For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a hopeless romantic at heart. I just thrived off the stories where everything came together in one sweeping act of serendipity. Even the lows eventually turned to highs, the lessons however challenging were learned, and, as fate (and much-too-predictable yet lovable rom-com’s) would have it, the girl may even get the guy, and vice versa. Like we didn’t see that one coming…
Everything works out in the end — or doesn’t — perhaps as you least expected, but just as it was meant to be. Sounds a bit like this thing we call life, huh? There may not be any riding off into the sunset (at least not right now anyways), but eventually, all the loose ends get tied. The i’s are dotted, the t’s are crossed, and the hero moves onto the next chapter of her journey, poised and ready for whatever comes her way. And while in the movies, she may be one step closer to getting the guy, as a traveler, she’s one step closer to getting the world. And that’s the greatest love there is.
In my past few days in Laos, I’ve felt this love like never before. While the rest of the group went off to an overnight elephant safari, I took it as a chance to delve right into the incredible province of Luang Prabang and do what I do best: exploring and getting beautifully lost. Within hours of my first solo adventure day, I had already begun to feel those serendipitous movie moments piecing together. It was like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love, one gentle moment of fate and clarity after the next.
In my two days I happened upon village after village both by long boat and by means of a rusty old bicycle, stopping to take in golden temples and breathtaking mountain and rainforest views, all while getting a chance to observe the beautiful Lao natives, monks, and artisans in their simple and daily ways of life.
There’s just something about being on your own and taking in all the majesty surrounding you without a care in the world — all by the single guidance of your soul and your senses. Turning left when you want to turn left, stopping to chat with fellow tourists when you feel like it and briefly taking a step into their stories, and maybe even popping in some oldies in one ear and listening to the world around you in the other. It’s an unparalleled sense of freedom and the most incredible awakening a person can have, all simply by stepping out of one world into another — eventually recognizing it all as the movie of your life. Better make it worth watching, right?
As Laos comes to an amazing and bittersweet close, it’s off to my final and solo chapters of the trip in Vietnam and Cambodia. Can’t wait to see what they bring. Love at first sight, perhaps? (Told you I was a hopeless romantic…)
Ready?… And… ACTION!