Swarovski crystals. French lace. And more feathers than the fanciest of birds. These are just some of the defining features of Jakarta born Alston Stephanus’ fashion designs. In 2005 this creative young man created his own accessories company, redefining what Indonesian fashion was through mixing … Continue reading Alston Stephanus: Indonesian Fashion Icon. Cosplayer. Costume Designer.
So remember when I wrote about my inability to stay still? Well, travel has won out, but not in the way you may think. No, I’m not going Korea. Instead I’m driving to Russia. It’s not until July, but it’s one hell of an adventure and one I’ve wanted to do for years. It’s called The Mongol Rally and it’s a 10,000 mile drive from London to Ulan Ude for charity. Yes, 10,000 miles. That’s a lot of time to spend in a car, but it’s for a great cause and it’ll be something to remember.
My team is called The Nerdventurists and I’ll be travelling along with my fellow Baker Street Babe Sora and tea blender and comic artist extraordinaire, Cara McGee. You can learn more about them at the Nerdventurist website. Basically we’re waving our nerd banner high as well as our lady banner. Not a lot of women take on the Mongol Rally challenge and even less Americans. We’re a unique team, but we’re all about the opportunity it’s going to grant us and hopefully we’ll raise tons of money in the process!
While we are given a starting point, a check in point, and a finish line… we are not given an exact route to get to Ulan Ude. It’s called the un-route, and so we have to decide exactly how to get there. There’s multiple options: we could go towards the arctic circle and swoop down, we could go south into Iran and Turkmenistan, or we could go via Australia… if we really wanted to.
In the end we decided to go something akin to the “central route” by past Ralliers. If we go this route we’ll end up passing through: England, France, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia… at minimum. We may decide to swing by Slovakia or Greece or Serbia. Least to say, it’ll be quite the collection of passport stamps!
I am 27 and I have traveled to 29 countries. I’ve lived abroad in three. I’ve traveled by car, by bus, by rickety airplane, by ferry, and by foot. I’ve been places I loved and yearn for every day and places that I have no interest in going to again. Since I graduated college in 2009, I haven’t lived in a single place for more than a year.
It’s been a very exciting and fulfilling few years. I’ve seen so much and have had some of the most amazing experiences. But I’ve had to deal with a lot, and I’ve had a lot of setbacks. All in all, it’s been truly amazing and I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to see so much in a relatively short period of time, but it has also been exhausting. Picking up your life into suitcases and boxes and shipping them all over the world, finding a flat, getting a job. It wears away at you. But really, I wouldn’t trade it for the world because the pros so outweighed the cons at the end of the day.
Part of why I loved London so much was that I could run off to Europe for a weekend. I was my own travel agent, my own boss, and I was independent and curious. The US isn’t a great jumping off point for travel. It’s expensive to get anywhere by plane and takes about five thousand years if you want to drive.
Having lost my battle with trying to get a job in London, I came back to the United States telling myself it was time to settle down. I’m 27, that’s what I should do, right? I should be a proper adult. I needed to be grounded, to start a career, put down some roots finally. And the whole time I told myself this, a part of my heart ached, really ached, at the loss of being able to jump around the world.