Happiness and simplicity

I’ve never been this happy before. Let’s just recap, briefly: on Little Cayman, there are more iguanas than people, an incredible community of birds, and approximately 150 year-round residents.  We have a little general store, open until 6 each day (and charging $8 for a bag of Tostitos), a bank that’s open two days a week,…

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A place to call home

It’s the most wonderful place.  And I’ve had an impossible time trying to determine how to describe this place to anyone, so probably this post won’t help.  A Google search of Little Cayman will tell you the basics, with the added bonus (and might I add, false advertising) photos of perfectly sculpted naked men roaming…

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Paradise found.

Every summer, when I was a littler girl, my family would load up the car and drive seven or something hours South to a place called Chincoteague, Virginia.  It was a family tradition; an anxiously anticipated time of the year when all branches of my dads side would converge within one tiny summer beach rental….

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It can all go in boxes

There are so many things I want to write about, but I’ve been betraying my public blog by instead confiding in a diary.  Sorry, to the few of you out there who like to read my blog.  I’ll be honest.  I’ve been going through a rough patch in my life, and the past couple of…

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Squalls, etc.

We had two options:  leave Providencia on Monday and hope that the nasty forecast would be “doable” or wait it out until Friday without any guarantee that the forecast wouldn’t change again for the worse.  We had to make a choice, and captain Josh had the final say.  Really, it would only be three days–a straight…

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Providencia, Colombia

In the faint morning light, I unclipped from the tether in the cockpit and removed my lifevest. I crept down into the cabin, seeing the boys both fast asleep. I had taken a three hour shift, instead of the usual two, because Josh had been up all night adjusting sails through changing conditions. He needed…

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Setting Sail

The learning curve on a sailboat seems to be quite rapid. When Captain says “let’s furl the yankee,” or “we’re gonna come up on the halyard,” the scattered shuffling through ropes with that look of sincere confusion only gets you so far. On a boat, it’s either learn or be useless, sink or swim. A…

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Catching a different wave

I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to talk to, but I knew his name started with J. Emma had told me about a person–named…something or other…starting with a J–who she’d met at Rio Coco. She said he has been sailing around the Caribbean, and he’d given her some advice about how to find a…

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Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

The sun rises just after five and peeks through my window. Slowly opening my eyes, I become aware of the fan’s breeze on my legs and the sound of the roosters outside my window.  I sit up, ever so slowly, avoiding sudden movements. Tactfully and with precision, I peel back the curtain of my window…

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My summer, on the halfshell

Well, this is awkward. Been a while. I said I’d write. I didn’t write.  Didn’t call…eh.. It wasn’t that my summer was boring and there was nothing exciting to blog about; nor was it that I was so busy doing awesome things that I just couldn’t find the time. Those would be what we call…

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I see France!

And FINALLY, I’ve decided to write about France.  You know, I’ve been back in the US for a month now, and I somehow made myself too busy to put aside time for writing; moving into a new house, finding a job, gardening, doing nothing, and spending time with friends and Meren have been enough to…

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I see London…

Wow. There are so many people speaking English. There are so many people that look like me. There is order to the traffic. The shops aren’t filthy and there are no flies. It’s cold. *     *     * My ability to form complex thoughts was temporarily debilitated as I arrived in London Heathrow airport…

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Sri Lanka to Europe, in seach of delicious food

Before I left, I made a point to offhandedly remind my friends’ and family members that I would be eating delicious “authentic” Asian food for months. La dee da. But at that point, I knew nothing of what real Asian food is, nor did I take into account the fact that plain white rice must have somehow paid a…

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Chiang Mai

Alex and I left Luang Prabang together and headed to Chiang Mai, Thailand, via a series of buses that took 24 hours. Waiting for our bus with Leif in Luang Prabang, we got a (nervous) laugh out of the discovery that our bus had absolutely no tread on it’s ancient tires. Safety is hardly a…

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Lovely Luang Prabang

I thought I was in love with Saigon, but it seems I didn’t know what I was looking for.  I found a place that truly has all I’ve ever wanted.  It’s official: Luang Prabang has taken my heart. Beautiful sunsets, cheap–amazing–food, and lovely markets and buildings: it’s the best. I left Kate in Vang Vieng,…

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Vang Vieng, but without the tubes

Laos is incredible.  It’s my favorite place yet, only surpassing Hsipaw, Myanmar by a fraction. But I’m typing this and realizing I am hyper-focused on something else, which is preventing me from writing about Laos.  So let me get this out of the way, first. OK, so the US is known around the world for…

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Laotian Paradise

They say that in Laos, you can expect your pulse rate to drop significantly, and remain at steady, slow, resting pace for the duration of your stay in the country. I don’t know how the next couple of weeks will go, but it feels already that my pace has changed from constant fight or flight…

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No Tuk-Tuk, lady!

Well, after the sadness in Phnom Phen, my experience in Cambodia turned to madness.  As in the anger type of madness, not the insanity kind of madness.  Well, maybe a bit of both, I guess. But first, I’ll say I was thrilled to meet back up with Kate…remember, Kate from Borneo?  The one who got…

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Phnom Phen, Cambodia

It’s hard to put into words exactly how I felt in Phnom Phen, Cambodia. After only two days in the city, I needed to leave. Not because of the incessantly badgering tuk-tuk drivers, or the unbearable heat. I needed to leave because my heart was becoming too heavy. Another day and it would have sank away, I’m sure. Cambodia…

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The guilty American

I’ll warn you.  The first half of this post is pink and fluffy.  The second half is not.  I will separate the two with ” *     *     * ” so you can decide if you want to read an angry American coming to terms with our imperialist foreign policy, or not….

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Saigon, Vietnam

I’m entirely too tired to write anything substantial, but it should be noted that Saigon has rekindled my love for traveling after the Philippines rained heavily on this one-woman parade. I arrived in Vietnam at 2 in the morning, met a guy in the airport from the North Pole, slept outside in the company of…

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Divemastered.

I finished. I’m a Divemaster, Emergency First Response Instructor and Provider, Rescue Diver, and Nitrox certified….and I survived to tell the tale. As a right of passage into the “Darkside,” also known as the realm of PADI professionals, this is what my night was like last night. Considering I had to snorkel-beer-bong 3 beers after…

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Just my luck

Listen: after coming to truly, intimately, understand the meaning of the phrase “when it rains it pours,” I’ve resolved that the best attitude to have is just strip down into your birthday suit and do a little dance in the street. Smile, and let it rain (or in my case, let the medical drama come…

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Life on Boracay

Things have mellowed out since my little episode a couple weeks ago. My oh my, has it been crazy, though.  I apologize (mostly to you, mom) for not writing in ages.  Time has been flying as each day seems shorter and shorter under the heaps of dive physics readings pile up. The life of a…

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Trouble with Jellies

Finally: I can breathe fresh air as my lips begin forming a smile and my eyebrows slowly loosen their squeeze on my forehead. I am sitting on the balcony of my little apartment on Boracay Island, in the Philippines, looking out at the full moon behind a palm tree and the crisply outlined white clouds…

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Worst Airline Ever: Cebu Pacific Air

There.  I was hoping the title of this post would be catchy enough so that people Googling CebuAir Pacific would come up with my site and be spared the horrible experience of doing business with them.  It is now my mission in life to alert travelers around the world to NEVER, under any circumstances, fly…

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A Moment of Silence for Danielle Yeager

I apologize for the lag in posting, but a recent tragedy has immobilized me from doing much of anything. Two days ago, a friend gave me some terrible news: my friend–a beautiful, funny, creative, free-spirited girl, and briefly my roommate this past summer–Danielle Yeager, passed away.  My heart is breaking over and over again for her wonderful…

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Brunei Darussalam, land of lovely surprises

I heard the alarm, but refused to open my eyes. “You wanna shower first?” I said, half asleep. This is my sneaky way of stealing a couple extra minutes of sleep. “I showered last night. You can go ahead and take one,” Kate replied, already up and moving around the room. Damn. It was 6:30,…

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Road Trip to Kinabalu National Park

Kate and I had had enough excitement for a lifetime while adventuring in Banggi. I should have warned her, in retrospect, that traveling with me might not be what most people think of as a “normal” or even “pleasant” travel experience. I tend to find myself in really unusual situations rather frequently, and I somehow…

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Trials and Tribulations on Banggi Island

It all started with an intriguing story, over some iced lemon tea with just a little sugar, please: …”my Couchsurfer took a boat to an island, where no foreigners have been…camped on the beach…my friend Jimmy took care of him…” Fiona was telling us about this place we could go if we wanted to see…

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Well Hello, Borneo

Never in the span of my 25 years of this sometimes unpredictable existence have I booked a plane ticket departing the next day.  That is, never before yesterday. Yesterday, I was feeling spunky.  Yesterday, I was bored.  Yesterday, I was feeling a little too lazy in Kuala Lumpor.  Yesterday, I was tired of things. So today, I…

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Iranians, Iguanas, and Islam

The past week has been inadvertently dedicated to learning. My mind has been filled, literally. I can’t quite keep track anymore with the different names, dates, places, flavors, and concepts floating around within the borders of my skull. Bottom line: Malaysia is wonderful. I am growing like a jungle tree here  (minus the fungus and…

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Thoughts from the jungles of Penang, Malaysia

I was in the jungle for four days. I slept on a wood floor with geckos and jungle insects, falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle, which at times elicited PTSD-like reactions from my Amazon days. The “jungle house” was surrounded by a fruit and rubber tree plantation, in an area ruled by king…

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Reflections on Thailand

My optimism about “layers of culture” in Ko Tao quickly disintegrated as soon as I started trying to access those layers. Overall, Thailand didn’t win my heart.  The places I visited–the places that most people visit–were not, in many ways, very different from any other beach destination or tourist spot in the world. Thailand is…

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Ko Samui, where the livin’s easy

A cockroach the size of an oreo just crawled across my white bedsheet, which smells either like laundry detergent or embalming fluid, I can’t decide. I am writing this post with one hand; the other is holding fast to my shoe to launch a defensive strike against the next cookie sized roach that comes my way. This…

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Diving on Ko Tao

Sorry for the lull in blog posts: it’s rough here. I couldn’t really find time for computer-world, with the packed schedule I’ve been adhering to: Wake up Eat delicious Thai food Go diving Sunbathe Eat more delicious Thai food Socialize Sleep Repeat It’s been tough. Finally, I’ve been able to pull myself away from the…

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Once upon a time, on the streets of Bangkok…

…four silly Couchsurfers went out in search of food. The travelers, each from a distant land far far away, all agreed on one thing:  they were hungry.  They were really quite hungry, and decided to venture downtown to  a night market.  It was closed.  So they searched and searched, and finally found some squid-on-a-stick, which was…

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Service Announcement

**I have uploaded and embedded videos from my trip in Myanmar, so if you go back through Myanmar posts, starting with “The Train. The zoo,” you will see video clips from my trip. Sorry the clips are so short sometimes, but when battery-charging capabilities are limited, so too are my recording-intervals. I am still in…

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Bangkok, Thailand

I certainly was not prepared for Bangkok. Not in the least.  I think this is what they call “culture shock.” Coming from the States to Myanmar, I somehow dodged the culture shock that everyone said I would encounter upon arrival. Perhaps it’s because my friends and family tried to prepare me that I was immune…

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Reflections on Myanmar

“People must consume to survive, and the world’s poorest will need to increase their level of consumption if they are to lead lives of dignity and opportunity.” Life in Myanmar is something I couldn’t have imagined from my home back in the U.S.  Before I left, I was cursing the country as I struggled to…

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