Written on: 14 June 2010, 20:00. Somewhere in between Xining and Chengdu.
14 June. 16 days before it’s time to return home. I’m now 11 hours into my 25-hour train ride towards Chengdu, where in the following day, I will take another 20-hour train ride to Kunming to begin the last leg of my journey travelling through some parts of Yunnan. How fast time has passed.
We were planning our itinerary and I came to realise that there’s not time to do both Yunnan and Chengdu as planned. Since it doesn’t quite make sense to leave from Chengdu yet not explore the city and its surrounding sights, I’m considering extending my trip for up to a week. I’m not sure whether I’ll eventually do it since, firstly, I may not be able to extend my visa since I’m holding a “group visa” and not a regular individual tourist visa (result of travelling from Nepal to Tibet). Next, when I called the parents to inform them of my possible plans, they were more keen to have me back, especially since I would be doing the extra days alone.
To be honest, I feel as if I could travel forever. And these potential plans for extension is perhaps just my form of escape from real life and the harsh truth that comes next month, where I may well already be married to my new husband, named Work.
A paragraph in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Eat, Pray, Love”, which I’m halfway through right now, sums it up perfectly:
But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one’s life, is it so awful to travel through time with no greater ambition than to find the next lovely meal? Or to learn how to speak a language for no higher purpose than that it pleases your ear to hear it? Or to nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favourite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?
Or in my own context, to be sitting here in the middle compartment of my hard-sleeper berth, in my third long-distance train ride in two weeks, writing this entry while my friends HX and Seng are playing a game of “Tap of War” on Seng’s iPhone just below me? To watch the world go by from the bus window? To look forward to a fabulous meal of noodles, kebabs, and milk tea? And another awesome meal of hotpot and beer?
Travelling is like a drug that one can’t wean off. And like a drug addict, I’m craving for more, looking forward to the next dose of “days of travel”, and every new destination, a new drug, waiting to be consumed, to give me, the “user” a new high.
But my supply is running short. If I decide not to extend, or am unable to, 16 doses is all I have left. Then “cold turkey” it would be, till the next round of supply comes in, and who knows when that would ever be.
Update (17 June): I did not manage to extend my group visa, so looks like the “supply” will indeed run out come 30 June.