Latest From My Blog

Re-Entry, Relationships and Unexpected Things - 2014

Sunset over the Gobi Desert, Mongolia
“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, un-lying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence

When I set out for my RTW in August 2013, the loose plan was to spend about a year on the road. It was part exploration, part love of travel, part experiment. I wanted to be smart about it, so I made sure I didn’t come back completely penniless.  I could never have predicted how the last year and a bit would go, but when I left I was filled to the brim with love and support from my family and friends, the greatest gift I could have asked for. I intended to find out if I could ever blog full time and be on the road full time. I wanted to create. I wanted to open everything in my life, remove my boundaries and see what rushed in.

The China I Saw


My desire to see China, like India, has waxed and waned over time. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I still jumped at the chance. I decided to embark on “Leg 4” of my RTW trip and heading back to Asia after a brief stint at home seemed just right. I had read and heard a lot about traveling in China and in the end decided to hop on a tour, mostly because I didn’t want to be trampled to death. (I didn’t realize how real a threat this was until I actually got there.)  In seriousness, I had heard that the lack of English and cultural barriers made it very difficult to get around. I think if I had been on Leg 1 of my trip I would have given it a go, but the truth is I was feeling a bit lazy. My trip home had lulled me into a false sense of security that bred a bit of fear about going to a place like China all by my lonesome. Being home made me long for that connection to people, any people, interested in under taking an adventure like me. I was attached to my connections at home and didn’t want to head back out alone, enter “China on a Shoestring," by G Adventures.

Drowning in a Blessing

There are no pictures of this ceremony, so here's a pretty picture from a walk I took in the rice paddies of Ubud. 

I gasped for air as the water ran over my face, up my nose and into my mouth. “I’m drowning,” I thought, as I forced air from my mouth and out in the world. “I wonder how clean that water is,” I thought as I snapped back into my most current reality. I was being blessed, I remembered vaguely, but let’s back track a bit.

Fenway Studios, Open Studio - Boston

One of the ways that I help stave off the re-entry blues is continuing to let my traveler spirit flow while at home. I try to do things I would do on the road but locally. I stay curious and I explore.  In a place like Massachusetts this is quite easy. We have incredible museums, hiking, green spaces and food. Unique events always pass by my radar and believe it or not I heard about this one on the radio.

Tehran, Iran – Day 1 – Qeytariyeh and Tajrish

North of Tehran buffered by the Alborz Mountains. 
A long day of travel and lots of joy tears later, I found myself, with my parents, in Tehran, Iran.  My head hit the pillow and I was out cold until the morning. Besides being overjoyed at being able to see my parents after so many months away, I was thrilled to be back in Iran for a second time. My first trip, with my family, was during Dec – Jan of 2005-2006 for three weeks. That trip was pre-blog, so I’ve never written about it much besides a few photo essays. I’ll just quickly say that that trip remains in my top three best all time trips so far.

My First Tropical Island - Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

For someone who travels as much as I do, it might seem strange that I had never been to a tropical island. But that was exactly the case until several months ago. I finally visited my first tropical island, Koh Rong Island, off the coast of Cambodia.

Bali Eco Cycle Tour

While in Bali, I had the great pleasure of taking the Bali Eco Cycle Tour. It was recommended by a friend and it was an excellent recommendation. It showed the side of Bali I was looking for, the culture and the countryside. It was a full day tour that was balanced in a way that you never felt bored or rushed.
We were picked up in a van between 7:30 and 8:00 am. (I was picked up at a random supermarket that I was told was close to where I was staying, it wasn't and I got chased by a very scary dog on the way. I uttered a scream I didn't now I had in me, as it chased me up a hill on the outskirts of Ubud.)  By the end of pickups we had a group of 9 people, plus our guide Argus or Augus, I’m not really sure which one it actually was. We learned through the day that Argus was a funny man, a jokester. He was subtle about it and for a second you thought he was telling you a real fact about Balinese culture when in fact it was a joke. It made for a very entertaining day. As with all tours, the guide makes all the difference in the end.

That time I drank "Poo" coffee in Bali.

Roasting the coffee by hand. 
When I was in Vietnam I started hearing about “poo coffee.” It is supposed to be a high end type of coffee that is essentially a non digested coffee bean that an animal eventually expels.  That’s right. The animal eats the beans, passes them, they are collected, cleaned many times, and then roasted by hand. I’m not kidding. It is nicknamed, poo coffee. There are a few different types of animals that are used for this purpose because the conditions in their body do not digest the actual bean. The digestive conditions are supposed to do something to treat the bean in a way that can’t happen anywhere else. Clearly I think this is a gimmick to charge more for coffee, but I decided to suspend my disbelief for a while.

The Introverts Guide to the British Museum

The Great Court. 
I’ve visited London numerous times. Each time, I stay in a different neighborhood, which allows me to explore the city one corner at a time. This method is clearly flawed. It means you miss out on some of the other great things in the city if you focus on just one neighborhood. The only way this works is if you know you are going to be a regular visitor. I've made a lot more trips to London than I would have ever originally imagined. However, one big spot has always escaped me, The British Museum  This is rather odd since I used to have a minor obsession with the Rosetta Stone. Honestly, the first two trips I didn’t even know it was IN the British Museum, so, my bad.

Bhutan in Pictures

Tiger's Nest Monastery

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my trip to the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, I put together this set of photos. I get a lot of questions about Bhutan and someday I will write about it but I think the pictures say most of what I want to. It's a beautiful place stuck between the future and the past, hesitant to commit to either. It constantly finds itself in the in-between. While the King is young, Western educated and seemingly progressive, I think it will be many years before the prices come down and they let tourists wander on their own. Currently the government has a set price, for tourists, per day. You can check on the government tourism website to see the most up to date rates. When I went, the only option was to join a tour, I was not allowed to wander on my own.

The One

Torre del Oro -Tower of Gold, Sevilla, Spain

No, no, not that "the one." I know what you were thinking. I'm talking about the other "the one," the travel experience that irretrievably changed your life. Every traveler has one. I've never written about it on the blog so I figured it was high time. Mine was Spain at 16, which led to Spain at 21. Let's just call Spain my one.

Why I'm glad I waited to go to Southeast Asia

Hanoi, Vietnam
Southeast Asia has always been on my mental travel list but I always thought in the back of my head that I wanted to  wait until I had proper time to devote to it, that and I was a little intimidated by it. I used to think that I would have loved to do it earlier in life, say at 22 or even during the last backpacking trip at 25, but now having spent 3 months, I am glad the timing worked out the way it did. I am here when I am supposed to be here and I am thankful for that.

Ko Tao to Krabi, Thailand - A boat, a bus and a taxi.

Random spit of land off of Ko Phangan, in transit.

Ko Tao, Thailand, is one of those places that you can’t really get to from anywhere. You have to make a few changes no matter which route you take. I think that is one of the main reasons that it is slightly less busy and retains its laid back feel compared to some of the other Thai islands. Don’t get me wrong, Ko Tao is still busy, but less so than other Thai islands. 

Chiang Rai - Getting lost, stranded, a snake and some light and dark.

White Temple

Chiang Rai and I got off to a rough start. I got lost with my pack for an hour after I made a silly mistake with the directions. I am still not sure how I ended up where I did. I had a quick two nights in Chiang Rai and I knew I wanted to go to at least the “White Temple” and if I had time the “Black House (Temple).” I had heard things about both and in my research I found much more on the White Temple. There are plenty of other things to do in Chiang Rai, but these are the standouts and all I really had time for. Trying to catch the slow boat to Laos was really cramping my slow travel plans.

Southeast Asia Superlative Inventory

"Going Native" as they say in the anthropology world. Cambodia

Just because it's fun, I have compiled a list of superlatives for Southeast Asia. This is of course based on my opinion and observations and is not based on any scientific fact or study whatsoever.

Most Creative use of a scooter/moto - Vietnam

Most Attractive Women - Thailand

Most Attractive Men - Cambodia

Nicest/Friendliest people - Cambodia / Bali