Popping Down to Panama

Adapting to my new circumstances as a work-constricted traveler has presented an entirely new set of considerations in travel planning. Chief among these is maximizing my allotted vacation time to take as many trips as possible in a given year, while also being sure to spread them out to avoid ending up short come Christmas time. My new employer offers most of the standard holidays, and so having missed out on traveling over Martin Luther King Day, I knew I could not let President’s Day similarly go to waste.

Panama hats. Get it?

Continue reading “Popping Down to Panama”

Howdy, Strangers!

Faithful readers! I am back!

It has taken me an entire year to sort myself out since my last post and I am happy to report that things have finally fallen in to place such that I can start traveling — and thus blogging — once again!

Over the past 12 months, as I searched for and found a new home, a new job, basically a new life, I wrestled a bit with what I was going to do with this blog. I didn’t relish the idea of doing any more whining to you all about the difficulties in crashing back down to earth after a transcendent experience. I certainly didn’t (and still don’t and never will) want to talk about politics here, and so instead I opted for radio silence.

However! Now that I am comfortably settled in my new home city of Chicago and gainfully employed in a role where it appears I will not be penalized for actually using my vacation days, I am once again in a position to indulge my whims! Hopefully there are one or two of you out there who are still interested in hearing about them, so if that is you, stay tuned to this space! I am planning to shift the focus from my own personal journey into a more practical guide for how to keep traveling even when you don’t have the luxury of walking away from your job for a year or two. In that spirit, I have a few things on the horizon that I look forward to sharing with you.

Next up: President’s Day weekend in Panama!

Now, New Zealand!

And so, we come to the end. New Zealand! Other than Antarctica, this is the southernmost point in the world (that I’ve visited, anyway) and even more magical to visit. I have dreamed my entire life of making it here, and so I saved the best for last.  (Sorry kids, but this is going to be a long one).

image

Continue reading “Now, New Zealand!”

Australian Adventures: New South Wales and Victoria

Are you all still bearing with me? The trip is coming to a close, only a few more destinations left! I know! I’m as shocked as you are, who knew a year was practically no time at all?

When we last spoke, I had just survived a skydive (the last ever in my life, for sure!) in Byron Bay. After killing the rest of the afternoon, it was time for another (and final!) overnight bus! This one brought me, at long last, back to Sydney. I’d booked a bed at Blue Parrot in Potts Point, a fun and quirky — if slightly seedy — part of town (read: upscale coffee houses by day, shady-looking strip clubs by night). The hostel was nice though, and full of fun and interesting people. Continue reading “Australian Adventures: New South Wales and Victoria”

Australian Adventures: North Queensland

For reasons I can’t explain, Australia has always been at the very top of my “must visit” list. Maybe because it’s so far away from…well…everywhere? Possibly its reputation for being filled with gorgeous surfer dudes?  Perhaps due to my deep and abiding love for Rescuers Down Under? That classic Men At Work Song? A manifestation of my latent childhood crush on Crocodile Dundee? Whatever the reason, I never had sufficient time to make the trip here before, as I couldn’t imagine coming for less than a month. Turns out, that is still not NEARLY enough time to even scratch the surface of this magical land down under, but I’ve been determined to do my level best to see and do as much as possible with the time I have. Continue reading “Australian Adventures: North Queensland”

Malaysian Migration and Spiffy Singapore

I departed Siem Reap for Bangkok, then immediately boarded an overnight bus south, as I wanted to swing back through Koh Tao for a few more days to get in some diving and see all my friends I’d left behind there. It was a typically exhausting journey, getting dropped off on the side of the road in Chumphon at 2 am to change buses, arriving at the ferry dock at 4 and sleeping on a bench while waiting for the 7 am ferry to Koh Tao. You know, the usual. I had just a few days to spend there before I needed to move on to Malaysia, where I planned to reunite with Megan in Penang. Continue reading “Malaysian Migration and Spiffy Singapore”