I’m a few days behind on my monthly update. This time I’m checking in from the four-month mark–exactly two-thirds of the way finished with this trip.
It’s unreal to think I’ve been traveling so far and so long. In some ways it’s gone by in the blink of an eye, and in some ways I can’t even remember what “real life” is like back home. To think that in less than two months, I’ll be in Pittsburgh at the tail-end of winter is both a thought too gruesome to comtemplate and simultaneously too glorious to fully indulge.
And so, in keeping with tradition, my trip by the numbers:
-Eight countries visited
– 3,750 miles traveled in the past month
– 19,236 miles traveled on the trip so far
-Four segments on Air Asia in the past month
And the highlights from the past month:
Gokarna spirituality. Gokarna was one of my favorite stops in India. It was the perfect blend of the omnipresent spirituality of India without the interfering influences of a billion souls on all sides. Coupled with the reasonably attractive beaches still resisting Goa-esque development, Gokarna’s town center felt like real India mingling alongside Western spirituality-seekers. I could’ve stayed longer.
Bollywood. Not only did I see two Bollywood films (in Bangalore and later Kochi), I was an extra in one! Bollywood is indisputably an unrealistic, glamorized depiction of India, but I couldn’t help but love it. The characters are exaggerated, the love connections idealized, the romantic scenes heavily censored. It’s at once not at all real India and perfectly representative of India. Movie-goers hoot and holler throughout the film and the intermission is a time for socialization and concession-stand chowing-down. It’s fun.
Wood Castle. In Kochi, I got upgraded from a $30 room to a $120 room in the penthouse of this funny little inn.
Petronas. Emily and I got gussied up in Kuala Lumpur one night and headed over to the Golden Triangle part of the city. We got off the train and meandered through high-end malls and skyscrapers to get to the Skybar, where we’d watch sunset over the Petronas towers. They were once the world’s tallest buildings, but now are simply the world’s highest twin towers. They are magnificent.
Reunion and Christmas in Singapore. I met up with not only Emily in Malaysia, but Sameeta, my roommate and good friend from Penn State, in Singapore. We had a ton of screaming laughing sessions, recalling hilarious times from college and beyond. She reminded me of many things I’d forgotten. We were bad asses back then, if I do say so myself. It was the best kind of reunion: Despite having not seen each other for nearly two years, being together was completely natural and we picked up as though no time at all had passed.
New Year’s Eve in Bali. Fancy Italian dinner on Emily’s dad. An expensive, delicious bottle of wine. Homemade fireworks, many drinks, good friends, and lots of laugh. Happy New Year indeed.
Motorbiking around Bali. It was like working out the solution to a complicated math problem. Or finding out I’d had a twin sister all this time. Or putting cream in coffee. It just made sense. Me on a motorbike. I love it. It feels right. It feeds my need for independence and freedom. It was exhilarating and mine, all mine. Petrol was cheap, driving was easy, speed was tolerated. Roads were mostly paved. Sunsets were inspirational. The coast was a guide that made getting lost difficult. The locals honked and waved. Me, a motorbike and Bali. I’ll revisit that someday soon.
Scuba diving. My first time. I’ll let the photo speak for itself.
Four months down, two to go. I’m in Cambodia now, embarking on the last chunk of this trip: Southeast Asia. From Cambodia, I’ll go Thailand, then Laos, then Vietnam, before heading to hong Kong for a few days before my flight out. I’ll stop by Macau to fulfill the demand created by the title of this blog. My re-entry looms near, but I’m staying focused on the trip. After all, two months is still considerable time to travel. I’m not letting my guard down just yet. But I am relieved to have made it this far without major incident.
Southeast Asia, let’s see what you’ve got.