Does this sound like an epic Saturday or what? … Wake up at 10:30, shower and shave, realize you’ve missed the hostel’s free breakfast, walk to McDonalds for breakfast but realize they’ve switched to lunch, stop at a street vendor for a chicken leg and rice wrapped in a banana leaf, wash it down with a lukewarm bottle of water, return to the hostel, do one load of laundry, pack everything you own into your new (and much smaller) backpack, check out, take the subway to the train station, board a train to Laos, lose an argument with the porter when he wants to turn your seat into a bed at 8:30, and fall asleep before 9:00.
I know what you’re thinking: “Too bad he didn’t have a podcast of CBCs ‘The House’ (Canadian politics) to really spice up that train ride.” I can hear some people saying, “Surely he had time to count out exactly 20 Q-tips, arrange them in a tiny Zip-Loc bag and leave the rest behind at the hostel.” Others are might be wondering about fresh insoles. “Tell me he didn’t put those old hiking boots into his backpack without changing the insoles.” Well, Kate, the answer to these totally legitimate questions would be “yes,” “Hell, yes,” and “no.” I did manage to download some CBC podcasts; I did reorganize my shaving kit; and I did put fresh Odour Eaters in my hiking boots. I also consolidated the contents of three old bottles of hand sanitizer; I downloaded a PDF of Berkshire-Hathaway’s 2015 Annual Report; and I picked lint from a hoodie that I’m unlikely to wear for the next six months. (Yep, you really know how to live it up, Mike! – Ed.)
A week after the fact, I still can’t think of a single thing that happened on Saturday #86 that I could possibly spin into a semi-interesting story. And to be perfectly honest, that’s what I strive for these days – semi-interesting. Long behind me are days spent climbing active volcanoes or jumping from planes or playing polo with the still warm but headless carcass of a sheep in Kyrgyzstan. There won’t be any more sunrises at Machu Picchu or sunsets from 900-year-old abandoned caravansaries in Kyrgyzstan or herding of yak in Mongolia. These days I spend more time picking lint off my hoodie than picking 80 million year-old fossils out of Rajasthan riverbeds. I’m sure this will change when I get to Spain and start walking the ancient Camino de Santiago, but for now I’m happy with hum-drum.
Rather than resort to an outright lie to make Saturday #86 sound a little more interesting than it was, I’ve decided to focus on what I really did accomplish on Saturday afternoon: I managed to fit everything I now own into a 40-litre backpack and a 15-litre daypack. I plan to write about that when I get a few spare hours. (Which could bear as early as tonight since I don’t have anything else planned for a Friday night in sleepy Vientiane, Laos.). It won’t be be laugh-out-loud funny but if my next post convinces one person that you can sell everything and live happily with two changes of clothes, then it will be worth the effort.
So check back early next week for “Purge, Pack, and Repeat Weekly: How To Cram Your Life Into a Medium Size Backpack and Travel The World for Two Years.”