing, I know, since if you follow this blog, I’m somewhere in Australia on my way to Bali, and yet if you follow Turf to Surf’s Facebook Page or our Instagram Feed, you know just a minute ago I was sitting in a hammock overlooking a remote beach in Thailand… then WHAM! I’m in New York!
Let me explain…
Since I wrote this post about the unglamorous realities of working full-time while traveling, Ryan and I have been working our butts off on new and exciting plans for our TEFL teacher training schools in the U.S., Teaching House, and using our free time to zip around the island of Bali on our motorbikes. It was like working in paradise, and I will be writing about all of our travels in Bali when I pick up this blog where I left off.
And then we bought new backpacks, transporting me back to 2001 when I spent 9 months backpacking through Russia, Estonia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia…
“Why on EARTH did you spend your twenties backpacking around some of the coldest and least glamorous parts of the world?!” Ryan demands to know every time we compare travel resumes. And then he proceeds to list all the warm countries he spent his twenties traveling through: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Indonesia… I would go on, but that would just be bragging. STOP BRAGGING, RYAN.
I didn’t really see what the big deal was, until we got to Bali, Indonesia. Glorious warm, friendly, cheap, beautiful Bali. And that’s when I started thinking maybe I did my twenties wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but it was definitely the post-Soviet-try-not-to-get-thrown-into-a-Russian-jail-for-suspicion-of-being-a-spy version of what Ryan did in his backpacking years.
Based on this and my love affair with Bali, we came up with a travel plan: Ryan was going to show me all the most amazing spots in Southeast Asia that I missed in my younger years so he could carry on bragging about being a Southeast Asia backpacking extraordinaire. He’s a smug bastard, really. One day, I’ll have to take him back to my old stomping ground, Russia, and then we’ll see who’s really a backpacking extraordinaire. (Ryan is shaking his head furiously. I probably shouldn’t have told him about the time I stayed in a hotel in Siberia with a shared bathroom that was less like a bathroom and more like a large room with 6 toilets in it. No stalls. Just toilets. Ryan is still shaking his head.)
So we put our backpacks on and headed for Thailand and, well, WOW. Let’s just say there are absolutely NO similarities between Thailand and Russia. NONE AT ALL. Apart from the fact that there are about a bajillion Russians in Thailand. So many, in fact, that restaurant menus are all translated into two languages: English and Russian. And, hell, I don’t blame them for fleeing to warmer places. Just don’t tell Putin how great it is – it’s better for everyone if he just stays where he is and doesn’t try to annex anymore seaside locations.
But as we hopped from one beautiful, remote island to another, setting up our mobile offices on one white sand beach after another, it grew harder and harder to implement some of our company expansion plans from a hammock. (If you want some insight into what it is we do for work when we travel, read this interview I did for TeachingTraveling.com).
Teaching House is set to open two, possibly three, new locations in the U.S. this summer, and when that happens, it needs people on the ground to recruit staff, rent space, go out to those locations and teach our CELTA certification courses. And our staff was starting to become a little stretched without us.
Which is why we made a snap decision before leaving Thailand that we needed to be in New York for the summer to oversee this expansion ourselves. And that meant cutting our Southeast Asia travels short and booking the next plane out of Bangkok to snowy New York, even though we no longer own shoes that aren’t also flip-flops and all I have for a wardrobe are a lot of bikinis and a few Balinese sarongs.
So the adventure continues in colder climes…
Since we’re not going to be in New York for long, we decided to find somewhere to live that wouldn’t be too expensive and would allow us to maintain our offbeat lifestyle even while in glitzy, polished New York. And since we have friends in the boating community who know other people on boats, we found the perfect solution – ta da! We will be living on a motorboat near the Statue of Liberty, taking care of it for the owner this summer.
And, boy, does it need care! The Big Kahuna, as she’s called, is a 55-foot motorboat that’s been a wee bit neglected over the years. So stay tuned for more adventures in boat electrics, since we have none at the moment. Here’s what she looks like right now:
But once we get her cleaned up, and we figure out how to get the heat working, she’ll be a grand home in Liberty Landing Marina where the Clipper Race will be docked this summer! My crewmates on Henri Lloyd are going to spit their beers through their noses when they reach New York and find me there, living on a motorboat in their marina. You weren’t expecting that, were you, guys?! This is all a coincidence, by the way. I’m not stalking you, I swear.
So stay tuned to Turf to Surf to read about our continuing adventures in boating and to follow our adventures through Bali and Thailand, as I will be writing up all those tropical stories of the last few months in an effort to keep warm in this snowy, freezing weather here in New York.
Also, I’ve received the nicest messages from readers all over the U.S., offering Ryan and I a place to stay on their boats if we end up in their neck of the woods this summer to open up our new centers. This just warms my heart to no end, so thank you. All of you. This blog exists because of you all reading and supporting us even when our plans sound a little hair-brained. I’ll give you a clue – ALL of our plans are hair-brained. But I love that you always write in and talk to us like we make perfect sense. It feels kind of like being a kid telling my parents I want to be a concert pianist one day and an astronaut the next day, while they nod their heads and say, “Why not, dear? You can do whatever you want!”
I told you all one day we were sailing from New York to the Caribbean and the next moment, “Hey, you know? I think I’m going to do the Clipper Round the World Race!” And you all were like, “Sure, Tasha, that sounds like a great idea – not crazy at ALL.” And then it was, “I’m going to drive across Australia! And then I’m going to backpack across Asia…oh wait, no! I’m going to move onto an unheated motorboat in New York in the middle of winter!”
So thanks from the bottom of my heart for just going with it. If I haven’t told you already, you’re the BEST. And I guarantee we have more surprises in store for the future.
Tasha (& Ryan)