A Happy New Year to all!
Considering that it’s now 25 days into the New Year, I’m a bit late in the game for a New Year’s post. However, since I’m living in China and technically the Chinese New Year celebrations don’t start until next month, I’m actually early with my well wishes. Because, you know, when in Rome…assimilate to aspects of the culture that suit you best.
The last past month of travel to Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong have been a blur of sunsets, private villas, spectacular food, bouts of dysentery, questionable dengue fever, hikes through a rain forest, “lady boys” and creepy Western men, lunching by an active volcano, fresh fruit smoothies at every meal, speeding through the hills on our own motor bike, tropical weather and balmy nights, sleeping on the beach, monkeys and tigers and bears! (oh my!), the daily ritual of sipping strong Balinese coffee, snorkeling the great coral reef for 5+hours, being both scared and touched by the presence of cows, gawking at a 50-foot tall Buddha’s big toe, learning what to do when your travel partner has a 103 fever and the shakes, laughing over Singapore Slings whilst in Singapore, praying at temple to an unknown God, the pain and pleasure of a traditional Thai message, bathing in a tub filled with rose petals, the magic of animism, the stinky but mouth-watering durian fruit, and the most crystal clear star-lit sky I’ve ever witnessed.
In my last post (which dates back to over a month ago), I mentioned traveling with my “laptop in tow” to update Foreign Exposure during my travels. But, “laptop in tow” does not guarantee a stable, consistent or a free Internet connection within your travel destinations, and thus my laptop gathered dust while I frolicked in the sand. Obviously, this was a blessing. To be truly unplugged for almost a month is cleansing for a technology addict like myself and after about the first week the incessant, nervous tic of “Must. Check. Email.” is replaced by outright revulsion of even the thought of a “computer machine” amongst so much natural beauty.
So now I’m back in Shanghai, and the memories of 28 days of travel are beginning to fade just like my really awesome tropical tan. But as my good friend and fellow blogger quoted: no one cares how great your time away was – they will only listen in rapture to tales of travel woes. And in today’s 30-second sound bite environment, as well as the over-saturated personal blog market…well, let’s just say if you’ve read this far in this woe-devoid post, your attention span is better than mine. So no boring posts about my travels in detail, I promise. However, you can expect a quick, brief (tiny) re-cap of travel highlights with a few links to some personal photos….because, listen: as I’m adjusting to life back in the bitter-cold urban jungle of Shanghai (with massive construction and crappy pollution to boot), I need some memories of a much better warmer time when I was a much tanner, healthier version of myself to fill my days, okay? Call it travelers withdrawal, call it living in the past, but when you start the New Year sprawled on a white-sand beach, sipping from a coconut, things can only go down from there.