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"Fierce winds shook the street signs and whipped the power lines around like a game of double-dutch jump rope...Admittedly, I was excited and thankful to be standing there in the middle of all the chaos."
The day came for us to race back to the airport and carry on to Indonesia. We booked over a month ago, before we had even left Japan. The morning of our scheduled departure, Zach and I woke up to our alarm, looked at each other, and went back to sleep.
Both of us had previously expressed how we would rather stay in Taiwan with our new friends a little longer, and I guess Indonesia just wasn't worth getting out of bed for that day. We were lucky enough to stay in Taiwan for a total of two months. Little did we know our last few days would be bombarded by a typhoon.
When we were warned that the typhoon would be in full-force soon, our friend Tunng and I made plans to stock up on supplies from 7-11 just in case. Walking down the street had never been more difficult. Waves of muddy water rolled along the roads at us. Fierce winds shook the street signs and whipped the power lines around like a game of double-dutch jump rope. I wanted to be fearful and upset for the people that lived in that area, but I was too awestruck in that moment. Admittedly, I was excited and thankful to be standing there in the middle of all the chaos.
We were able to purchase some food and run back home. There, we snacked on Ramen and a flavor of chips I never definitively identified as we waited out the storm. The first loud crashing noises from outside were alarming and unsettling, but after a while we were sleeping through it like babies.
The following night we had planned to meet everyone at the nightclub below the gym to say goodbye. It seemed hopeless, since no taxi service would dare come to pick us up in the storm.
We were about to give up and call it a night when Zach said to Tunng, “We couldn't drive the scooters there, could we?”
Tunng opted that we try another taxi service. Still no luck. Then he hung up his phone and started to put his rain gear on.
“Wait...are we scootering there? In the middle of a typhoon?” I asked.
Tunng shrugged, “Why not?”
“Well, aren’t you worried?” I persisted.
Tunng placed his helmet above his head, and before fastening it on tight said to us with the utmost confidence: “Of course not. Im Taiwanese.”
Tunng- The Legend
At that moment we would have followed Tunng into the fiery depths of hell. A typhoon was now child's play.
I later read that the very same typhoon severely damaged much of the area, even taking out a 7-11. Yet there we were, riding along heavy winds and hard rains, dodging large branches that barricaded the roads. Somehow we made it safely and relatively dry just in time to drink the storm away. That night is still a blur of neon lights, strange karaoke, a contortionist, several dance-offs, and the worst lap dance I’ve ever witnessed. All in all, the night was a success, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to end our stay there.
While searching for cheap flights, I thought about my conversations with Rome Lytton, a talented, young coach at Kaohsiung BJJ. Rome had entertained us with his travel stories from Thailand and all of its natural beauty. I envied his stories and longed to make my own there. Our fate was sealed.
Thailand would be our next challenge. Maybe if we weren't still so full of ambition and curiosity, we might have stayed. We were happy enough, after all. The call of the unknown world was and still is relentless. We knew this was just the beginning.
There will never be enough life to live. There will always be another adventure.
Checkout Ashleigh & Zach's Trip to Kaohsiung