Kim and I recently abandoned our plans of staying in Nepal for the full 90 days our visa would allow and impulse bought tickets to Bali. We had spent 5 or 6 days letting our legs recuperate in Pokhara, but while our muscles were resting, our feet got itchy. So, one morning we woke up and over breakfast decided to head somewhere unexpected.
It took a few minutes to find and dust off my travel agent hat. After being in Goa for 3 months and staying on the well-worn Kathmandu-Chitwan-Pokhara track through Nepal, I felt a little rusty making travel arrangements. The last time I had done any serious airline ticket shopping was back in Ecuador – the first country we visited.
As I started pulling up various flight comparison sites, I braced myself for the worst. In my limited experience with buying last-minute tickets, which is entirely in the U.S., I have learned one thing: rarely does last-minute travel = cheap plane tickets. Yes, there are airlines that offer last-minute deals, but how often do they line up with where you are, where you want to go, and when you want to go. I mean, it’s great if you can fly from Portland to Bismarck for $80 round trip – but why would you want to? (And if you had to google to figure out what state Bismarck is in, well, point proven.)
But then something magical happened (or at least magical to me). Asia, god bless her, lived up to her reputation as the budget travelers heaven, and gave us cheap plane tickets. I knew that AirAsia was a good, budget airline if you were flexible (and they wear jeans on the weekends!), but I didn’t know how many other budget friendly airlines there were. We ended up focusing on AirAsia and Jetstar, as they were the two airlines that were flying routes to places we wanted to go, but there were plenty of options to choose from.
So we booked our tickets to Bali, and that’s when I knew Asia had won me over. She had been courting me for a while, and I was playing hard to get, but being able to fly from Kathmandu to Bali for less than what we would have used going through our miles program made me fall in love.
Sadly, we will be leaving Asia soon, but we will be back. Just like the old saying if you love something, let it go and if it returns, it’s meant to be, I am letting Asia go as we venture back into the now-foreign land of the Western world. I admit, I am cheating the whole letting-go-and-let-return thing, as I know when I will be back, but the sentiment is the same.
Some say that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. If this is true, then the last year of developing my iron gut through eating questionable foods had made me a cold man. I think a more appropriate saying would be a way to a travelers heart is through their wallets and for this, Asia will be my, and many other people’s, first love.