^o^ Korea!

tl;dr – (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ I LOVED SEOUL!!! Now I’m in Taiwan for 3 weeks. 

I did not want to leave Seoul this morning.

It was raining and I had this feeling of dread as I walked through the terminal to my gate. The kimchi withdrawals were already beginning to kick in.

The overwhelming sadness was not helped by the fact that I had just spent the night sleeping in the airport on a bench for just 4 hours.

While I had intended on rounding out my Korea trip the same way it began (lounging in the Incheon Airport spa), things did not pan out the way I’d hoped.

I got to the spa at midnight and the place was fully booked. The train back to the city had already stopped running for the night, so I trudged through the airport until I found a decently cushioned row of chairs to curl up on.

At 5 am, I woke up to the shrieking sound of packaging tape being wrapped around luggage. A huge group travelers chatted loudly about whatever there is to chat about at 5 am. I heaved my backpack on and checked into my Taipei flight.

I hadn’t expected to love Korea, and I definitely didn’t expect that I was going to LoOooOooooOooooOooOoove Seoul. It actually hurt to pass through immigration.

It didn’t matter whether I was eating tteokbokki alone at a restaurant or drinking soju with new friends, I loved nearly every moment of my time in Korea.

The city is so livable and interesting. The food is weird and incredible. The public transportation is thorough and convenient — even if I did manage to mess up every time I took it.

My favorite running path along the Han River.

Speaking of getting lost, I botched the one big sightseeing adventure I attempted in Korea. Getting to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea, was a true nightmare.

For those headed wanting to visit the DMZ themselves, here’s a step by step guide to doing it wrong:

Step one Get lost at Seoul’s main train station. Literally run around the massive station trying to catch a 9:20 am train. Ask for help. Get conflicting information from every employee. Do this for one hour.

Step two – On the verge of crying, finally get on the right train to Munsan Station. After about an hour of travel, get off the train at Munsan and walk to the bus stop. Twenty minutes later,  get on a bus to Imjingang Station.

Step three – Get off the bus at the wrong stop. Note: The key to this step is to not know you are at the wrong stop. 

Step four – Walk around the ghost town of a stop and feel like giving up. Try to find a ticket booth you saw on some travel blog. Stare at the buildings and notice that nothing is written in English. Feel like a failure.

Step five – Open up Google maps, tell yourself that you won’t wasted 4 hours of your life only to give up on your DMZ dreams now. Start walking along the highway toward Imjingang Station. Don’t cry.

Step six – Hail the taxi that comes along, as though by magic. Show him your Google Map and understand exactly zero of his Korean. Sit back and revel in the air conditioning.

Step seven – Get dropped off at the wrong place. (In lieu of steps 6 & 7, maybe just light your money on fire instead. Same result.)

Step eight – Seek out help from a kind Korean man working at a kiosk. Sort of understand him and start walking down the highway again.

DMZ Time

Step nine – MAKE IT TO THE DMZ PARKING LOT!!!! Be weirded out by the amusement park blasting Justin Bieber music. Find the ticket booth and pay for a tour of the DMZ.

Step ten – Get on a tour bus. Realize you’ve just committed to a 3 hour tour. Feel overwhelmed.

Tunnel to North Korea - not for the claustrophobic.

Step eleven – Look with your very own eyes at the southernmost part of North Korea. Walk through tunnels that the North Koreans built to try to infiltrate after the Korean war. Feel lucky to be there, but feel exhausted.

Step twelve – Take one bus and two trains back to Seoul. Mess up twice.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

So visiting Korea wasn’t a piece of cake, but it was a dream – a dream I am sad to wake up from. I could honestly see myself living in Seoul, getting lost on the subway every day and consoling myself with Korean desserts.

Taro shaved ice with boba, because dreams *do* come true.
Taro shaved ice with boba, because dreams *do* come true.

But that chapter of this trip is over. It’s time to enjoy Taiwan, even if it has a hard act to follow.

##

Latest Stories:

Viet Mom

tl;dr – My mom came to Asia and we went to Vietnam. Now I’m alone in Korea. 

wefew

Last week in Hoi An, a 52-year-old woman named Tina playfully slapped my cheeks and called me a baby.

She had wrangled my mom and I into her shop to remove our unwanted peach fuzz (lady facial hair), and now she was using the threading technique to rip the fine follicles out of my jowls. I was wincing and maybe almost crying. It hurt, a lot.

When she finished torturing me, she slathered on some face cream said to make the hair “never come back again.” 

A staple of the trip, cà phê nâu đá, Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk.
A staple of the trip, cà phê nâu đá, Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk. 

She had quoted us 100,000 Vietnamese Dong (the currency in Vietnam, about $4.50 US) for the painful service, and in the end demanded 800,000 for me, 600,000 for my mom. The only thing I hate more than peach fuzz is getting hustled.

I saw it coming but didn’t think we’d get charged 8x more (I didn’t think I had so much facial hair either). It wasn’t the first time I’ve been hustled, and it sure as hell won’t be the last! We paid Tina and took our waxy, smooth faces back into the insane Hoi An heat.

The face cream she applied ended up giving a bad red, raised, rash that lasted nearly a week. Also, the hair is coming back already.

Travel savvy mother in Hanoi at the One Pillar Pagoda.
Travel savvy mother in Hanoi at the One Pillar Pagoda.

Scams aside, my mom and I had a great trip in Vietnam for about a week and a half, splitting our time between Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Hoi An. The country is rich with history, good food, addictive coffee.

My mom fought jet lag well and was always more energetic than me to go out and see the sights, even though it was almost 100 degrees every day with 80% humidity.

We were up every morning to go jog around Hoàn Kiếm Lake, out and about every afternoon trying not to get hit by scooters in the crazy traffic.

Misty, but still hot AF, mornings around Hoàn Kiếm Lake.
Misty, but still hot AF, mornings around Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

One of the best parts of the trip was our overnight boat excursion to Ha Long Bay. It’s just as beautiful as the Google Images make it out to be.

Limestone cliffs at Ha Long Bay.
Limestone cliffs at Ha Long Bay.

We swam, hiked, sweat, and took 40,000 pictures over the two-day experience. The views were alone were worth the 8 hours (round trip) in a bus to get there.

Mai Tai with a view.
Mai Tai with a view.

I also got very lucky in Vietnam, not once, but three times. On our first night there, we’re sitting in a randomly chosen restaurant when who walks in the door? OH I DON’T KNOW, JUST RATATAT!!!! 

If you read the last blog post, you may remember that I lost my voice for four days screaming at their show in Bangkok recently. And here are Mike Stroud and Evan Mast in the same restaurant in Hanoi. Stars, they’re just like us!

I had a fangirl panic moment and couldn’t decide whether or not to play it cool, or ask for a photo, or get up and run into their arms. I ended up blurting out some words to them as they walked by our table, saying that I had seen them in Bangkok and now here we all are, or something mediocre.

The real MPV of the conversation was my mom, who made them laugh. They walked upstairs and ate dinner and I was in shock for another few hours.

Lucky situation number two. Still in shock after the whole Ratatat thing, I tell my mom that Bourdain is also in Hanoi that night (so is President Obama, nbd), so we go to his hotel to do some light stalking at the bar. While getting out of the taxi, I thought I slipped my phone into my purse, but it fell instead to the floor, under the seat.

The beautiful Hanoi opera house.
The beautiful Hanoi opera house.

I realized this later, of course. Once we get to the Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, I go to pull out my phone a few minutes after we’ve been dropped off and realize it is missing. The panic! I run outside of the hotel to see if the taxi driver is still there, maybe waiting for another customer, but he’s gone.

The hotel staff see how distressed I am and ask what’s wrong. I tell them I left my phone in the taxi, and three of them take off running in different directions. I’ve accepted the fact that it’s gone at this point, because Hanoi traffic is insane and there’s no way they’re going to find him.

A few moments later, one of the hotel employees is walking down the street toward me, and he’s not alone. He’s with the taxi driver! He said that he had remembered the license plate number from when we were dropped off, “it’s my job.” The cab driver had gone around the corner where taxis wait for customers.

Completely unrelated photo of a guy transporting chickens in Hoi An.
Completely unrelated photo of a guy transporting chickens in Hoi An.

I was totally stunned for the second time in one night. Also so happy that I could have kissed the guy. I said thank you about 80 times and then 30 more times.

Lucky moment number three: We flew from Danang to Hanoi and then took a cab into the city (it’s a 45 minute ride.) Once we’re checking into the Hotel de L’Opera Hanoi, I realize that I left a small bag that I keep in my larger bag on the plane. Inside that small bag? My wallet with my credit cards, cash, debit card, driver’s license, etc.

I wanted to die. HOW AM I ALLOWED TO BE AN ADULT. 

But really, why???
But really, why???

I told the concierge at our hotel and asked if he could call the airlines, the numbers I had tried weren’t working and most of the information was in Vietnamese. He took over for me, and after about 7 calls he told me that they had FOUND THE BAG!!! 

The hotel arranged a taxi driver to take us back to the airport and call the right people once we arrived. He did, and we got the bag back fully intact. I gave the concierge a gift and a letter thanking him in addition to the barrage of verbal thank yous.

The moral of the story: everyone in Vietnam is my hero and I (per usual) need to be more mindful.

Beach day in Hoi An, a city where I didn't lose anything, thank god.
Beach day in Hoi An, a city where I didn’t lose anything, thank god.

My mom and I left Vietnam on the same day, but many hours apart. Her flight took off at 11, and mine at 1:45 AM (technically the next day, but you get it).

I said goodbye to her (knowing that I’ll see her again in about a month, which is nice) and spent the day doing some work, killing time at the hotel until it was time to head to the airport.

Last lunch in Hanoi.
Last lunch in Hanoi.

I left Vietnam humbled, tired, and bloated (there had been a LOT of eating in the past week). Once my flight landed at Incheon International Airport, I didn’t have the energy to take the train into the city. Instead, I paid $12 to use the airport’s Korean spa.

Best spent $12 of my life! I soaked in hot tubs, cold pools, sweat out the exhaustion in the sauna and steam room, then slept for 4 hours on a thin cushion in the napping room.

I finally left the airport and made it to the heart of Seoul. I put my stuff down at the traditional Korean guesthouse I’m staying at, and started walking around the city. I have been here once before, but only for a 10 hour layover.

Korean pancakes that I should have eaten, but didn't.
Korean pancakes that I should have eaten, but didn’t.

This place is nuts and reminds me a lot of Tokyo. I think I’m going to like it here, despite feeling very lost already.

Home!
Seoul home!

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Latest stories: 

Malaysia/Singapore/Thailand/Laos

TL;DR – After hopping around, I’m back in Bangkok and running out of money. 

Well my hair seems to be falling out. Maybe it’s because I spent the past few days in Laos washing my hair with bar soap (thanks, shampoo-less guesthouse!) or maybe it’s because I’m stressing out about my financial situation. The money’s low, my dudes!

No shock there, although it’s still somehow a shock. In my last post, I talked about hemorrhaging money. Instead of turning that around, I decided to not do that and keep on balling out of control. Going to Malaysia and Singapore did not help, and it didn’t help to go on a spontaneous trip to Laos either. Still happy to have those experiences, I guess?

Allegedly I get paid on the 20th, so all should be well (for a while).

One of many delicious street eats in Penang, Malaysia: Char kway teow.
One of many delicious street eats in Penang, Malaysia: Char kway teow.

So a recap of what’s happened in this past month here in Southeast Asia:

Malaysia

Seeing Tame Impala in Kuala Lumpur was AMAZING. I’ve never been to a concert where so many people were diehard fans before. Everyone was screaming all of the lyrics, jumping and dancing like maniacs. Unreal. After a week in KL, I took the train to Penang where the joys of street food eating were only slightly lessened by the painful, painful heat.

Cutie doorways of Penang.
Cutie doorways of Penang.

Singapore

Singapore was a completely different ballgame. I loved how clean and modern it was, but it was way too expensive for a person of my means. Fortunately, a friend’s family opened up their home to me, even going so far as to cook me delicious Indian meals daily. I will be forever grateful for their kindness! I worked on some stories for Munchies and got the F out of the city as fast as possible.

Big old modern Singapore.
Big ol’ modern Singapore.

Bangkok 

I moved into a little apartment in Bangkok for the month of May and love it. I seem to be an oddity in my new neighborhood. Not many foreigners, in these parts, so when I walk down the road, I’ll hear people say “Farang! Farang!”(foreigner) then turn to stare at me. At first it was a little off-putting, but now we have a neighborhood camaraderie going on. Everyone says hello, people ask me where I’m going, try to speak Thai with me. I wish I was staying here longer, it’s a fun community.

The happenings of my temporary Bangkok neighborhood.
The happenings of my temporary Bangkok neighborhood.

I got back from Singapore just in time for RATATAT TO PLAY IN BANGKOK. Even though Ratatat is one of my favorite bands, I didn’t realize how excited I was for the show until we arrived at RCA Live.

We waltzed up to the front row, no one put up a fight. In fact, there was a huge space in the front, so huge that we wondered if people were allowed to stand there. It turns out, we WERE allowed to stand there, and we did! Ratatat warmed up in front of us, and I started losing my mind. RATATAT IS STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, WARMING UP FOR A SHOW. 

Then the show started, and I lost whatever part of my mind was left.

Pregaming for Ratatat with Korean fried chicken, pizza, and Thai beers.

I’ve never had such a weird reaction to a concert. Because Ratatat doesn’t have any lyrics to their songs, and because I was SO SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED, I just started screaming. Lunatic fan screaming. “What is wrong with this person?” screaming. The rest of the crowd seemed to be pretty calm, perhaps wondering what the actual F was happening to the farang in the front row.

WELL HI, MIKE STROUD. YOU'RE JUST STANDING RIGHT THERE, HUH???
WELL HI, MIKE STROUD. YOU’RE JUST STANDING RIGHT THERE, HUH???

After the show, as though it was the most normal thing in the world, I MET RATATAT AND DIED. Just had a normal conversation like no big deal. I don’t even remember most of what we talked about because of the adrenaline. I do remember Evan Mast mentioning going to a friend’s wedding in Sicily.

I lost my voice from all of the wild screaming and could barely speak for the next four days.

In between story writing and Ratatat fawning, I’ve been loving my newly-minted GuavaPass subscription. It’s like ClassPass in the US, but for Asia and Dubai. It’s allowed me to get into Muay Thai, get back into yoga, kill myself at kettle bell classes. The app is a life saver. There’s no way I’m working out outside in this heat, and I rarely walk anywhere. Without GuavaPass, I’d be a sweaty, sedentary blob.

Yoga with a view, thanks GuavaPass!
Yoga with a view, thanks GuavaPass!

Laos

I’m still not sure if Laos was real. What I saw in Luang Prabang was unbelievable. It’s an hour flight from Bangkok, but you feel like you’re stepping back decades. No skyscrapers, just lush scenery and a slower pace of life. The Kuang Si Falls are stunning. No complaints when it came to Laotian food either.

Is this real? Laos, are you a dream?
Is this real? Laos, are you a dream?

I would have loved to stay in Luang Prabang for weeks (despite the struggling WiFi situation). But Bangkok was calling, and, as mentioned before, the money was/is running low. I needed to get back to a more productive routine.

Back in Bangkok

Only one week left here in Bangkok. I happen to be leaving the week that the “hot season” is finally breaking. The heat wave is over, and rainy season is kicking off. It’s been HISTORICALLY SCORCHING since I got here, every day in April hit at least 100 degrees. But I lived to tell the tale!

Anyway, now it’s time (but really…) to be productive and get some more invoices going. Freelance writing is like a marathon, and I keep taking excessive water breaks.

Spicy AF Thai street food, bountifully available in my neighborhood.

On Monday, I’ll be meeting my traveler extraordinaire mother in Vietnam for a week of fun in the sun (protected by layers and layers of sunscreen). Once we part ways, I’ll be headed to Korea and Taiwan.

I booked a flight back to the United States, and I booked it on the Fourth of July. If that isn’t patriotism, I don’t know what is.

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Latest Stories:

Sleepless in Malaysia

TL;DR – I’m in Malaysia feeling productive and sometimes lost. 

Moving slowly on this first morning in Malaysia after a night of tossing and turning. Poor sleeping aside, it’s fun and challenging to be in a new city again.

I flew from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur yesterday to come see Tame Impala play on Saturday. Walked around KL’s Chinatown and found a popular street food spot for dinner. Ate durian ice cream. All very standard tourist stuff for day one, nothing groundbreaking. Just trying to figure out what KL is all about. 

Jalan Alor happenings in Kuala Lumpur.
Jalan Alor night happenings in Kuala Lumpur.

I’ve been back in Asia for a little more than two weeks, but it feels like WAY LONGER. My time spent in Bangkok was pretty productive for arriving right before the Songkran holiday (four days of nonstop water fighting to celebrate the Thai new year). Happy to be churning out more stories lately.

Bangkok mang's.
Bangkok mang’s.

Writing a second blog post has been a challenge. I’ve started different drafts with wildly different tones depending on the day. I’m striking while the iron is hot – or rather, while I’m feeling more positive about the whole situation. My last draft was filled with a lot of WHAT AM I DOING HERE in both the immediate and the broad sense.

Well, what am I doing here? The plan had been to come over here, write, travel around, see old friends, etc. Then TAXES HAPPENED. This was my first year paying my taxes as a freelancer and the amount I owed was way higher than I imagined it would be. A chunk of my savings has now vanished, so instead of floating around Asia as I had hoped, I’m going to spend more time lying low in Bangkok.

I need to stop hemorrhaging money on things like massages, too.

Wut. #Bangkok.
Wut. #Bangkok.

OK, the cry baby is going to stop crying (and apparently start writing in the third person??) and go back out into the Kuala Lumpur torrential downpour and eat some roti.

##

Latest Stories:

Return to America

TL;DR – I’m in America for the first time in a year, it’s weird / Japan was hard 

I am in a Jamba Juice in San Leandro staring out the window at a Togo’s and a car wash. I am back in California, and it feels so weird.

I return after an emotionally tumultuous three weeks in Japan. The country turned out to be way more isolating than I had predicted thanks to a number of things. First, I don’t speak any Japanese and most people in Japan do not speak English. Second, the Japanese culture isn’t all about chatting up strangers, especially foreign strangers. Third, it’s very quiet in Japan, so I spent a lot of time trying to stay as silent as possible and blend into society. Toss all of that together and you have one tough trip for an extrovert.

I honestly can’t believe how intensely sad I got in such a short period of time, but I really struggled to stay happy in Tokyo and Tahara. Some days I slept for 13 hours, then spent 3-5 more in bed just looking at the Internet. Mind you, I am completely aware of how melodramatic this sounds. I’d do my fair share of walking around, exploring, taking random ferries or busses, then I’d feel exhausted/defeated and go home. A few things got me through my time in Japan: running, drinking with strangers, and working.

Jogging was a godsend. Released endorphins, upbeat music, fresh air, and happy fellow joggers lifted me out of the inexplicably heavy darkness. My favorite jogging routes were along the seemingly endless Tama River, and around Tokyo’s Imperial Palace at dusk ( minus the swarms of gnats that frequented the palace moat. I had to constantly rub them out of my eyes and when I was finished running, I had dead gnats smashed against my arms, neck, and face ).

Drinking with strangers rescued me from my silent loneliness. No one is going to talk to you on the subway, or in line at a coffee shop, so the only places to strike up conversations were in intimate Tokyo bars – I’m talking 7 seats intimate, these places are tiny. The later the better was the recipe for success. If I hit up a bar too early, my Japanese neighbors wouldn’t have enough liquid courage yet to find out what the crazy gaijin (foreigner) was doing there.

After 10 or 11 pm, tongues loosened (mine included) and broken English conversations ensued. Befriending foreigners was also crucial, and those rare times hanging out with fellow westerners were fantastic. It was nice to hear that other people felt the same melancholy I did in the biggest city in the world.

Working was the last element that kept me sane in Japan. Retreating to cafés to work on stories let me check out of my immediate reality for a while and focus on something other than my ridiculous misery. Unfortunately, there weren’t many places with free-flowing Internet access, so I ended up paying a small fortune to spend time at co-working spaces.

Despite all the first world problems bringing me down, I could not deny that Japan was absolutely incredible. The country is unreal on a million levels. Wildly clean, efficiently modern, and infinitely cooler than me. Everyone is impeccably dressed from the salarymen in perfectly tailored suits to the Shimokitazawa hipsters layering random things and looking great doing it.

The bottom line is that Japan is amazing. Everyone should go at some point in their lives, but prepare yourself before the journey. Learn a little Japanese, IT GOES A LONG WAY. Carefully choose where you want to stay. Get mentally ready to be an outsider.

I had a 17 hour layover in China that I spent mostly standing in infuriating lines at the Beijing airport. I did get the chance to explore the Forbidden City a little and eat some “Old Beijing” pastries, then it was time to hop on my 11 hour flight back to the USA.

Beijing blitz

The flight was a breeze. I did my best not to look at the clock and tried to ignore my increasingly uncomfortable head cold I caught in Tokyo. Before I knew it, the plane was landing at SFO. I was home. The flight was so easy that it was anticlimactic stepping off the plane. SFO has greatly improved its foreign entry process, and going through customs was a breeze. Suddenly I had my backpack and was sitting on the BART headed into the city. San Francisco was as beautiful as I had left it. It was all so completely normal and familiar. I cried three times.

I came back to be with my family, but my cold prevented me from meeting my sweet baby niece so I stayed in the Outer Sunset for a handful of days. The mix of being sick, being home for the first time, and being in the otherworldly Outer Sunset gloom was weird. I felt like I was walking in a dream. It was way too normal to be true. Did I even leave? Was I really gone for a year? Surreal.

Reverse culture shock isn’t the only reason I’m off. Since the decision to come home was made so suddenly, and I spent so much money in expensive AF Japan, my next move isn’t clear at the moment. I don’t  think I have enough money to leave right away, so suddenly I’m feeling a little trapped and confused. It has also been overwhelmingly nice to see loved ones again, I’m not even sure if I want to leave.

So I’m in California. I have no apartment, no sense of home, and no proof that the last year in Asia even happened (other than the memories in my brain, the scar on my forehead, and this blog).

What happens next? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

A Bali Fortnight – Groundhog Day, but in a good way

Getting sidelined with a cold pulled me out of my dreamy Bali tunnel vision. For the past two plus weeks, I’ve done almost the same thing every day and it’s been a great fortnight – possibly the best I’ve ever had. It doesn’t feel like real life at this point. My Groundhog Day existence looks like this (but subsitute a frustrated Bill Murray for a happy Bill Murray):

  • Early Morning – Wake up with the sunrise, go jogging (or change my mind and sleep in), eat breakfast at my hostel, slather my body with multiple coats of 110 SPF sunscreen
  • Morning – Walk down to the beach, go surfing (see also: attempt to surf), hang out, drink coffee, go surfing again (continue wiping out), drink a fresh coconut
  • Late Afternoon – Head home, shower, maybe nap, go to a cafe/restaurant to eat and write
  • Evening – Go out for drinks or go to bed early – like 9 pm early – maybe eat yogurt and granola on my bed

Then I got sick, and suddenly I couldn’t do the things I’ve been doing for like 16 days straight. Stopping the routine made me realize that holy f, almost three weeks has passed and I have done WAY LESS than I planned on doing. I feel like I just got here. How did time fly by that fast? What happened!? I wanted to file way more stories, see way more places, try way more restaurants.

Even though my days aren’t filled with the sort of variety I predicted, one perk is that they have been filled with damn good meals. Indonesian food is a dream; it’s so good that I haven’t missed Thai food yet. One of the dishes I’ve eaten is so incredible, I wrote about it for Vice.

Ok, so more reflecting on life after leaving Bangkok.

It has been interesting adjusting to backpack life. I thought that by packing 95% black clothing, it would be easier to wear the same thing all the time. Instead, I feel more like a gothic outfit repeater in a sea of Bali’s well-dressed beach goddesses.

All I want to do is surf or sit on the beach (go figure), so it’s harder than predicted to be proactive with my freelance work. By the time I do get to a cafe to write I’m exhausted from an active day in the sun.

Once I got sick, I had the chance to take a step back and reexamine my productivity game plan (aaaand see that something needs to change). As I recover from the cold, I’m trying out new routines to coax myself into working more while still soaking up ample beach time. (Insert quote here about life lessons or progress or something, idk)

So what next? I have about two weeks left in Bali until I fly to India where I’ll spend nearly three weeks stuffing my face with naan while simultaneously trying to avoid Delhi belly. Once I’m healthy, I imagine I’ll fall back into the surf-eat-surf-repeat routine until I wake up one morning and have to catch my flight. I booked a ticket back to Bali after India so I can come back and do more of the same, this time with my mom who will be visiting me again.

Freelance life: so far, so good.