Friday, November 3, 2006

....and then there were two.

When I came back from Peru in August 2006, Ian who is a colleague of mine at work, told me that a mutual colleague of ours, Lei, was also interested in travelling "off the beaten path". As I left Ian's office, I made a mental note to contact Lei - just to mention to her that I also enjoyed adventure travel. As often happens, I got distracted with work and forgot all about calling Lei.

.....until, about two weeks ago when Lei's name came up in a conversation with yet another colleague. The conversation with Ian popped into my head and I immediately picked up the phone and called Lei. We struck up a conversation about our respective obsessions with wanderlust and a few minutes later, she was in my office sharing recollections and photos of her recent trip to Morocco where she rode through the desert on a camel and camped overnight in the desert - sounds like my kind of trip! I emailed her the URL to my Peru blog.

In our own way, I think we were checking each other out to see if we could be potential travel mates and we both came to the same conclusion that we could. We seem to share an obsessive desire to see the world but to do so "'off the beaten path"' - travelling the "conventional" ways does not have much appeal to either of us. I most certainly have never been a "lay on the beach"or "spa"or "resort"or "cruise" kind of girl and as I get to know her, Lei does not strike me as one either. Two peas in a pod.

At one point in our conversation, Lei asked me where I was travelling next and I told her that I was doing an eco-tour of Egypt and Jordan in late January, 2007 . It's a 17 day tour that starts in Cairo and ends in Amman. Along the way, I'll get to see the Sphynx, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the temples at Luxor and Karnak, climb Mt. Sinai, cross the Red Sea, traverse the Wadi Rum and see Petra!! For an ancient history buff like me, this is the tour of all tours to go on!

I emailed her the URL to the GAP tour and I'm pretty certain that from the moment she read the tour description, she wanted to go because no sooner had I sent her the URL than I started getting emails and phone calls with a ton of questions about the tour company, the gear/clothing she would need to travel with, travel insurance needed, visa requirements for Egypt and for Jordan, when we would need to book the tour/buy the airline tickets etc. Given that our travel styles seem to be a match, I had made up my mind that if Lei wanted to go with me, that that would be okay so I did my best to answer all her questions and she was relentless with her questions :-)

Lei's growing obsession with Egypt and Jordan was beginning to get to her - thinking about it day and night. She was ready to go! The only issue was her poor husband who apparently does not share his wife's overwhelming desire to see the world.....at least, not to the places and under the type of travel conditions that Lei prefers to go under. She mentioned to him that she wanted to go on this tour and he was understandably concerned given the part of the world she was going to be travelling to. I'm finding out that Lei can be very persistent so I can imagine the conversations the poor guy had to endure! Once she gets an idea in her head, she just can't let it go. Sounds a lot like me :-)

Well, she kept the pressure on her poor husband and he finally caved in. Yesterday, she called me to tell me that he finally said "Yes, you can go". My response was "Yay!!". I do enjoy travelling on my own as it gives me the opportunity to meet new people but it will be nice to have a travel companion! I'm looking forward to the adventure with Lei.

The planning now begins and it's going to be an interesting process. Lei is a certified Project Management Professional (she gets to add the letters "PMP" after her name). She told me that she's already started a Microsoft project plan for this trip! Yikes!! ......and I thought I was a compulsive planner!