Let’s back up a minute. Who remembers when I ran a contest with Cathay back during the holidays where the winner would get to travel with me as their guide? Anyone? Bueller? That trip actually happened last month. To everyone who said I wouldn’t go through with it and travel with a complete stranger overseas… you.were.wrong. Oh it happened alright. Am I crazy? Bitch I might be.
Hannah and I first met while boarding a 777 together. We landed in Hong Kong 14 hours later, checked into five hotels together, ate every meal together, became each other’s photog, and eventually became best travel buddies. Think about this for a second. Think about how horribly wrong this could have gone – to take a complete stranger to the other side of the world, one who has never ever traveled abroad. This was Hannah’s first trip overseas, but this didn’t scare me off. This made it THAT much better, to be the first person to show her just how beautiful this crazy world can be. Talk about brave, both she and I. But I think the real winner here is my longterm partner, Cathay Pacific.
I’ve wanted to take a reader on a trip with me for quite some time. I receive many messages from you guys wanting to jump in my suitcase or experience my life for a day, and it was about time something like this took place (not the jump in the suitcase part). Cathay Pacific made it happen when we launched our #BucketListWithLesley campaign in December 2015. Contestants entered by uploading an Instagram photo on their own account while answering the following:
What’s on your Asia travel bucket list for 2016? Find Asian influences in your area or from your travels. Share destinations that inspire and motivate you to seek out new cultures, cuisines, and adventures.
Simple enough, right? Hannah probably thought so. After uploading just one photo throughout the week long contest, she caught my attention since she’d never been out of the US, but she obviously possessed the courage and desire to travel overseas – with a complete stranger might I add. She got creative and sought Asian influences where she lived in Maine. Here’s her entry:
If that doesn’t give you all the feels, I don’t know what does.
I remember arriving to Boston Logan International Airport to check into our direct flight to Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific‘s hub. I was actually a bit nervous as I made my way through securing and towards the gate. I’m never nervous when traveling, but take a trip with a complete stranger for two weeks and see how you start the journey! Would she be a weird eater? Would she want to party until the wee hours of the morning? Does she snore? (Yes, we shared a room!) Would she have a weird, annoying fetish? Was she a nervous flyer? YOU NEVER KNOW, Y’ALL.
The nerves soon subsided when I realized how amazing this trip was about to be. Not only was Hannah ready for any adventure thrown at her, but she loved everything I did – quality breakfasts, workouts, photography, exploring no matter the temperature, and forgoing sleep if that meant being able to work from the world’s largest bed while eating yummy room service. A match made in travel heaven, we were. And no, she didn’t possess any weird eating habits or fetishes! Phew!
Our own little food tour through Hong Kong On top of Breeze Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand Cruising on a longtail boat from Krabi, Thailand
When you travel with any companion – whether it be a sister, a brother, a spouse, a friend, a church group – it can be tough to spend so much togetherness with someone else while sticking to an itinerary. Different personality types and opinions can clash, and frankly, traveling with the wrong person can ruin a trip. I definitely lucked out during this Asia Tour with Cathay Pacific. Thanks for joining us, Hannah! Until the next adventure together!
Over to you! Would you travel with a complete stranger if you had the chance? You never know when I could launch the next #BucketListWithLesley campaign!