Olivier and Sven goofing around in Asia

Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die today

The Road to Asia : Couchsurfing friends with a dream

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
  - Marc Twain

 We met each other on July 28th 2007, about one year ago. We were both active members of the Couchsurfing Project, hosting travelers from all over the world and surfing some couches when traveling ourselves. It was a beautiful summer evening and there was a small meeting at Guy and Inez's place in Brasschaat (they are mutual couchsurfing friends). We had planned to attend the premiere of the new Die Hard movie but we all started talking and it became so nice that we decided to stay and chill.

Right from the start, we got along very well and it was clear that we shared a lot of passions : travelling, nature, camping, outdoor activities, organizing events in our city, road trips, showing people around in Belgium, good beers, ... just to name a few! We shared the same wicked sense of humour and we are both very flexible when it comes to traveling.

 We became good friends soon and hooked up at plenty of cs meetings all over Belgium. After a short while we found out that we shared the same ultimate travel dream as well : leave on a big adventurous trip to visit many countries and meet lots of people on the way. Both of us already travelled quite a bit but leaving Belgium for one year or longer definitely gives a different dimension to our passion for traveling!

We started talking seriously about it on the New Year's Eve Party at Brian and Wendy's place in Bilzen. We both still had some doubts to go for it but that evening was definitely the turning point in the decision process. We were talking about quitting our current jobs in order to have full freedom for our big trip. Back then we were still considering Australia and New Zealand as our travel destinations as well, because we both really wanna go there someday. In the end, we chose Asia since we are both crazy about mountains and desperately want to go trekking in the Himalayas... and if you make such a decision, why not include a culture shock :)

 After making the final decision, we both felt that we did the right thing. You only live once and you should make your dreams come true. Many of our friends were very happy for us as well and that really provided us with a lot of support to go on with our plans.

On a more personal note: making the decision wasn't easy... but the past year we met so many people who got their courage together to get away with these burdens and doubts, who gave up their jobs and decided to travel around the world for a long time. Long conversations with these people - as well as going through some literature about the subject - taught us a lot: of course it's not easy, of course you'll go through difficult times and of course you'll miss family and friends while being away for a long time... but what you gain is more than worth it: broaden your perspective, see other countries, experience other cultures and moreover - have a peek at non-western societies, get to know many people along the way, learn how to be independant and to cope with difficult situations,... To get more out of life, you must be willing to dare to give up some certainties in life which we all take for granted... that's what we truly believe and that's what everyone who has undertaken something similar confirms. And that's exactly what we decided upon after a few long and deepgoing conversations (erm ok, and after a couple of beers): to stop talking about it and just pursue our dream, because you only live once. And what started out as a dream... is finally turning into reality: we're both quitting our jobs and our ticket has been booked - on September 23 we're flying off to Delhi (India). From there we will travel around Asia. Countries we'll include in our trip are: India, Nepal (of which one of our highlights will include a 3-week trekking in the Himalaya), Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Japan, Mongolia, perhaps a small part of Russia... but our schedule is subject to changes along the way, as we don't want to plan things too tight. We'll backpack and travel in an adventurous way, living as close as possible to local inhabitants. Also, we'd like to take out at least a few weeks to do voluntary work somewhere along the way.

A big thank you already to everyone who shared travel experiences, information, blogs,... with us, they'll prove to be very useful. Greatly appreciated !