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.
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.
There’s nothing like an Asian night bus to make you think of your own mortality,
The stained curtains swing side to side in tune to the curves as we go around again.
I have The xx on repeat, thinking about all of life’s little defeats and how I got here.
The driver is going 80 on a hairpin turn, the wheels hugging the road just slightly so,
Will this be the last thing I see before I go?
I don’t know where this year has gone already, but I am left gaping every time I look at a calendar and realize it’s already May. May, people! That’s the fifth month (my birthday month, woot woot!), as in, 2017 is already almost half over.
In other words, I need to get my bum into gear. I had so many plans for this blog in 2017 and I’ve only incorporated a few of them so far. I’m ready to throw myself completely into my passions and not look back.
As I mentioned recently on here, I want the rest of this year to be a year to myself. And no, I’m not meaning I want to go be an anti-social hermit and have no friends. I mean I want to focus more on what I want this year, and not make compromises in my life to make someone else happy.
It started raining at sunset tonight.
I looked up at the sky and it brought me back to that night. There were crashing waves and mojitos. The rain was coming down in buckets, we had to shout to hear each other over the noise.
If you were here, we would look up at the rain falling down on our faces and laugh at the perfect way in which it paralleled a 90s romantic comedy.
We would pause as we took our eyes away from the oncoming storm to notice the graceful way the falling sun framed our faces, our glances lingering a second too long.
I visited Koh Chang twice over the course of a couple of months and I easily found the draw of this “elephant island”. With its hilly jungles, uncrowded beaches, and the feeling that you’ve reached one of the less touristy spots in Thailand, there is a lot to love about Koh Chang.
I never thought I’d be a long-term island girl, where I’d actually enjoy living on islands for more than a month or two. I love being busy, living in vibrant cities, going to live gigs, finding new architecture, cafes, and street art down alleyways.
But guys, I have to admit, I’m kind of addicted to island life now. And I would say that Koh Chang was the island that started that addiction.
And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers
And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.
-Veronica A. Shoffstall
Hello friends and welcome to my brand new monthly wrap-up series! In an effort to stay relevant and keep you informed on my current travels (since this blog is usually a month or two behind on where I actually am), I’ve decided to start writing personal wrap-up posts.
So, without further delay, this is what I got up to in January!
Myanmar is still a mysterious and constantly changing spot in Southeast Asia. This is what you should know about the country in 2017!
I received confirmation for my Myanmar e-visa, and booked my flights to the country soon after from a sweaty, windowless hotel room in Hong Kong. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I’m going to be honest and say that Myanmar is the most challenging country I’ve traveled to as of yet, but that doesn’t mean that it still wasn’t all kinds of awesome.
Myanmar was a unique destination in a sea of backpacker trails and countries that have been overrun by tourism time and again. Myanmar was still touristy in areas, but it also offered a glimpse at traditional Burmese culture and untouched scenery that I haven’t witnessed in quite awhile.
Taiwan was exactly what I needed after fast-paced Hong Kong. It was also a much needed relief on my budget. Although Taiwan is definitely not the cheapest destination in Asia, it was a hell of a lot cheaper than Hong Kong. I adored the good humored and playful nature of Taiwanese culture, and the friendliness that I came across time and again.
Besides a couple of rogue bus drivers who refused to let us off because they were late for the rest of their route (um, what?), I had very few negative experiences in the country. In fact, Taiwan is right up there with Vietnam as one of my favorite countries in Asia thus far.