Wednesday, August 31, 2011

merry go round

A year ago, I was in Europe. It was a different kind of trip to that I'm accustomed to now. It wasn't to my own itinerary, but it was really wonderful. It was my first glimpse at something different to what I call home. It confirmed what I had always suspected: I would love travel and I would want to see more of our world.

I'm all kinds of excited to know that in three weeks my heels will be touching that same soil that changed my everything.

I arrived in Siem Reap and I decided to treat myself. I was walking to the store to buy a tub of ice cream (yes, a whole tub! to eat in bed, of course) when I walked past a massage place. And in a perfect moment of "why not?" I went inside and melted into my chair for a whole hour. It was divine and exactly what I needed.

I'm just about to do 1000 jumping jacks; I want to donate blood at the Angkor Children's hospital but I always have problems when I try to donate blood. Usually they poke and prod both arms, trying to harvest me for whatever they can. I've given successfully, a few times, but it's always painful and difficult. Hopefully my ridiculous bout of exercise will make me an excellent candidate. I think it's important to give what you can, when you can.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Since I split up from my three travel friends, I've felt really disconnected. When you travel everything is in a state of constant change: your location, bed, friends, where you eat, what you eat, the currency, the temperature, the time zone. Everything. I think it's what makes travel so amazing, too. You learn so much about yourself when you're in the middle of the unknown. I am just growing a little tired. Although I went home in February, it was under the worst circumstances imaginable. My city was destroyed, my family was devastated and I was in shock. I feel like I've been traveling the past year. I'm craving a home, a kitchen, the ability to do my own laundry, to cook for myself, to bake for others, to run, to know that in a week I'll be in the same place. I want stability, for a little while.

Today I booked my flights from KL to Paris. I also booked a transfer from Bangkok to Siam Reap - step one of my multiple day journey to Takeo. I'm looking forward to seeing those fiery red roads and the wide smiles of the kids. I've got an idea for a photography project, so hopefully I can share some wonderful snaps with you in a few days.

I've been a bit sulky in Bangkok and I've done nothing memorable (although I did have a few great nights out with some people from my hostel). I have, however, reached that point of frustration with myself where I will make the most of my last few weeks in Cambodia. A twelve hour bus trip will help with that. เห็นคุณในภายหลังประเทศไทย !

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Yesterday, on my Facebook wall a friend, Celia, started asking me some questions about photography. We ended up on a tangent about travel, as my status a year ago on that day had been about going off to Europe. Celia noticed it was the same region of the world at the same time of the year, randomly.

I told her "I'm like that"

Then I showed her the status from the 25th of August 2009 when I said "I want to run away somewhere"
Some friends asked where and I said "Prague"

Prague was always somewhere I dreamed to go, but it has never really made the most sense. It still doesn't, but I feel pulled towards it, now.

Celia then pointed out something must hit me about this time of year. She said that she now understands why I follow the signs I've talked about briefly on this blog. She wishes she had signs.

I replied,

"Those don't believe in magic will never find it"

I find myself lucky enough to find magic in almost anything. There's magic in the way I can change a child's stare into a smile. Or in those conversations that dig deeply into your core. Or in the lyrics of your favourite song. Or in that sinking, deja vu-like, feeling you get when you meet someone you know is going to change your life, forever.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I don't really like photos of myself for a number of reasons. Firstly, I'm not photogenic. I have crazy hair that often rebels in every direction. Just as a temper tantrum of a child isn't pleasant on film, there are days where images containing my hair should not preserved. Secondly, my camera is very good, it is very sensitive and you can zoom into anything in great detail. This makes me anxious, I don't want someone zooming in on ME. It's creepy. Thirdly, I always try to take flattering photos of people, intentionally using angles that help accentuate their natural beauty and mute any double chins. People who like to take photos of me aren't so kind. Sometimes they're just mean.

There aren't so many photos of me floating around, but on this trip the lads I was with took a few. Sometimes they took photos of me taking photos. It's fun comparing what we both shot.

Friday, August 26, 2011


I'm sitting on the balcony, listening to the waves hug the shore, while lightning flickers, here in Pattaya. I've always felt comfort when I'm close the ocean. Its like home. I feel inspired by the depth of the ocean, which I find surprising as I fear open water. Perhaps that fear is absolute acknowledgement of it's power and beauty.

I know I'm on the tip of great change. This is a period I'll look back on and think to myself, fondly, that I really just followed my heart and soul. I don't doubt that it will be an adventure. I can be honest and say this is probably not the most logical way to spend the next few months of my life. But, the loss of the most wonderful woman I ever knew has forced me to think differently about how I govern my life. I want to seize opportunities and I want to trust in my ability to make everything wonderful. It is fitting that this bout of change fell into place on the 6th month mark of the loss of her... the very day.

I feel that I must make deals with myself. I operate in contra. I will gift myself the next 4-5 months (at least) in Europe, so long as I progress with certain goals that have been only flickers in my imagination. Here they are, in all their bland glory:

1) Create a proper Flickr account that I update regularly and before Facebook. I'm not sure how I want to organise this (whether I put all of my photos I take on here, or make it more of a favourite selection - to be decided)

2) Take consistently better photos - to achieve this I think I need to take more photos and to also trade the 28 1.8 for a 35L (which may be impossible in Europe, we'll see). I would like to get somewhere with my photography, I love it. Fingers crossed my future little bros like their picture taken and I can practice on them.

3) Create a proper website to showcase aforementioned photos - this isn't such a huge priority, but I feel it would be totally badass if I had my own website.

4) Be consistent, regular and exciting on my blog. I have a lot to say and I think my life is kind of far away from mainstream - so it should be interesting to read. It's definitely going to get a heap more crazy if I wind up in a small village two hours from Prague, where no one speaks English!

5) Learn Czech... a good friend has suggested this is a pretty dumb idea, but I'm not so sure. Perhaps it wont be at all helpful outside of CR, but it'll be good for my tiny little town and I'm sure they will appreciate my efforts. I think it would be advantageous if I wind up in Korea in the Jan intake, to have tried to learn another language and to have fought some of the battles my future students might meet.

6) Figure out how to make billions off the Internet... Okay, maybe not billions, but nerdynormad is making some serious cashdollars from it, so why can't I? I like writing, I'm sure I could make some websites... I think this is a good idea. I just need to think of some good topics and get started building content (and being consistent). I feel a Moleskin is an essential purchase for this project.

7) Start writing travel articles. I've been to a few places, now. I've got some sweet pics (disclaimer: in my opinion) I've got a long way to go both in terms of my writing and photography, but I'm getting to a level I can be proud of. I need to push myself further and get my content out there. That includes little tasks, such as sending in an entry to Jetstar's travel writing section. I'm also planning to do a monthly trip somewhere around Europe while I'm there, so this would be a fantastic time to start.

8) Exercise. This is key. I'm starting to feel terrible. My skin has become awful here (what did I do to you, Asia?) I'm not so flexible, not at all toned and I'm squishy in places I didn't know you could be squishy. Must run, do pilates and yoga. Lots!

9) Focus more on being happy and living in the moment. I really want to be one of those people who are remembered for making people feel good. When I spend time with people I want them to feel like they're the most important person in the universe. I think I probably need to talk less, too.

10) SMILE MORE! This is key.

So, if I run away to just outside of Prague for a few months (which may or may not have been partially inspired by a wonderful man who is too caught up in the corporate ladder to really entertain me in Europe) and make progress on these goals, then I don't think it's such a bad idea, after all. In fact, I think it's kind of wonderful.

I'll be Skyping with the family today or tomorrow. Hopefully I can charm their pants off. Wish me luck (and some love) xx

Ps. The photo above, I took in Ha Long Bay, of my friend jumping off the boat sums up exactly how I feel right now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So the plan was to come to Asia, travel a while and then to go to South Korea to teach English. I'm a big believer in signs and there being some kind of path already written for me. I think it's certainly possible to deviate from this path and to take things into your own hands. But, for me, it seems I get an overwhelming sense of peace when I realign with it; whenever I trust in this universe enough to let things fall into place.

I met two wonderful guys when I was in Singapore and ended up joining them on most of their adventure through KL, Cambodia Vietnam and Thailand. They were both so much fun and we were a perfect fit together. I was fond of one of the guys and we became close. Saying goodbye to him was one of the hardest things I've had to do: it felt really unnatural. For whatever reason, Korea has not worked out. If it had gone to plan, I would not have been able to join the lads for their trip to Thailand and my heart would still be rigid and entirely selfish.

I've lost the momentum and the desire to be in Korea now. So, with much consideration, I've come up with an alternative. Being an au pair in Europe is something I've wanted to do for many years, although I honestly had not anticipated doing it so soon. I've been in touch with seven lovely families in or near Prague and I'm just sorting through now trying to see who would be a good match for me. According to my recruitment agency going to Korea now is still an option and I could get my contract any day now, but I'm not excited. I've made it clear to each of the families that I'd like to have a four month contract, potentially extendable if I prefer it over applying for the Jan/Feb intake in SK.

It's all very sudden, but it feels right. I don't believe I'm considering moving to Prague to be with this guy; I'm not interested in putting that much strain and pressure on our friendship. While we were hanging out I was quite frustrated that things could not progress naturally because there was always a limitation. Moving to Prague is as much about me exploring a little part of Europe as it is letting his and my friendship develop however it will. I've done a lot of soul searching these past two days and I can confidently say if nothing comes of it, I wont be disappointed; I'll be glad I got to test things out.

It's crazy (but super cool) to think I could be living in Europe in a month! I feel like I'm really living; I'm listening to my soul and feeding it whatever it craves. This is good.


this morning I woke (at 5am, no less) to read a wonderful blog post from a friend. it made my morning, day and afternoon. i'm so blessed to have wonderful people like her in my life, people who are capable of articulating themselves well and do so, because they understand it's important.

if you want to read her blog post, click here

Saturday, August 13, 2011

just one reason

There are so many reasons I'm smitten with Asia, but here's one: In Ubud, just after my attack, I was feeling a bit low. It's hard to describe, but I was just needing to be distant from people for a bit. I just had to process my own thoughts and feelings. I needed to realign my everything. So, I took some time and then some more.

I met some guys when I was stealing WIFI from their restaurant. One of them was really sweet to me and invited me to come see his village. Jasen drove me on the back of his motorbike, after his shift ended, through the lush countryside of Ubud. I was introduced to his family and welcomed, warmly. We sat on the the top of the hill, over looking a local temple, and smiled sweetly at each other. Between us there was not much common language, so we sat quietly watching dusk blanket the day. I tried to hold back my manic smile, but the moment was too irresistible and I let go.

Being really present in a moment is something I've struggled with. I've been unhappy at times, so found myself looking forward to the future, clutching on to it while simultaneously letting the present slip away. On top of that hill, in the middle of the country side, I was so content I could have burst. I think it was the first day of my life where I have felt really present. Where this moment of time and I are threaded together, like string in a bracelet. We are one. I feel like everything that has happened to me, leading up to this moment, has been beautiful, necessary and just; for without every detail, without every ache, this would not be.

I'm grateful for everything, truly. It's a beautiful feeling.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


When my camera was dropped it broke a little and now I can't get photos off, so I'm missing a little bit of Bali that I want to share with you, but I'll get there. Yogyakarta was amazing. It is without a doubt one of my favourite big cities in Asia. I'm so glad that I continued my adventures in Indonesia - I had a really great time and now I'm even missing it.

I'm in such a good head space. I took my stitches out myself and my hand is almost back to normal. And I'm feeling new, refreshed, happy and content. I still haven't heard back about Korea, but I know it's going to work out. I'm gonna focus my energy on enjoying the here and now and I'll worry about the serious stuff later.

Sometimes I like to remind myself that a photo I took is what I saw for a split second. It's something I'll never see again in the exact same way... because of this, I find photographs to be incredibly beautiful.