“I know these will all be stories someday, and our pictures will become old photographs…But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening…This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.” // Stephen Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower)
It has been awhile since I’ve written a walkabout post. They always seem to come when I’m at a crossroads in my life, when there has been a big change, or when I’m simply reflecting more on things than I already do.
Well, I’ve been doing a lot of walking around Heraklion recently, my current home base for the summer, and I’ve had plenty of time to reflect during my coastal sunset strolls home – mainly about where I am in life, love, and travel.
“Some folks call her a runaway. A failure in the race. But she knows where her ticket takes her. She will find her place in the sun.” // Tracy Chapman
I know I throw the word “love” around a lot on here, but I have to admit I fall in love with places easily. There’s something about the concept of the foreign that has always intrigued and excited me.
I’ve already been in Greece for 19 days, which baffles me. It feels like I just arrived the other day. Time has flown by already, and I know it will continue to do so for the rest of the summer.
And time is flying because I’m happy. Like, head-over-heels in love happy with where I’ve decided to base myself right now.
“‘Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.” // Emma Morley (Excerpt from One Day)
When I stepped on that flight to Hong Kong last October, I had no idea how much my life would change in the course of eight months.
June signified the halfway point of 2017, and made me realize just how much I still want to accomplish before the end of this year. There’s a lot (as per usual)!
It was weird thinking about where I was at this time last year. I was hammock camping around the States, anxious to get to Asia in October, and spent a lot of time with my family.
When you think of Vietnam, you probably think of moody landscapes, thick jungles, and the hectic nature of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Very rarely do people think of tropical islands when considering a trip to Vietnam.
There are actually quite a few islands that tend to be less touristy than the mainland, because, well, not that many people know about them. I finally had my own tropical Vietnamese island experience this year on Phú Quốc.
When I was planning my first trip to Asia in 2013, the countries that I was most looking forward to seeing were Thailand and Indonesia. I thought for sure Bali and Thailand as a whole were going to be my favorite spots from my two months of travels.
In reality, they ended up being the biggest disappointments from that trip.
May was the month I turned 27! I started the month in Thailand and ended it in Laos, my 28th country. And let me just say, I’m glad my country count is keeping ahead of my age, I think that’s a good sign.
This month included meeting up with one of my close friends, Pascale, who I met in Thailand a couple of months ago. May was also a month of readjusting to another new Asian culture, and finally discovering Laos for the first time, a country I’ve been wanting to see for years.
This is where I went and what I got up to in May.
The Grand Canyon was always one of those spots that I wanted to see in the US. I mean, it’s huge. It takes multiple hours to drive from one side of the Canyon to the other. Your brain can’t register the size of it because it seems to go on forever.
Jaw-dropping is one way to describe it. I was mesmerized as soon as I went to the first lookout. I stood there for ages, trying to take it all in, noticing the heavy fog that would roll in within a few minutes and dissipate just as quickly.
It’s my 27th birthday in two days!
To celebrate I’m heading down to Si Phan Don in Laos, also known as the 4,000 Islands. As many of you know, I spend every birthday of my 20s in a different city. My 21st was in San Diego, my 22nd in Las Vegas, my 23rd in Melbourne, my 24th in Wellington, my 25th in Veneta, my 26th in Chicago, and now my 27th will be in Si Phan Don!
I also wanted to celebrate by sharing 27 things I’ve learned from almost three decades on this planet. I mean, you get wiser with age, right? Well, let’s hope so!
My 20s thus far have been all about that learning curve of life. When I look back on who I was in my early 20s, circa 2011, it almost feels like another person. Then again, to my core, I’m still me.
Pink and purple.
If I could describe Laos in colors, it would be pink and purple. There’s this soft haze of pastels that often falls over the country, and it’s easy to see why they call this the romantic traveler’s paradise.
The outline of the distant mountains, the soothing flow of the river, the soft swaying jungle always close by as you walk home from another night of paper lanterns, solo street guitar players, and red brick sidewalks.
This is Laos, a country I’ve been wanting to visit since I first came to Southeast Asia in 2013. I missed out on seeing the country back then, but I knew I didn’t want that to be the case this time I was in Asia.