Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hi friends,
I am now again in the south of Thailand enjoying time in the sun and becoming an Open Water Certified Scuba Diver! Since I last posted, I spent a few days in Pai which was surprisingly wonderful. I was afraid it would be too crowded to be enjoyable, but fortunately it has still retained all of its character and charm. I stayed two nights in a little bungalow that had a roof made of leaves and a wall I could stick my hand through. Also if I jumped on the bed I think I would have gone straight through the floor. It was a cold night sleep but it was a fun place to stay. It was called “The Pai Circus School and Resort” and you could take all kinds of juggling and fire poi lessons. I didn’t. I spent my weekend in Pai motorbiking through the Thai countryside, playing in waterfalls, and enjoying the company of new friends. It was good times!

My cozy little bungalow :)
My cozy little bungalow 🙂

Leaving Pai on Sunday, I began a long and arduous journey to the beach. Public transport post: My first leg included a mini van from Pai to Chiang Mai around the most winding roads your could ever imagine. So winding in fact, that it has lead the roadside shop keepers to post signs such as this-

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After a brief stop in Chiang Mai (with just enough time for one last yoga class at Wild Rose!) I was boarded on to my overnight “VIP” bus. Remember last time when I took a VIP bus and it was AWESOME? Yeah, this time my “VIP” bus was a disgusting conglomerate of ripped and stained seats with questionable smells. I guess I should have seen through the half price ticket. Ah well, scammed again. Next- I arrived in Bangkok the following morning, 2 hours late and on the other side of town from the bus station. I guess scam buses don’t park at bus stations, I did in fact board it in the back of a gas station. Anyway, now I needed to be at the airport in 45 minutes for my flight to Phuket. Well, unfortunately for me the only taxis I was able to wave down for the next 30 minutes refused to use their meter and wanted a double fare. No thanks. So I finally caught a cab 5 minutes before take off, and after significant protest traffic (don’t know if you’ve heard but the Thais are trying to overthrow their government) made it to the airport well after my flight had taken off. So I take a deep breath and get in line to buy a new ticket. $130, 3 hours, and an overpriced “limo” ride to Khao Lak later, I have reached my destination! Now I need to brag for a moment and just let you all know that through the chaos, I didn’t shed a tear! Not one! I considered it briefly during my desperation for a taxi, but it didn’t happen. For those of you who have been reading along since I left, you may remember that time I cried over a plate of airplane eggs. Anyways, I think my skin is getting a little thicker and I’ve toughened up. Hooray!

So now I’m in Khao Lak, having just completed day 1 of my dive course! This is the second dive course I’ve taken in my life (this cert will be a little higher) and so it’s not been too difficult. I got talked in to joining the live aboard ship for the weekend so I will stay here until at least monday. The catch of the live aboard was that it returns on Monday and my visa expires on Saturday. So to solve this dilemma, yesterday I went to Burma! The dive shop manager (Wicked Diving, its fantastic!) offered to take me along on the “visa run” him and his girlfriend just so happened to have had planned for the next day. Thailand has these crazy laws where you can only stay in the country for a certain amount of months, but as soon as you leave the country and re-enter you can have a new visa. So, a popular tourist trip in Thailand has become a “visa run”. Mostly, these are booked with travel agencies. But I had the luck of tagging along with two seasoned pros. I went to Burma for 10 minutes, just enough time to have my passport stamped in and out… and then I returned (via rickety wood boat) to Thailand where I have been granted a legal stay until Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, let me bore you a few moments with my current internal struggle. When do I go home?!?! Help me, suggestions and opinions please. I have no flight home (unless I miraculously arrive in Dubai by the 17th of December) and haven’t made up my mind about if I am meant to stay in Asia or be home for the holidays. Here is the dilemma. (Disclaimer- I’m going to get real here for a minute… so if you don’t like the mushy stuff stop reading now). I love my family, and as most of you know my mom and dad move to Slovakia on January 1st. On top of that, I generally live across the country and work a job that doesn’t close its doors on a holiday. I had planned to spend this Christmas with them and would really love to. Can we delay Christmas by a month? Then all my problems would be solved. So if I come home at Christmas I can spend the holidays with my family and enjoy my mom and dads company before they move to Europe. I also told my work I would be back in January and I feel more and more guilty the longer I stay away. My heart also aches hearing of the hardships of my patients and coworkers and not being able to be there. So there’s that. On the other hand, I have found myself in Asia. And I am afraid I will lose myself if I go home. I know I need to go home eventually, but I don’t know if I’m ready yet. These past few months I have discovered a new comfort and a happiness of being more alive and more myself. I know I am getting cliche and far too gushy, but I can’t help it people. Sorry, bear with me! While pleasant, my life in Salt Lake was monotonous and I was just going through the motions. Doing things I thought were or would make me happy, while still feeling an incredible amount of boredom, anxiety, insecurity, and restlessness. Since traveling, I have felt more me than ever before and discovered a confidence I didn’t know I had. At home, my anxiety was so bad I was seeing a therapist regularly and it was affecting both large and small decisions. Now, I can’t even tell you the last time I felt anxious. Maybe only a fleeting feeling a handful of times since August. Well, until this past week when I have been running circles in my head trying to make a plan. So this is my problem. Do I stay or do I go now?? (hehe) Real life is waiting and will always be, so I have to go back. I just don’t when. What I have learned these past few months is nothing short of amazing, and I am so connected to myself I can’t even believe it. I have never appreciated me like I appreciate me now. I don’t want this to go away and I am worried that when I go home it will slowly dissolve and I will be back to my routine life. It’s easy to say “Well, just don’t let it happen! You’re happiness is up to you and you are in control”. Yes, I realize this and I hope this will be the case. But I have found something amazing here and I hope you can understand why it is  hard for me to let it go. So, if I leave, am I quitting my adventure too soon? Or if I stay, am I just avoiding the inevitable? What to do. I am lucky enough to have the support of my family no matter what I choose. Grateful for this!

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and a tasty turkey. I went for a scuba dive and then a korean barbecue. No turkey for me this year, but it was fun nonetheless! Missed our annual game of LCR though. Tonight I board the boat for the weekend where I will complete my certification. Should be fun! Enjoy your holiday weekend 🙂

Ah life is good in Chiang Mai! I have migrated  north since Conor left and now find myself in a small charming city one overnight bus trip away from Bangkok. Since I last posted, Conor and I spent a couple more days on Ko Lanta before arriving back in Bangkok on friday. We opted at the last minute to stay in the comfort of the funky fish and just do a day trip to the much talked about island of Phi Phi. This turned out to be a good call, as an hour on Phi Phi was more than enough for us. This is island is one of the most beautiful in Thailand and the big secret is out- ALL the tourists know this. It has unfortunately been destroyed by commercialism and trash and I was almost legitimately afraid I was going to spontaneously sink into the Andaman Sea with the whole island. It’s also gotten quite a reputation as an island that never sleeps. Don’t get me wrong, we all know I like a good party, but this was just not the kind of island vibe we were looking for.  In the end, we had SO much fun on Lanta and both kind of wished we could trade places with the retired swedish man who had been looking for an adventure and had stumbled upon a beachfront Ko Lanta bar in need of a new owner. Lucky guy. Our last day in Bangkok was brief, and Saturday I was returning Conor to the airport far too soon. The couple days after he left was the first time I’ve had even a twinge of homesickness. But the adventure must go on and the next best thing a lonely girl can do, is keep herself busy!The next night I took an overnight bus to Chiang Mai. I had survived the train so I figured this was the next challenge in travel. I’m a light sleeper and a cranky tired girl so I was nervous. We left at 9pm and pulled into Chiang Mai at 5am. Too bad my hostel didn’t open til 7. What to do with 2 hours. Anyway, the bus wasn’t bad we got a boxed dinner and apparently a breakfast that I confused for dessert. Oops. Didn’t want to eat at 5am anyways. So, a couple hours later I was in love with Chiang Mai. I was here looking for calm and peace after a couple of crazy weeks and this is exactly what I have found! My first morning was spent wandering aimlessly in an old city that was (mostly) pollution free and actually had space to breathe! In the afternoon I took a vegetarian cooking class that was connected to a restaurant I had frequented in Bangkok. I am absolutely no good at cooking so I was imagining it would likely be a huge waste of my time. While I definitely didn’t win the class award for best peanut sauce, the class was so good and I had a lot of fun. I might even be able to successfully through a thai styled dinner party! Don’t worry friends, I’ll practice on Conor first. The school was called Morning Glory Cooking Classes, I highly recommend it! Even got to take home leftovers. Win. In the evening, I found out I was lucky enough have showed up in Chiang Mai for the annual lantern festival which was beautiful. Giant floating paper lanterns are released into the sky by the hundreds and it’s really quite a sight. There was also a parade of Thai culture.The next day I woke early for yoga at this great little place down the rode from my hostel called Wild Rose. It’s an antique wooden building that has so much air and natural light running through it. A really beautiful space to practice in and the class was an hour and a half for $7. Can’t beat that. A few hours later (I was not being zen at all) I was running down the streets of Chiang Mai to make it nearly on time to Wat Suan Dok (temple) where my meditation retreat would start. It was much further away by foot than I had anticipated and I was not sure how highly monks regard timeliness. I made it,just 3 minutes late and all was forgiven. There were about 30 students in total for the 2 day retreat. All ages and from all over the world. We were an eager and anxious group of novices  with little to no meditation experience between us. The retreat is run through an outreach organization called ‘Monk Chat’, aimed at teaching those interested more about the practice of Buddhism. The course started with an intro to buddhism, during which we were introduced to the basic principles of the belief system. Per our monk leader, buddhism is not a actually a religion but rather a way of life. It was very interesting and I really think there is a little bit of buddhist in all of us. Essentially it is a path of precepts that equate to living a good life of kindness, caring, confidence, and selflessness. We each practice this in our own way and at various levels. Next, we were taken by pickup truck (again, the blog on public transport in Asia…) to the Internaltional Meditation Center located outside of the city. This is where we would be learning and practicing mindfulness for the next 2 days. I have only ever meditated within the discipline of yoga and on my own by way of “meditation for beginners” books. I had previously enjoyed what I’d experienced and was excited to really get a crash course with some pros. Like most, I struggle with the concept of “shutting off my mind”. It doesn’t come easy for anyone, it’s not just you that can’t get all those crazy thought to chill out for a few minutes. When I first discussed this idea of “shutting off your mind” with my very knowledgeable and well balanced friend Melissa, she shared an interesting concept. That it is not so much about ‘not thinking’, it is more the filtering and release of all these consuming thoughts. When meditating, you realize how much trash we carry around in our heads all day long. Through meditation, you are processing through these thoughts and letting them escape you rather than just trying to stop them. Brilliant woman! And so I stopped trying shut off my mind, and just let it rid itself of all the self created pollution trapped inside. My monk guide advised the same- consciously trying to stop your thoughts is actually in itself creating another thought. Just stay focused and your mind will eventually quiet itself.The 2 days consisted of learning various meditation techniques. These techniques include- standing, sitting, walking (which itself has 4 techniques), and laying (2 techniques). The monks walked us through it the first few times and then we were on our own. The conclusion of day 1 consisted of an hour long meditation for us to really try out our new found skills. We did however have the option to change positions every 10 minutes so it wasn’t quite as daunting as it sounds. So- here I am, all excited and ready to go explore my mind and savor the silence and find out what this is all about. It was a good hour, I really felt connected and disconnected all at the same time. It was a difficult, but enjoyable process. Until it was time for a bathroom break and I discovered that the sensation of disconnect had actually been coming from pants. I now have something in common with Janet Jackson. Although I think mine was more embarrassing, just saying. Anyways, I go to the bathroom and go to untie my pants from the back when instead of grabbing fabric I grab nothing and just feel my cold butt cheek. I turn around, in terror, and sure enough there is the whole big white left side of my bum just exposing itself to the world. I instantly do some laps around the room trying to test out the theory that, no of course I would have felt a breeze and my pants have not been like this for an hour. No breeze. I adjust the cloth trying to see if it really wasn’t as bad as I thought. It’s pretty bad. I realize when I was busy learning how to bow to Buddha the fabric must have come out from under the one measly piece of string that was tying it around my waist. The pants are about size 10 XL and are wrapped around you before being secured (or not secured) by the string. Ok well now I’m humiliated. I realized now that one nice American dude had tried to give me a heads up with a quick pinch on the arm and a quiet “hey”… but I thought he was just being friendly so I waved and kept walking! Conveniently I had spent the last 30 minutes in walking meditation, doing laps around the room just to ensure that all 30 students, 2 monks, and a giant buddha had the privilege of seeing my bum. At least it’s a good bum! Sorry monks, I hope you aren’t having too many nightmares. And to my meditation friends that saw my moon- did you give up at “intending to clothes my eyes” (in an asian robot voice)… your eyes were NOT supposed to be open!And so concluded day 1!Day 2 was more of the same, with slowly increasing lengths of meditation time until we were at 2 hours of silence with 20 minute intervals. The whole experience was so wonderful. I felt light and happy and grounded at the end of the day. The best part was my evening yoga class where I totally kicked ass and got into some pretty intense poses I didn’t even know I was capable of. Connected to the meditation or not, I don’t know, but it was a sweet surprise that made me want more. After yoga I went and found some equilibrium in the form of a big bowl of noodles and a cold Singha (local beer) to balance out my abundance of healthy practices. It’s all about the yin and yang right? Too much of one thing is never good! 😉 I met with some of my fellow meditators and got talked into a weekend trip to a small mountain town called Pai. This town is touted as a little hippy paradise away from all of life’s troubles. However, I haven’t stayed at hostel yet where everyones not chatting about the magic of Pai (most haven’t been yet) and so I can only imagine it is has begun to succomb to the fate of Ko Phi Phi. For this reason, I had no intention of going. But, here I am on a bus going to Pai. I will spend the weekend with these new friends and find out what Pai is all about. I am sad to leave Chiang Mai, I really love this city and could spend a long time here I think. There is an amazing community of expats and the city is just so alive.

Okay well guilty of not posting this before arriving in Pai… blogging takes commitment people! But I will post now and share my Pai experiences in a few days. Today I am returning to Chiang Mai and having round 2 on the night bus to Bangkok! Bye!
Also- my photo upload does not appear to want to work today (#bloggingproblems), pictures coming soon!

A much overdue post! I have been so busy in Thailand that any spare time I have I usually spend sleeping, which says a lot because I am still freaking exhausted! I have been in Thailand for about a week and half now. It’s going too quickly! Conor arrived last monday and we have been doing the most fantastic tour de Thailand ever. He is only here 12 days so it was tricky trying to come up with an itinerary that would hit all the good stuff but not leave us running from one place to the next. I did a lot of research pre arrival (way back when I had lots of time for reading in my little mud house with no electricity, remember that?) and I don’t mean to brag but I could potentially be a travel agent. Maybe it’s genetic and I got it from my mom. Anyway we spent our first two and half days in Bangkok hanging with the hoards of tourists that flock from all over the world to play in this country. It was interesting being in Bangkok after spending so much time in Nepal and then Sri Lanka, there are white people EVERYWHERE. And there is a lot of money and a lot modernization. It’s good and bad. Bad because it almost feels like there are more tourists than Thai people and you can’t help but feel a little guilty. You also inevitably lose the character of the country when everything is tailored to foreigners. It’s good because the masses of people speaks for the charm of the country, it is incredible and everyone wants a piece of it. I also enjoy meeting other travelers and am now being afforded many luxuries I was left wanting in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Mostly- Not being looked at and/or judged for being a woman, electricity 24 hours, english speakers, shopping. So we enjoyed our few days of sightseeing and photo snapping. I even splurged and we stayed in this posh little hotel called Shanghai Mansion in the heart of Chinatown. It was amazing, if you ever need a great a place to stay- go there. Other highlights included- river cruising, buddha and temple sightings, fish eating our feet, so much street food, roof top cocktails, a thai ska band, and a Muay Thai match.

On Wednesday we crammed into a “bus” (also known as a van, where I am from) and sucked our bellies in while balancing our massive backpacks (why would the bus have room for luggage?) for the one hour ride to Ayuthaya. Ayuthaya was the previous capitol of Thailand back in the 1300s. It was full of massive palaces and temples where the Kings and Monks ruled. A few centuries later most of the structures were destroyed by the Burmese during the war. Now all that’s left is these incredible ruins that will make your jaw drop. Despite the destruction, the buildings are beautiful and the size and detail that was created so many centuries ago is just amazing. We stayed here overnight and rented to bikes to explore the ruins. It was a quick side trip from Bangkok and gave Conor a good taste of the rich history of Thai culture. We arrived back in Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon where we had just enough time to grab a drink with some friends of mine from Nepal (an Australian couple who is traveling Thailand now as well) on the notorious Khao San Road. Then we we’re off on the overnight train to Southern Thailand! A word of advice for future rail travelers- book ahead!! We misinformed that we could get a ticket just before we got on the train, unfortunately I didn’t see the blurb in my guide book that recommended the opposite until just a few hours before the train left. We were left with the option of buying seats (for a 12 hour, 7pm-7am ride) or purchasing very overly priced beds from an incredibly savvy travel agent who tailors to people in our situation. She buys out the last car of beds just for the desperate last minute folk. Anyway, it was well worth the money. We got seats that converted into bunk beds and got to know some great Swedes who thought they could actually eat “spicy” food in Thailand. Note: Nobody can eat spicy food in Thailand without some pretty severe consequences.

When we woke up we were just a van ride away from Khao Sok National Park. We spent two nights here in a crazy little tree house bungalow in a forest full of monkeys. This was Conor’s first experience of mosquito nets, cold showers, sharing your room with insects of various sizes, and unreliable electricity. I just felt like I was back at Auma and Baba’s house! We went jungle trekking to some waterfalls after arriving and enjoyed a very hot but fun hike. We even saw a snake eat a frog! So cool. The next day we took a tour to a nearby lake that is about the most massive body of water ever. It was created by a dam about 30 years ago and there are whole villages underwater. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs and more jungle. We went on a boat to a little floating village, where we explored via ancient and unsteady kayak the nearby coves. For lunch we were served very fresh fish and then we were off on another jungle trek. This time to a cave that was amazing! The cave was used as a communist hideout a few decades ago and is a massive network of pools and passages. It was full of bats and stalactites. It was a really cool experience.

The next day, we took another VAN (AHH) to the coast and hopped a ferry to the island of Koh Lanta. Speaking of another van, I think I could author an entire blog on public transport in Asia. Holy crap. Koh Lanta is labeled a beach bum paradise and that it is. We decided it would be a good place to start our time in the islands and it was a good call. This place is so chill and really lives up to its description. We are staying in a little multi colored bungalow with hello kitty sheets and silk-ish blankets. It’s got a lot of character. Anyway its $20 a night and a few steps from the beach. Yes please. Yesterday we went elephant trekking, weird but fun, and explored the island. Today we went on a snorkeling tour of four nearby islands. It was so beautiful and we saw lots of really cool fish. We opted for the cheap boat (the other options being- a large tour boat, or a an expensive ‘first class’ speed boat). Our was a long wooden row boat looking thing with a car engine on the back. I learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to drink a lot of gin the night before boarding one of these boats. Oh man, I thought was going to have to jump ship. I lived however, but not before forgetting my entire wallet (passport and everything. yikes.) on the boat and Conor having a lobster back (it was bound to happen sooner or later). We will stay here another day than go to Ko Phi Phi before returning to Bangkok for Conor’s flight home. This has been his first trip abroad and I’m hoping he’s caught the bug. So far so good! It’s been lots of fun. Okay skeeters are eating me so I gotta run, big hugs to all! xo

The adventure begins!!
The adventure begins!!

Conor ascending the steep steps at Wat Arun

A big gold Buddha at Wat Pho!
A big gold Buddha at Wat Pho!
Cocktails and the Bangkok skyline
Cocktails and the Bangkok skyline
Ringside seats at a Muay Thai match
Ringside seats at a Muay Thai match
The Muay Thai Champion!!
The Muay Thai Champion!!
A Thai night out, cheap beers and dancing to Ska music!
A Thai night out, cheap beers and dancing to Ska music!

 

Noodles at a floating restaurant in Ayuthaya
Noodles at a floating restaurant in Ayuthaya
Exploring by bike
Exploring by bike
An amazing sunset at the temple ruins of Ayuthaya
An amazing sunset at the temple ruins of Ayuthaya
Conor all tucked in for the night on our overnight train to the south
Conor all tucked in for the night on our overnight train to the south
A sleepy Conor ready for a day of exploring, from our little jungle hut!
A sleepy Conor ready for a day of exploring, from our little jungle hut!
Caving Khao Sok National Park
Caving Khao Sok National Park
I am now a licensed elephant driver. Lucky Conor, my first ever passenger!
I am now a licensed elephant driver. Lucky Conor, my first ever passenger!
A little bit of heaven at our beach side accommodation in Koh Lanta!
A little bit of heaven at our beach side accommodation in Koh Lanta!
Snorkeling in the Andaman Sea!
Snorkeling in the Andaman Sea!
Feeding tropical fruits to tropical fish!
Feeding tropical fruits to tropical fish!

So long, Sri Lanka!

My brief but beautiful time in Sri Lanka is up! It was a surprising country and I am glad I made the decision to stop here. My trip over from Nepal was unexpectedly expensive and seriously unenjoyable but definitely worth it. 

As I mentioned before, Sri Lanka is far more modernized and ‘western appearing’ than Nepal was. There is more money here and more catering to tourists. I had planned to make a quick tour of the country and see as much as I could, but that did not happen. Once I met my yogi friends I was blissfully stuck in the little beach town of Hikkaduwa. HIkkaduwa is considered to be somewhat of a ‘backpackers paradise’, an inexpensive slice of luxury for the budget traveler. It is full of surfing, beach bars, cosy restaurants, and well traveled young people from all over the world. My days consisted of early morning yoga with Lyndon, locally known as ‘the rubber man’ who is a British-pseudo Sri Lankan who has been living in Hikkaduwa for over 15 years. He is an extremely knowledgeable master of yoga who I wish I could pack up in my suitcase (he would definitely fit) and carry around with me for the rest of my travels. Starting each morning with a bit of personal challenge and re-centering does amazing things for the soul! If you ever make it to Hikkaduwa go see Lyndon. Next I usually crossed the street to “the coffee shop’ (a real life game of Frogger, crossing the street when in Sri Lanka) and enjoyed a most delicious cup of cappuccino with a homemade coconut muffin. A really lovely little family runs this place… and coconut muffins, come on! I need to get the recipe. The remainder of my day generally consisted of surfing, sunbathing, avocado salads, beach jogs, and dinner with friends. Life is freaking good in Sri Lanka! Needless to say, I didn’t make it on a tour of the country once I fell in love with Hikkaduwa. There has been something very comforting to me on this trip about having routine. I lack routine in my daily life at home, an unfortunate consequence of being a floor nurse. Some weeks I’m up all night at work, the next week I’m spending my weekend in the hospital, and the week after I’m working every other day. You just never know! This schedule prevents me from establishing any type of routine and because of it I often feel lost and out of control. Having routine these past few months (in the village in Nepal, Sri Lanka, etc) has really been so good for me. I feel more connected to myself and my life and I actually know what’s going on. Somehow I really need to try to incorporate routine into my inconsistent life back home.

I did manage to leave Hikkaduwa for a few days, and explored the more southern coast of Sri Lanka. Helena (my norwegian friend) and I got a cabana in a lazy little beach town called 
Mirrissa for a few nights. There was less of a party scene here than in Hikka and it was the perfect place to chill out. The dutch girls came down for a couple nights as well and we went on a safari to Yala National Park. See I did something besides lay on the beach! The safari was meh to begin with and we saw the typical jungle wildlife… water buffaloes, crocodiles, exotic birds, giant iguanas, monkeys, etc. Then, when we were all ready to call it a day… we literally drove right into a HERD of elephants. It was amazing!! And so beautiful to see these incredible creatures up close in the wild. Even two babies! We sat in the jeep for several minutes, in silence with mouths gaping, just watching these majestic creatures move around us. Made the whole experience worth it. After Mirissa, I went back to Hikka for one more day before heading to the airport. I loved Hikka, and could have stayed longer. When I first arrived it was definitely still ‘off season’, which was really great because it gave us the opportunity to really get to know the locals and enjoy the place without all the crowds. The scene really started to change by the time I was leaving (high season is coming!), and I think I’m glad to have been there when I was. A lot of Russians in Hikka also, weird. I went to one last beach party last night then caught a van to the airport at 1:30am to make a 7am flight. Not that much fun. But the flight was easy, and here I am in Thailand!

I am staying in a hostel for 3 nights and then my long lost boyfriend arrives on Monday. It’s been more than two months since we’ve seen each other, so it will be a happy reunion that we are both very much looking forward to. This will be Conor’s first time traveling internationally so I am very excited to introduce him to my life as a backpacker! If all goes well, he’ll be hooked and next time I head out on an around the world adventure I will have a travel buddy! Conor and I have been together for over 2 and a half years and although he knows me very well, I am really looking forward to him seeing me in this environment. Because, as weird as it sounds, traveling is often a place where I feel most at home and am really happiest. I am excited for him to experience that and get a better understanding of why I feel like its necessary (because it is!) to pack up and head across the ocean like I did. It took a long time for me to convince myself that I’m not the most selfish person in the world for leaving my life behind for a few months, but I really needed to do it to reconnect with myself. I can’t be me and feel good about it without having an experience like this. Thank you Conor, for understanding me and still loving me. I am the luckiest girl.

Well, I am happy to be in Bangkok! I was here 7 years ago and swore one day I’d be back. It’s always been one of my very places. But I really can’t believe I’m actually back! Last time I was here I was volunteering in Bangkok for 6 weeks and was just a little 19 year old! AW! This experience will be different and I’m excited to see more of the country. Hope you all had a happy halloween and have good things coming to you this November! 

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A Mirissa sunset!

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Yoga with the rubber man!

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A Hikka dance party!

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Jungle Safari at Yala!

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Elephant friend!

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Trying to look the part of a surfer chick…