When people asked why I was going to Germany for five days in late November, I had a few standard replies: I’m going to see where I used to live; I just want to go to a country where I speak the language; cheap tickets. I only told a select few the truth: I was going to find my dead father. Three years ago, during … Read More Traveling to Embrace Loss
I didn’t have a lot of expectations when I drove up the winding road leading to Monsanto. I passed two of the town’s famed giant boulders at a narrow turn and I could see the beginnings of the beige stone walls that I associate with quaint, European towns. My GPS had stopped working an hour ago and the blue triangle that was supposed to … Read More The Most Portuguese Town in Portugal
Many people told me to watch The Beach before moving to Thailand. The scenery was to die for, they said, and the story was a classic expat-moves-to-Thailand tale. Maybe I would relate? I saved the film in my Netflix cue, but never got around to watching it before my move. During my year and a half living in Thailand I continued to skip it … Read More Why I Hate ‘The Beach’
When you’re jet lagged and running off maybe two hours of sleep, you forget to check the open/close hours of the place where you booked a rental car in Honolulu (which you only booked because it was so much cheaper than picking up at the airport). You take a city bus to the rental place. The bus driver continuously gets off the bus to … Read More How To End Up In A Sexy Convertible VW Bug In Hawai’i: A Short Story
The blue destination dot on Google Maps seemed far away as my two friends and I crawled out of the minibus at the Kanchanaburi bus station. It was nearing 8 p.m. We’d left Bangkok around 4:30 p.m. The driver shut the door and drove off, leaving us standing dumbly in the street. My two friends, one a fellow expat also living in Bangkok and … Read More Broken Hearts and the Power of Women on the River Kwai
When a desk agent from my Hanoi hostel asked if I wanted to book a hiking trip through Sapa I thought, Sure. Why not? I’d hiked plenty of times. I had a limited amount of time in Vietnam and Sapa was supposed to be a “must see” place. A hike seemed like fun. The journey started with a 5-hour overnight sleeper bus to Sapa. … Read More Trekking Through Sapa
While flying down an Indian highway at 100 km/h, I didn’t have the normal thoughts someone would have during their first trip to India: This is awesome! I’m in India! On a motorcycle! Why is there a cow in the road? Instead, at nearly 11 p.m. at night, after driving 470 km, all I could think was: Oh my god. I’m 30. I landed in Jaipur around … Read More Expectations in India
I can’t believe it’s been over two months since my last post. That’s mostly because I got a new job, which consumes my working week. Any free time I have has been spent with friends or writing for various publications. When my new job’s Board of Directors offered me a position, the President said, “You cannot write about our school.” (The most I can … Read More A Quick Catch-Up: New Job, New Places, New Trips
When I asked my Thai friend about Songkran, she looked me up and down, laughed, and said, “You’re a walking target.” “What?” She used her spoon to dig out a chunk of mango from our shared bingsu. “We throw water at foreigners,” she said. “You’re going to get soaked.” I’d heard about Songkran when I first arrived in Bangkok, but not much detail. A … Read More Surviving Songkran: A Step-By-Step Guide
When you move to a country that has a completely different culture from what you’re used to, it’s easy to commit a faux pas here and there. When one of my friends first moved to Thailand a coin rolled down the floor of her classroom and she stepped on it to make it stop. “The class gasped,” she told me. “The money has the … Read More Oh, the Faux Pas You’ll Commit!
I am crap at ordering street food. Bangkok is practically bursting at the seams with food stalls, food carts, and foldout tables laden with 25 Baht banana leaf wrapped goodies, and yet I rarely order anything more than a coconut or iced coffee. This has nothing to do with sanitary worries or being picky about food; it’s all to do with my embarrassment at … Read More Your Visa’s Not Valid: A Trip Through Language Barriers
The first time I went to California I hated it. I don’t know why, I just did. On the surface California had everything I loved: beaches, otters, National Parks, diverse cultures, art scene, hippies, liberals, Mexican food, and a landscape ranging from surfer ready beaches to sprawling metropolises and imposing mountain ranges. Despite checking all of those boxes, however, when I first traveled to … Read More California: I Hate It, I Love It.