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travel! i'm doing the dang thing!

Updated: May 9

And it feels sooo good.

Reflecting on my backpacking planning trip thread, I’m so in love with the journey to get me where I am now. Which, by the way, is on a Thai island called Koh Phangan, known both as a party island for backpackers and as a crystal island for spiritual seekers.

I’m thinking about how I can write this post in a way that illustrates the rush of joy and adventure that has flowed since Bali, my first destination. There’s this rich breadth of gratitude that arises when I reflect on the past three months.

In Bali, I bathed with elephants, learned to surf, silversmith-ed a ring, hiked an active volcano, mingled with monkeys, snorkeled for the first time ever, and fell deeply in love with the ocean.

I explored other islands in Indonesia on a four-day sailing trip, sleeping side by side with 40 other travelers on thin foam mats. We snorkeled alongside whale sharks, docked at a pink beach, suffered terrible seasickness, and got way too close to the largest lizards on earth, the Komodo Dragons.

My oceanic love affair inspired me to become a trained scuba diver on Gili Trawangan, a small island known for partying and diving. I feel so at ease being 18 meters underwater, breathing air from a tank, and floating alongside fishies and sharks and turtles and one time an octopus! It’s meditative and otherworldly and I’m slightly convinced there’s Atlantian in my lineage. I’ve been so inspired in fact, that I’ve started writing a fictional short story about telepathic sea animals and self-discovery. Stay tuned.

I returned to Bali again, specifically to Ubud to heal my gut and do yoga. Then, a quick stop in Malaysia where high-school me’s dreams came true and I dyed my hair pink! Since the pink, I’ve also been blonde and purple-haired and have found so much fun playing with my personal expression this way. Like a little blossoming flower or a magical mermaid fairy. It’s been cool feeling so free – and what a refreshing feeling that is.

After Malaysia, off to Thailand, where I spent three nights living aboard the river in Bangkok. My Bangkok highlights were paroozing down Khaosan Road at midnight and getting lost in Iconsiam, the city’s newest and coolest mall. Never had I ever seen such an intense melting pot of chaos that was Khaosan Road. People of all classes, all races, and all curiosities crowded this one street to club crawl and street eat. Carcasses of crocodiles and insects were sold as snacks next to weed stands, laughing gas, and mango sticky rice. Somewhere here I’m convinced there’s a door to the underworld because hell has surely broken loose.

And if Khaosan is hell’s aboveground party hangout, then Iconsiam is like rich people’s waiting room to heaven. Eight floors of luxurious money-spending, an intoxicating, mesmerizing indoor food market, and a gorgeous, glittering skyline view at the rooftop restaurants. Compared to the crown jewel that is Iconsiam, Khaosan is Bangkok’s dirty armpit. But this is Bangkok for you: a paradoxical, iconic city. You either love it or you hate it.

I’m looking forward to being back in Bangkok soon, but not because it’s Bangkok. My dad is coming to visit for 10 days over his birthday! I am almost crying as I write this, thinking how it will be to get a big bear hug from him. Together we will hop around the north and south of Thailand, hiking, diving, and feasting.

In the meantime, I am enjoying the rest of my time on Koh Phangan, where I have been for the past month and a half. Here I trained to become a certified yoga instructor and can now teach yoga anywhere in the world. This opens up new opportunities for travel too, as I can use this skill as a work exchange for free accommodation, or make some cash while traveling.

Koh Phangan has been a magical experience. And I mean magical in the most mundane sense – the sense of magic that you feel when life unfolds beautifully, in the sense of that cosmic connection of new friendships (#KohPhanGang), in the sense of self-mastery and deep-rooted healing. Being so far away from home, I have never felt this at home in myself. For years I have been cultivating a sense of trust in my body, my intuition, and my journey. But only in coming to this island have I felt my own strength and solidity in this practice (who knows, maybe it’s that crystal island phenomenon).

Parallel to my travel journey has been my health journey. If you’d like you can read about that in my post 'Discovering how to Eat in Indonesia with Ten Thousand Allergies and One Million Food Cravings.' Here, I talk about how I’ve been adjusting my diet after my six-month-long function medicine health program. Besides my diet, it’s quite possible that the last alcoholic beverage of my life was on the rooftop of Iconsiam. I feel so dang good without alcohol and can have so much dang fun. From all the meditation and yoga, I feel in tune with my nervous system and have a sense of deep mental clarity. Life is good.

I have, however, had two minor motorbike accidents and my parents, recalling my troubled bike-riding past, have tried to convince me that maybe operating two-wheeled vehicles is not for me. Maybe they’re right, but for now, catch me in KPG* on my nifty white and orange scooter going slow enough to cause traffic!

(*my cute slang for Koh Phangan)

I’m still unsure what happens after my dad returns home to Arizona. I think I’m going to go to the Philippines, explore my other motherland and connect to those roots. Dive. Teach yoga. Write.

Flow. Adventure. Surrender.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned! Sending love <3

lastly, enjoy this video of me attempting to defend my territory against mango-stealing monkeys:

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