• Maya Leeds

Status Check: One Month In

Now that we’ve been on the road for nearly a month, I thought it would be fun to do a little check in to see how both Will and I are holding up on the road. These are questions we’ve gotten from our friends and family, and also some we just threw in for fun. Got more questions? Let us know and we’ll include them next time!

What has been your favorite thing so far?

  • Maya: I think getting to Hanoi and just having time to fall into a routine. Less about seeing every sight or fitting as many things into our day as we can. It’s nice to just have time to relax and get to know a city

  • Will: Sumo, specifically seeing the top rikishi in the world, Hakuho, in all his glory. He completely dominated his opponent to improve his record for the tournament to 9-0, then closed the day out with a beautiful and thrilling closing ceremony. The pageantry combined with the brute force and technique of the rikishi was absolutely awesome. What can I say, I’m a sports fan.

Worst moment?

  • Maya: Definitely getting to our hotel in Hong Kong.

  • Will: Arriving in LA and realizing that we’d forgotten the vouchers ($425 each) for our Japan Rail Passes back in New York. Huge thanks to Rachel, Steve, and DHL for bailing us out and getting them to us in Tokyo.

Anything you’ve learned / discovered about each other already?

  • Maya: That Will does not like sharing one menu between the two of us. Most places only give us one so we end up having to take turns.

  • Will: Maya’s really good at thinking about the things I don’t think of. I like to think that this means we give each other balance and have each other’s backs. Oh, and never believe her when she says she’s done trying different desserts. They’re addictive out here.

Favorite thing you’ve eaten so far?

  • Maya: This is hard, we’ve had so much good food!! Probably sushi at Sushi Daiwa in Japan - that whole experience was just amazing.

  • Will: Sushi Daiwa. You know when you’re eating something that’s truly elite in its quality (though they could easily get people to pay double the price). Sushi Daiwa is that.

How have you managed so much time together!?

  • Maya: I think it’s been easier than I expected actually. I think having a decent amount of down time each day to do our own reading / writing helps. Also finding ‘me’ time in Hong Kong to go work out and to shop was nice.

  • Will: We’ve definitely spent a lot of time together, but haven’t really had any major issues (YET). We’ve both been doing our own reading and writing, which helps us get needed separation (even if we’re physically together). Finding ways to sneak in a quick workout and even a little well-placed Instagram and Twitter time have all helped us keep our space and our sanity when we need it. A two-hour college basketball game here and there also helps me.

Anything you DIDN’T pack that you wish you did?

  • Maya: Oh yeah, definitely. A second pair of leggings (although this was mainly for Japan while it was cold out) and a second everyday bra (I did end up buying one in Hong Kong). Also, been thinking about the Oboz shoes I opted away from.

  • Will: Yes, more cotton boxers. Along with four pairs of Hanes, I brought four pairs of ExOfficio’s sport mesh boxer briefs because every single travel blog claimed that they were the best, most comfortable, easiest to wash, blah blah blah. All these blogs said that cotton is the worst material that you can bring to Southeast Asia. Well, three weeks in, I can’t stand the ExOfficios. They ride, pinch, bunch up, and just generally aren’t comfortable. About a year ago I tried MeUndies as well and had the exact same results, so I’m not sure why I let myself get tricked into believing that these would be better. Online, you’ll see nothing but hype for the ExOfficios, but do not be fooled. My good old trusty Hanes boxer briefs have fared much better and been way more comfortable. Plus, doing laundry has been really easy with just a little planning, so there really isn’t a single advantage to the special brand.

Anything you DID pack that you wish you didn’t?

  • Maya: Not really anything major yet, I feel like I did pretty well.

  • Will: A pair of jeans. The pants that I hike in look like chinos/khakis, so I haven’t even needed them for dinners. They’re just added weight for me at this point and the temperature is only going to rise from here, so my odds of wanting to wear them will only fall. Have to think I’ll abandon them sooner or later.

What are you reading / Watching?

  • Maya: I haven’t watched a thing since we’ve been traveling! Pretty wild to think about given how much our shows were a part of our life. I finished the book The Great Believers (a recommendation from my cousin Lisa via my cousin Mimi). It was an incredible book, though upsetting. Now I’m reading The Hate U Give, also loving it and trying to read a little of Thinking Fast and Slow at the same time since I never actually finished it.

  • Will: The only thing I’ve watched has been college basketball. I know we’re seeing the world and all, but it’s March Madness and I ride or die with the Michigan Wolverines. I’m crushing books, too - Maya likes to say that I’m a very competitive reader. Since we’ve departed for Asia I’ve read: The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, The Border by Don Winslow, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I just started Dr. Sleep by Stephen King, which is the sequel to The Shining.

Funniest moment?

  • Maya: The first place we stayed in Hanoi was a small in / homestay. At one point we were going out and the little girl (must have been about 3 years old), was sitting in this hallway on a little potty. It was a very narrow hallway, so to get out we had to basically step over her and she was completely oblivious to us.

  • Will: Maya stole the right answer, so in the spirit of being different, I’ll say that the funniest moment happened at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. The museum is kind enough to offer free, volunteer guides that speak a wide range of languages, so we gladly accepted an English-speaking guide. She was extremely kind and knowledgeable. As we began the tour, she asked us to guess about the history of Edo-Tokyo. I told her what I thought I knew, which was that the city had been called Edo originally, then changed and grew into Tokyo over a few hundred years. Not the best or most specific answer, but she seemed happy enough with my level of knowledge. As we proceeded through the museum, the guide would stop periodically at different displays and ask us to guess different things about what we were seeing. Even when both Maya and I shrugged our shoulders and said that we didn’t know, the guide simply refused to move on from a display or tell us what we were seeing until we guessed. She just kept saying “please guess.” It may not sound all that funny to read, but being in the presence of someone so committed to forcing you to play guessing games eventually reaches a level of awkwardness and hilarity that we haven’t really experienced since, with the lone exception being Maya’s story in the Hanoi homestay.

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