Song: One Day Left
Several years ago my four siblings and I took a short weekend trip together to Collingwood, ON. After having such a great time we all agreed that we’d really love to do something like it on a grander scale sometime again in the future. Then, of course, life happened. Whether it was school, work, or whatever else we were all preoccupied with, time quickly passed. The idea while not discussed much never died though. It wasn’t until August 12th, 2017 (just one week after returning from my Ride to Remember) that I received an email from my eldest brother, on behalf of him and my sister inviting us all to consider a trip to Mongolia in summer 2018. Despite having just returned from my own adventure exhausted and excited to see my friends and family here the prospects of exploring somewhere totally new with people I cared about a whole lot seemed quite exciting to me. It was when I read that email that it had also been almost a decade to the date that I left on my grand adventure to travel throughout South America and Europe and live in Chile and England. And while I know the idea of taking a trip with their siblings might seem like a nightmare for some people, I couldn’t be more excited. I’m quite fortunate to be very close to my siblings and have a great relationship with them. It’s been that way pretty much my entire life. When my parents got divorced though and when some other complicated family drama took place we became even closer. And then when my mom got sick and eventually passed away I think in a strange way we became even closer.
Growing up the youngest of five siblings had both its drawbacks and benefits. For starters, growing up the youngest has meant I’ve spent the better part of my life being teased/bullied (sometimes jokingly, but certainly when I was younger the conflicts were quite real). It’s also meant that I’ve had a lot of unsolicited (albeit well-intentioned) advice given to me throughout the years. And the truth is on most occasions the unsolicited advice has been both good and in my best interest. The perks though far outweigh any of the drawbacks. As the youngest I’ve had four amazing siblings I could always turn to when I needed support. When I look back on my childhood I can honestly say while there were some pretty challenging times my memories with my siblings are largely very good ones. Whether I needed help with homework, life advice, or most recently help around my house they’ve always been there for me. They’ve challenged me when I needed to be challenged and supported me when I needed support. I feel so incredibly lucky to have very unique and special relationships with all of them.
And so tomorrow it begins! 24 hours from now I’ll be 5 hours into the 13-hour direct flight to Beijing with my sister Kim. Joining her and I the next day will be my brother-in-law Talaal (who like my siblings is someone I love tremendously and have known most of my life), my amazing nephew Adam, and my incredible niece Yasmeen. The five of us will be adventuring throughout the Yunnan province of China until the 6th of August. I’d go into more details about what to expect, but the truth is despite my sister doing a great job of planning most of the trip (anyone that read the Ride to Remember posts will know how lucky I am to have two amazing trips planned by others) I have done a pretty terrible job asking her for many of the details. I have total confidence though that it’s going to be a great time since she knows the kind of things I’m interested in seeing and doing. After the 6th we will split up with my sister and I returning to Bejing and the others making there way to Hong Kong. Back in Bejing my sister and I will meet up with my three brothers and we will all travel together to Ulannbator (the capital of Mongolia) where we’re taking a private tour through central Mongolia under the 18th. While tours aren’t normally my preferred style of travel I have confidence this will be a good one given that the company comes recommended from my friend and co-worker Brian Hamilton.
On that note though I better go do some laundry and put some thought into what I’m packing for the month-long adventure…hopefully I don’t forget anything important!
Love, Peace (and for old time sake Bike Grease)
PS: From what it looks like I won’t have access to Facebook so hopefully I can find a clever way to share this trip live. If not I suppose interested folks will just have to read about it after the fact. If anyone has any suggestions please share them with me here…would also be keen to have suggestions on how I can stay in touch with my girlfriend throughout the trip. Thanks!
P.P.S: I can’t speak a single word of Mandarin or Cantonese…should make for an interesting experience.