Open Passports 2.0

It’s been over a year since I’ve last written. I guess sticking with that whole writing while traveling thing didn’t work out so well. The problem was that I was having way too much fun, running around all day snorkeling, sightseeing, and eating. Any bus or train rides were usually spent with a gaping jaw in total awe of the scenery. When I wasn’t busy with that, I was usually people watching and trying to understand how I got so lucky to fulfill so many dreams and see so many places, talk to strangers, drink beers from Bangkok to Bulgaria, and do it all with somebody that I really, really, really like! By the end of most days we would get back to our hotel/hostel/berth and just pass right out. It didn’t exactly leave a lot of time for writing.

And then came time for our stateside return. Somehow the year of travel flew by. Doesn’t time always go too quickly when you’re traveling? So when the time came, when we felt right about it, we decided to pack it up in Croatia and head home. There was one teeny tiny problem with this, and that was that we did not exactly have a home of which to speak. All we knew was that we wanted to move to Colorado. So there was that adventure – interviews, applications, jobs before apartments, staying with Jesse’s very sweet friends, whom I had never met (and we later found out it was our hostess’ birthday!). Finally, we found a place and settled in. I got a job and, less than a month later, Jesse was also employed. Unfortunately, less than two months later I was laid off.  Ahhh, job security. I’m happy to report I started my new job this week.

Aside from my minor employment glitch, we love living in Colorado. There is skiing, biking, hiking, sailing, and SUN! That’s right, three hundred glorious days of sunshine. There are great restaurants and breweries galore. But settling into all this domesticity has made me a little travel sick (is that a thing? It’s a thing!). But alas, I have the entire state of Colorado to explore, friends and family all over the country, and a lot of reminiscing about our most recent adventures to do! I’m planning to put all of our adventures, new and old, right here. Hopefully, that will help when I feel like hopping a plane back to Thailand when it’s twenty degrees!

Below are some of our favorite 2012 travel highlights. I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

 

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Hercig Novi, Montenegro

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Sofia, Bulgaria

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Kas, Turkey

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Istanbul, Turkey

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Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Singapore

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Coron City, Busuanga, Philippines

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Yatai Restaurants in Fukuoka, Japan

30 Days of Indie Travel: Day 8

I recently decided to take part in a 30 day travel writing project organized and hosted by BootsnAll; it sounds pretty challenging, but also exciting!  You can read more about the project here.

Travel and learning go hand in hand. Travel teaches us not only about the world and the people in it, but also more about ourselves and our own ideas and values. What has travel taught you this year?

This year travel taught me something that I theoretically already knew, but needed a serious reminder.  Choose what is important in life.  It’s short.  And it’s precious.  It’s a big, big world out there with a lot of opportunity; choose a life where you can enjoy it.  It’s really scary and it’s incredibly hard to do.  But anyone can do it.  And it’s the most important choice I could have made.

Hanging Wish Lanterns

After graduating from law school, moving to Korea to teach English and save money for a round the world trip (a two year committment) probably seemed especially insane to most people.  I’m sure my husband, who left a Fortune 100 company with great career opportunities right around the corner, seemed reckless to his coworkers.  We certainly questioned our own sanity a few times, even all but decided not to come to Korea at one point.  But we did.  And it was worth it.  I have free time to think about what I want next, to work for it, and achieve it.  He has time to put into his thesis and research what he’s passionate about.  And allthewhile we get to see the world, experience new cutures, languages and food.

View of Mt. Everest at the Rongphu Monastary, Tibet

Travel has taught me that downtown apartments and cars can wait.  That being unhappy in a career or a lifestyle or place isn’t worth it, but it can be navigated around, albeit not always easily.  Travel taught me that there is a choice. Like I said before, it’s scary.  I could fall on my face.  Jobless.  But I have the satisfaction of trying, and some good pictures.

Kimchi Pots

So thank you travel, for being so alluring that I did leave.  And thank you for teaching me that it was worth it.

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Day 4

I recently decided to take part in a 30 day travel writing project organized and hosted by BootsnAll; it sounds pretty challenging, but also exciting!  You can read more about the project here.

Everyone makes mistakes. We forget to ask for Coke without ice in Mexico and spend the rest of the trip in the bathroom. Or we arrive at the airport for a 7pm flight only to realize the flight left at 7am. Tell us the story of your worst travel mistake.

I’m sure I’ve made a million travel mistakes. I’ve made hand gestures in countries where such said gesture was incredibly offensive, committed cultural faux pas using the wrong utensils, lifting my bowl off of the table, and failing to notice the empty drinks of elders. I’ve missed flights, been lost in various cities, and accidently said very offensive things simply by using the wrong inflection in my pronunciation. But my worst travel mistakes usually involve eating something I know I shouldn’t and being chained to the bathroom for days afterward.

My worst experience took place in Sanya on Hainan Island, China. It was the Lunar New Year and we were having a little too much of a good time. Jesse and I had made some new friends at our hostel and together we all trekked down to the beach to watch the fireworks, light lanterns, and enjoy the festivities. Of course, this all involved a few drinks, some swimming in the ocean, fireworks of our own, and a pretty late night. Heading back to our hostel in the late night hours, I spotted a street food cart. After an evening of running around on the beach, I was hungry. As we grew closer I could smell the delicious dumplings. No one else was interested, all opting for a bowl of soup from a high turnover restaurant nearby. I paid the lonely street vendor for my dumplings and thoroughly enjoyed the meaty, flavor with the dark vinegar dipping sauce.

The beautiful beach many hours before my bad decision...

It was only a few hours later that I regretted my decision. Dead asleep, I awoke in a cold sweat, stomach churning, throat burning. Every muscle in my body felt like Jell-O. My head throbbed while waves of hot and then cold swept over my body. Food poisoning. I did my best to run for the bathroom. I made it to the sink. Thank God we sprang for the private bathroom at the hostel!

In my infinite wisdom, my drink of choice the previous evening was red wine. As I laid on the cool tiled floor of the bathroom wondering if I was dying, I promised myself that I would never, ever, in a million years make the same mistake again. No more street food at 1 a.m. from a slowly trafficked food stall for this traveler.

Getting an early start on celebrating...sans parent supervision.

But these types of promises to oneself tend to be short lived. And I’ve since had many nights out with friends in New York, Denver, Boston, Russia and Paris which have all inevitably lead to a gyro, sausage, hot dog, or some other variety of “street meat.” All of it was delicious and none has resulted in the dramatic end which my China meal did. Of course, now I do make sure to go to the busiest stall I see.

 

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Day 3

I recently decided to take part in a 30 day travel writing project organized and hosted by BootsnAll; it sounds pretty challenging, but also exciting!  You can read more about the project here.

Music and travel memories often go hand in hand. A song can inspire our explorations, or it can take us back to a specific place and time. Tell us about your travel playlist and what it means to you.

Oh, travel and music.  In my book it really doesn’t get much better than riding a train or a bus through a foreign country, gazing out the window with your favorite song playing on your iPod.  Or having a great meal and a beer in some foreign place when all of the sudden “the best song ever” comes over the speakers.  Even more, I love listening to music and imagining all the places that I want to see, things to do there, and food to eat.

Currently on my travel playlist:

  • Wonderwall, Oasis (Best. Song. Ever.)
  • Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac
  • Beautiful Day, U2
  • Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, U2
  • It’s My Life, Bon Jovi
  • Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey
  • Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac
  • Young Forever, Jay-Z Ft: Mr. Hudson
  • Rocketeer, Far East Movement
  • Good Life, One Republic
  • What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

One more thing I love about travel is the music that you discover while traveling.  Whether it’s the high pitched, glass shattering, “singing” I kept hearing in Shanghai, the Tibetan pop song that our Everest Base Camp driver played incessantly (which we all secretly loved), or the melodic call to prayer that I so look forward to hearing next year, you know that you’re somewhere else, somewhere foreign, when you hear it.

Engine problems from overplaying Tibetan pop music perhaps?

To me, music only enhances travel, be it a song I love that slows me down to daydream of unknown places, or a sound so different from anything that I have ever known that it snaps me into the reality that I really am somewhere I’ve never been before.

 

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Day 1

I recently decided to take part in a 30 day travel writing project organized and hosted by BootsnAll; it sounds pretty challenging, but also exciting!  You can read more about the project here.

Day 1: What were your travel goals last year? Did you accomplish them? What travel goals do you hope to accomplish this year?

2010/2011 marked my last year of law school-not exactly the best time for travel, but I still had places I wanted to see.  I attended school in Western Massachusetts and lived in Northwest Connecticut, which is a pretty central area to some great spots.  My travel goals last year included about a million places.  I wanted to see the Christmas tree in NYC (to keep up a three year streak), tour Montreal, Quebec in the winter, visit Boston (also known as my favorite city) as many times as possible, hike Acadia National Park, see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, ski my home state of Vermont, make it to a rodeo in Montana, and finally, go see what all those politicians really do down in Washington, D.C.

New Years Day 2011: J's Oysters in Maine

 

Redsox/Yankees at Fenway (of course the Sox won!)

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Of course, that is a few too many places to visit when you throw in school, work, moving across the country, and then the other side of the world, so I didn’t make them all, but I was able to see quite a few.  I also travelled to Miami to run a half marathon and was the lucky beneficiary of a cancelled flight thanks to of one of many Nor’easters last year.  We stayed in Florida for an extra four days and even made it down to the Keys.  Best of all it was travel with some great friends!

Stayed at the Colony on South Beach!

 

Beers in Key West

I didn’t make it to Pennsylvania, D.C., or Montreal, but the best thing about not meeting your travel goals is that it gives you a goal for a later time!

I love NYC at Christmas!!

 

Exceeding my travel goals again-we visited NYC on the 4th of July with Jesse's brother and his wife!

I’m now living in the Republic of Korea and already have so many places that I want to see here: Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Seoraksan National Park, sleep in a temple, tour the Demilitarized Zone, etc., etc., etc.!  Outside of Korea, my husband and I are planning to travel to Japan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia this year.  And finally, my 2012/2013 travel dreams are worldwide including the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia.  I cannot wait!!

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