What is this strange thing that happens with age? In my teens I could just pop a few things in a backpack and walk out of the house to explore the world. Which I did, at eighteen and again at nineteen, backpacking around China. The latter trip was with two older boys, a schoolmate and his friend, and we spent three months traveling from Hong Kong to Guilin, taking the long overnight train past Guizhou to Yunnan, where we spent nearly a month, on to Sichuan, and after which we parted on different routes. Many years later I met that schoolmate again, and oddly enough, we had both moved on to work in private equity. He mentioned a trip he had taken a few years ago to remote Mongolia, staying in very basic accommodations, and moving the very next morning to a luxury hotel because he was too uncomfortable.
“Cannot already lah,” he said. “I need my material comforts.”