Thursday November 10th, 2011; 14:13
Location: Ireland and all over SE Asia
Why: To the travelers I've met on the road, this one's for you!
I have seen and experienced some amazing things so far on my little adventure. From climbing the stairs at Angkor Wat to diving in Koh Tao to sunrises at Jungle Beach. I have felt happiness that left a lightness in my heart. I have witnessed poverty that made me want to run back to my privileged life in Canada. I met an angel who sold me my protective glow-in-the-dark bracelet.
And I have also met some incredible people in my travels. These experiences sometimes are so intense, I am left emotionally shattered afterwards. The relationships I've built in these short voyages have been more authentic than with people I've known for years.
They become my friends frozen in travel time. Some, I am sure I will see again back in Canada (hello Dan and Elise! Hi Mark from Joyce station!). Some, I may visit in their home country (hello Cecco, Nicholas, Brian-Google baby!) Some whom I'll likely never see again. And some whom I shoulda joined on a bicycle tour around the globe (hi Edam Cheese!)
Nonetheless, of all the wonderful things I've done in the past few months, it has definitely been the people I've met that has been the most rewarding and greatest gift world travel has given me.
To honour my friends frozen in travel time, here is but a few of the many lives that have touched, moved and inspired me. In no particular order:
Rory+Laura: Friends of Jen and Hale; she's Canadian, he's Irish. She moved to Galway to be with him. Awwww.
Laura taking a photo at the Cliffs of Moher:
Amy: She's the tallest woman I've ever met at 6'2" and a Canucker studying medicine with Hale. She also placed 2nd in the local triathlon in May!
James Duffy: A 26 yr old, American expat who's been living in Galway for 11-13 years; going to school studying IT, so cute; talked over coffee/cake when we failed to find the veggies I needed to make dinner.
Judith: 25, from Netherlands; my first bunk mate at Nappark hostel near Khao San Road. We ate corn together and watched an episode of Departures when the guys go to Ayutthaya. Then she went there. And then I went there. Oh the seduction of this show.....
Anne: Swedish. She told me about the International Buddhist Center; met her on the street while asking for directions; had dinner with her before she went to Koh Tao. And later, I went to Koh Tao.
THAILAND: Koh Tao
Ed+Airan: Met on the bus and ferry to Koh Tao; Ed is British and the owner of Barricuda Restaurant; Airan is a Thai drag queen at the Queen's Cabaret next door; they have been dating for 4 years.
Kester: Gorgeous Scottish yoga owner and instructor of Shambhala Yoga; sadly he has a girlfriend; he is an amazing instructor with great energy. I giggled like a school girl around him.
Matthew Butler: 40something Aussie; photographer; met at yoga; sold his business to travel the world. He writes lovely stories - some which I may interpret with illustrations. Thanks for recommending Catfish and Mandala. He also wears lululemon!
Andreas: Gorgeous 23 yr old blond German living in England; in KT to get his dive masters; approached me on the beach and flirted big time; I would be robbing the cradle though…..
THAILAND: Chiang Mai
Lyndsay: This lanky 19 year old blondie from Belfast has the best trucker mouth this side of the world. Together, we meditated, sweated our tits off in Muay Thai training, and puked our guts out in Pai. Too bad we never found any weed.
This chic is all legs:
Chimene: If I was gay, I would totally mac this Chinese/Brazilian free spirit currently living in Taiwan. Oh yeah, she also gave me the cutest haircut at A Little Bird Guesthouse.
Tattoo on her foreward? That's hot. She's hot:
Nancy: How many Hondurans does one meet in their travels in SE Asia? One. Nancy. Passionate, impossibly beautiful. Loved the tattoo she got at Monkey Tattoo in Pai.
LAOS: Luang Prabang:
John: Together, John and I officially founded the title Professional Full-Time Traveler. We compared travel gear and watched the world go by on the slow boat to Laos from Thailand. We shared a moment observing graffiti in Chiang Mai where we originally met. I got lost in his sky blue eyes. He winked goodbye as I watched him depart for Vientiane until he disappeared into the horizon.
John's eyes are as blue as his shirt - incredible:
Erin, Nick, Andy: Along with John, this was my crew for the first part of Luang Prabang. Together, we splashed around at a waterfall, laughed historically at bowling, played Cheat whiled stoned and smoked a whole bunch on the hookah pipe at Utopia.
Adam Bell: Passing moments with Adam left me longing to cycle with him around the world. A fellow vegetarian and movie date nights at L'Entranger Tea n Books. We laughed over beer Lao comparing technical gear. And the best part, we kissed. Twice. Sadly, I don't have a picture of him.
LAOS: Vang Vieng:
Christian: This 18 year old kid is going places. An inspiring soul doing so much good in the world. I aspire to have the humanity he possesses.
Sarah: This brit had so much love and passion for the Lao Organic Farm where we volunteered. 100% admiration for her efforts.
Ashleigh: This crazy, free spirited girl from Australia is an enigma. Is she Samoan? Asian? Black? I still don't know. She crashed in my dorm room for a week without paying by sharing a bed with this guy name Joe (?). We met up again in Hoi An where she bought a motorbike and ended up driving to Saigon with NO SHOES. Love this chicky.
Arnau: We hung out together in this pretty city. Then shared some personal insights on an overnight journey to Nha Trang before I hopped off to find Jungle Beach. We later met up in Saigon and partied with some friends at Koko lounge. He is the best light traveler I've met so far - I am envious.
***There is a whole blog post dedicated to the peeps I met at Jungle Beach - by far my favourite place in Vietnam. This is where the idea of friends frozen in travel time originated. My heart aches at how much I miss Dan+Elise, Cecco, Marian+Tracy, Elie+Tatyana, Antony, Nico+Sebastian, Stephanie+Luke.
Magdalena: Through my friend Austin, I met this incredible Polish beauty. Her face and spirit bely her 39 years. Her hospitality and passion for life and travel is so inspiring that I will be heading back to Ubud. I can't wait to see her again.
***The posse at Jalan Jalan Guesthouse is currently blowing my brains with happiness. With vagabonds from everywhere including Germany, France, America and Canada, I have not been able to peal myself away from this place. Last night, Laureen (who is actually staying at Sama Sama Guesthouse) taught us Ninja Destruction.
I have GOT to teach this to the peeps back home. Here is Laureen being a superstar Ninja:
Roman: This shy German has been saying he'll "stay a couple more nights" for the past 3 weeks. He's been traveling for almost one year now and like me, has a no-plan itinerary. In his fast talking German accent, I find myself saying "say that again" to him a lot, lol.
Walking home after a few hours of Ninja Destruction:
Nicholas: This ridiculously cute British/French is sitting next to me again at the same cafe still applying for this internship online. I'm writing another blog the very next day! He's a good excuse in getting me to bang out words on my netbook. Bless him. I am in denial that he will be leaving for Singapore tomorrow. Will we ever see each other again? I may just have to give him a big sloppy kiss - if I can muster up the balls to do it. He's 22. Is this robbing the cradle?
A leftie. So hot!
Strolling back to Jalan Jalan after playing Ninja Destruction in the park. L-R: Nicholas, Martin, Lee:
I am half way through my globe wandering. And can't wait to meet many more amazing people on this wonderful journey. One Love.
For Part Two, check back in another six months.