China-HongKong7-feat

Like It’s 1999

8,008 km so far.

And so the year ends. It’s been a wild one for us, entirely spent planning and/or enjoying this crazy trip we’re on. As with everything one undertakes, some of it has been great, some awful, and most of it has been somewhere in between.

Looking back on 2013 as a sum of its parts, I don’t mind saying it has been pretty freaking great!

An Extraordinary Year

This year we have challenged ourselves almost daily, leaping out of our respective comfort zones and taking on more – physically, intellectually, and emotionally – than I ever thought was possible.

We have learned so much about the world, about ourselves, and about each other. No matter how well you think you know someone, you really don’t know them until you take a trip together. And even if you’ve taken lots of trips together, as we have, a bicycle tour is sure to turn up new, previously undisclosed layers you never knew were there.

We have been the recipients of so much kindness from friends, friends of friends, and complete strangers, it is astonishing. I have always felt that people, on the whole, are good (except for a few years during and after college, when I thought that people, on the whole, are idiots). If most people were baddies, we’d never have made it 100 km, let alone more than 8,000 km.

Thank you all for being such a supportive, funny, and inspiring gang!

Last double selfie of the year, New Year's Eve 2013.

Last double selfie of the year, New Year’s Eve 2013.

After a year of planning and travelling, we decided to spend today just lying around. We could call it laziness, or we could call it an all-day savasana to round out this year’s off-mat yoga practice. Today we rested to let our bodies and minds revel in all we’ve experienced over the last year.

We also had to do nothing today, so that we’d have the energy to party tonight.

Dancing Our Life Away

Our awesome friend Teresa had invited us to come along to a rave that her friends were organising. All we knew was that there would be music, dancing, drinking, and other rave-like activities, and that it was going to be held in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Hong Kong.

How could we, who wasted our young years at raves and clubs, say no to an offer like that?

Tonight, after a tasty dinner at Life Cafe, we hopped on the metro and headed off the island. At our stop, there were a bunch of other ravers and a shuttle bus waiting to take us up to the party. The bus drove us a little way from the city, to the bottom of a staircase leading up into a pitch black park. From there, we climbed the steps with about 20 other people, many of whom had brought flashlights to light our way.

And then we followed the lights and the music to the party.

As you will notice, these sub-par pictures are all taken with the iPhone, since my camera remained safely at home tonight.

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The party was outside, half-sheltered by an abandoned structure. There were just enough lights so we didn’t trip over too many rocks and roots, but not so many that we could really see each others’ faces.

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We got to know people through the sounds of their voices and what they were saying, and not by how stylish they were or what shoes they were wearing, as was often the case in LA. There were no frills: no canapés, no cater waiters, no bar, and no chairs. We ate and drank what we brought, and we sat on the ground.

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It was basic, it was dirty, and it was fantastic.

This was a gang of good people who had said no to the commercial trappings on offer in the city below. They’d said no to overpriced New Year’s parties, overdressed revellers, and overcrowded streets. They had all chosen to leave the city to say hello to 2014 surrounded by a few friends, in the dark, in a park.

The DJs were set up inside an old archway that reminded Stephen and I of the archway parties we’d gone to in London. The music was almost indistinguishable from music we danced to in our 20s (techno will never change).

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We drank vodka straight from the bottle, mixed with a little coke, just like we did when we were too poor to afford drinks from the bar.

Tonight we really did party like it was 1999.

We surprised ourselves with how easy it was to stay up half the night talking, meeting people, and dancing. And then Hong Kong surprised us with how easy it was to get home. The metro ran all night, so when it was time, we just walked down to the station, took a seat, and let the city carry us home to bed.

I have no idea what we did on New Year’s Eve last year, or the year before that, but this is one I’ll remember for a long time to come.  

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