Let the Drifting Begin

I’m sitting on a bus in southern New Jersey, en route to D.C., the nation’s capital, where I’ve never been. This is a bit ironic as the U.S. is the country where I hold my only citizenship.  D.C. will be a first for me, even if I’ve only got a meager two-hour layover before I’m scheduled to hop on another bus for Richmond, where an old college chum from the north, who has recently relocated to VA, will meet and drive me back to his family’s abode, somewhere in the middle of VA, where the wild country is probably beautiful.

Travel Philosophy

As I continue to organize, to throw away, to give away, to coordinate, to organize more, to realize that so many materials have been getting in my way, a native American proverb which I came across a while back pierces through my mind. Thinking of it, I’m beginning to live a revelation.

“Whatever you own, also owns you.”

An Elixir Spawned in KL

As I ponder back upon some of the places I’ve travelled to and the knowledge that I’ve gained, I realize that one of the most eye-opening experiences from my yesteryear is the three-month backpacking journey that consisted of meandering through a chunk of SE Asia.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, aka KL, I fell slightly ill. It was only nausea due to a combination of heat exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Bear in mind that KL sits at a mere 3° above the equator, providing for a torrid tropical temperature. Also, my 20-bed ice-cold hostel suite didn’t allow me to get the solid sleep that I’d needed. Multiple people sleeping in open areas do not cater well to the light sleeper, nor does extreme chill caused by A/C overkill.

A Tragedy in Toba

After traveling by minivan for most of the day, I took a short boat ride out to the laid-back Sumatran island that provided locals and tourists a place to enjoy a sunny, warm and idyllic ambiance.

After quietly bedding down in a large hostel room alone, due to sparse tourism because of the erroneous forest-fire scare, I quickly reached a coma-like state.

A Day in the Jungle

Shortly after arriving in the exotic jungle village of Bukit Lawang where Orangutans and  monkeys roam freely, I met a couple of Dutch girls in my guesthouse. After talking for a couple of minutes, I agreed to join them on their one-day jungle trek the following morning.  The two nice, relaxed guides were than happy to have another paying customer.

Minimization

I’m fathoming indefinite travel, gearing up, minimizing, getting rid of virtually everything. OK, I concede, I do have a few über-kind friends and sibling who are letting me store a few boxes, and even my ultra back-friendly bed. But, for the most part, the art of minimizing and organizing consumes me now.

Packing Light

Are you pondering upon what to pack?  Well, if you’re a backpacker and plan to be forced into roughing it unexpectedly now and then, packing light could prove to be a godsend.

It’s often that we witness backpackers with huge packs gnawing into their spines, while they perspire profusely, slowly moping up a mild incline feeling like they want to collapse.  Drifting or vagabonding ought not to be reminiscent of military boot camp.

Strange Foods

 Most parts of the world have foods which are completely unbeknown to the western palate. I remember my first time on the Asian continent, in Thailand. I’d spontaneously started drinking beer with a couple of German dudes that I’d met in the dining car of a run-down and rustic Thai train. After hours of sipping cold Thai brew and learning about the interesting lives of two German nationals living in Thailand, I’d stepped off at my destination.

A Subcontinental Trance

I am sitting upright in my best posture, placing my eyes on articles with headings and subheadings, blogs, emails, text, more text, images, hues, profiles, tags, widgets, ubiquitous ads and underlined links that always make me wonder if I should snap my index finger down upon them.  My over-stimulated mind wanders.  I ponder at the entrancing auditory pleasantries coming from my digital universe.

Travel Etiquette

Have you ever been somewhere and heard a loud dialogue on a bus or train, in a culture which reveres silence? Or perhaps you’ve seen a traveler try to haggle the living hell out of a peasant waitress over a mere US$ .05? The former I witnessed on a bus in Kyoto, Japan. The entire bus, filled to capacity, was silent save for two distinctively clear American –not Canadian- English voices sitting at least 10 seats behind me. The latter I actually witnessed while having dinner with an older, well-travelled Dutch gentleman in Medan, Indonesia.