The past three months in review: part 2
“Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the next generations.”
George Bernard Shaw
I have spent the past six months living the life I always dreamed. It has been overflowing with life changing experiences, beautiful people and breathtaking locations across the world. I have learned a few things along the way; about life, love and happiness, but most of all, about how little you need to fulfill your need to feel all of these things. If I could give one piece of advice it would be this: Stop thinking about it and do it, whether it is travel, school, a job change, art classes it doesn’t matter, just do it. The only thing you will regret is waiting so long. There is never enough time or enough money to do the things you dream of, so stop waiting for “enough” and just do it.
Six months ago, I left home in a tearful “see you later” and steped into the world alone, it was scary but it was new and exciting. In these past six months I have grow and in many ways, I am no longer the person I was that day in the airport on June 30th 2015, I am a new me. There are two important concepts I have adopted in these past months that have changed the way I view life, here goes;
- We are not born with fear, fear is an imagined idea, something we learn over time and as such can be unlearned.
- I will not be defined by who or what society or my peers believe I should be, I am simply, me.
….Let that set in, and while you are doing so here is a little recap of my world travels months 4-6.
*I started month three at Nova Starine Art Park as a three week workaway. Ivan, a stone sculptor, ran the park on the outskirts of Split, Croatia. The park was fabulous! There was minimal electricity and we cooked together everyday as a group on the woodstove located in the outside kitchen. We slept in tents, showered in an outdoor shower heated by the (nearly non-existent) sun, used an outside compost toilet and washed our dishes with ash from the woodstove. The park also boasted an outdoor library and outdoor cinema! We spent most of our time winterizing the tents, gardening and working on the olive trees.
*After our work was done for the day we relaxed at a local bar called Silver, where we stared at our phones soaking up the WiFi. When we weren’t chillin at Silver we were picking figs or almonds straight off the trees, exploring abandoned buildings or relaxing at the park.
*I am very likely famous in Croatia, as Nova Starine was featured on the Croatian national news! 🙂
*I learned a few new drinking games while at the ark as well…can’t wait to bring them back home to my family and friends. 1. Stump – it involves a wood stump, a hammer, nails and alcohol (I may have a new scar as a result), 2. Flankie Ball – a ball (similar to a baseball), a bottle filled with water and lots of alcohol, and 3. Shithead – the best cardgame ever!
*I became a dumpster diver while in Croatia as well. It was fun and exciting and wild and crazy all at he same time. And we ate like kings and queens!!!
*I took a weekend trip the the island of Vis in Croatia. It was the
worst best vacation ever! And I drove a cherry red convertible (that was barely holding itself together…manual car with no e-brake as well) on the curvy mountains!
*We hiked down to a secluded cove in Vis where we had the beach completely to ourselves (minus like five minutes). It was magical!
*On our return from Vis we took a pitstop at a “Mexican Bar” (apparently there is a great Mexican band that plays at this bar in Croatia…but I never saw them), ended up taking to many Rockia shots where we not only closed the bar down but chilled with the bartender afterwards.
*After (probably more than what was responsible) rockia shots we decided to go skinny dipping…at 4a.m. where there was plankton that glowed in the dark! Oh and I bruised my butt when I hit the water wrong after jumping off a huge rock….again probably more shots than was responsible….
sorry no picture for this one!
*After returning from Silver at about 11pm one night I decided to join a friend and a few of his friends I had never met, on an impromptu trip to Paklenica National Park to hike (which turned out to be the second
best worst trip). We arrived at 3am where we climbed 30 feet up the side of a cliff to sleep in a cave….with six other trespassers.
*After being unexpectedly left by our ride my friend and I began hitchhiking back to Split. We were picked up in no time by our first two rides! Then ended up setting up camp on side of the rode in Zadar…. Basically on top of a trash pile.
*We had our thumbs out early the next morning for the remainder of the trip…..where my camera fell out of my bag in the car of one of our rides. Luckily of the three men who picked us up that day it was in the car of the only one I had any possible way of contacting….he sent it to me he same day via the bus from Zadar to Split! What a guy!
*I relived my childhood in a mudpit in Croatia….a white limestone mudpit!! It was so much fun! After our mud fight and mudslide we simply walked over the other side of the hill and into the salty sea and washed off…carefully as there were sea urchins….everywhere! (in hindsight probably not a good idea)
*I went to the Croatian National Theater to watch a play (did not understand a word) and loved it! We made a game of guessing what it was about and then googled it afterward; we were pretty close. It’s amazing how much you can understand without words.
*Hitchhiked from Split to Dubrovnik.
*Three of the best nights of the trip were spent on the side of a cliff in Dubrovnik, just outside of the old town, where I wild camped (one day in the pouring rain). The view was spectacular! The best part was you wake up in the morning taking in the beautiful view and then jump off the 20 foot cliff butt naked into the warm Adriatic Sea.
*I visited many of the Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
*Explored the once high class Hotel Belvedere that was, sadly, bombed during the war in 1991. We drank rockia from 1991 we found (unopened) in the hotel.
*I experienced a local food festival in Dubrovnik where I ate many dishes I had never heard of (and probably do not want to know what they were). I also ate sardines for he first (and last) time.
*I meditated on a dock overlooking the sea where we saw a really neat looking fish!
*I was temporarily adopted by a Serbian/Danish couple on a ridiculously long bus ride from Dubrovnik, Croatia through Serbia on my way to Romania. They were the sweetest people and I hope to meet them again. Dragica (my temporary mom) had a taxi waiting for me when I arrived at my destination with my name on a cardboard sign.
*Myself and another female traveler met up with a local couple in Romania from a travel group for traditional Romanian food.
*I hiked to the Brasov sign in Brasov, Romania….its almost like hiking to the Hollywood sign…kinda….but not really.
*I partied at Dracula’s castle (Bran Castle) in Transylvania, Romania on Halloween night for my birthday…it was pretty epic! I met some great friends and also had a few friends from my earlier travels meet up as well.
*I had my first “I’m a long way from home” experience as I stood in front of Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey during the call to prayer. Such an unforgettable experience!
*Turkish tea…it was EVERYWHERE and I loved it! Every shop I walked past I was offered to come in for tea. Every sidewalk was filled with locals taking a moment to enjoy a glass of tea. They even have it delivered; you will see men walking down the streets with trays of tea. And the Kabobs..and more importantly baklava and Turkish delights!
*I enjoyed a river tour on the Bosporus river through Istanbul staring in awe at the many mosques dotting the landscape as well as the Grand Bazaar.
*I hiked through the fields of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey as if that was not beautiful enough I decided to watch sunrise over the fairy chimneys and canyon walls from a hot air balloon! MAGNIFICENT!
*I explored the underground city of Derinkuyu, and the Selime Monastery the inspiration of George Lucas for Star Wars.
*I slept at a cave hostel…built into he side of a mountain.
*I spent four days in Tarsus, Turkey with Julia, a girl I met at the airport in Romania, she took me bowling with all of her friends and we also watched The Huntchback of Notre Dame ballet (NOT the Disney version) for the equivalent of $1.65 USD.
*And I tried Rocky….for the first (and last) time.
* We also saw part of the old Roman road archeological site, Saint Paul Well and Cleopatra’s Gate.
*My favorite part of staying with Julia (other than waking up to fresh baked banana bread in the oven) was chilling with local friends. I listened to them play traditional Kurdish music and learning the struggles of the Kurdish people. It was an eye opening experience to say the least.
*Flying from Turkey to Thailand I had a 15 hour layover in Kazakhstan where I was woken by airport security multiple times for sleeping; apparently it is not allowed. The end result being (other than nearly coming to tears) was sleeping for two days in Bangkok when I arrived.
*By happenstance I was able to be in Chaing Mai, Thailand during the Loy Kathrong festival (the lantern festival). I went to a craft evening where I was taught to make a Loy Kathrong, from start to finish, out of banana tree, banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense. You float them down the river as an offering to the gods (you cannot smell the flowers as it is taking away from the offering to do so… It was very hard not to), I was also able to light a lantern!
*Ladyboys! My first drag show. They put on am awesome show!
*Elephants! I spent a week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary. I spent the week playing in the mud and the river with them as well as feeding them; I even scooped their poop! There was no electricity at elephant sanctuary so I spent my spare time reading. And I even got an elephant kiss!
*I was peed on twice by a woman hating monkey, named Chilli, at the sanctuary. How many people can say that?! Lol
* I did became “secret friends” with said woman hating monkey though. She loved me as long as no one was around to see it, and then as soon as anyone came along she’d turn into a little shit! Biting me, stealing my glasses, my book (or whatever else she could get her little hands on), and pulling my hair!
*Watched a local neighborhood game of soccer…or football, whatever you wanna call it.
*Went bamboo rafting!
*Cut rice with the locals.
*On our last night at the elephant sanctuary we enjoyed a Thai barbeque….it was a neat experience and delicious!
*I took it easy for a few days in a really “chillhippybackpacker” town called Pai in Thailand. Where I decided to get a bamboo tattoo one rainy day.
*Rode on the back of a friends motorcycle to the Pai Canyon…I will never get used to the crazyass driving in South East Asia!
*I crossed bungee jumping off my bucket list.
*Relaxed (after the crazy PACKED local bus trip where I sat on the floor between two locals in front of where the door should have been and could hardly make it up the mountains) at the peaceful Cave Lodge in Sopong where I drank waaaaaay to many coconut shakes.
*I also went on a cave and trekking tour through three caves and the Thai mountains. Beautiful. Difficult. Fun. Adventurous.
*Jo and I rode a bamboo raft through Lod Cave at sunset to watch the bats fly out of the cave while the swifts fly in. Really neat experience!
*I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises in Sopong, Thailand.
*Went to a local fair and had my picture taken in a traditional Thai outfit.
*I was mistaken for a lesbian and given a double bed in a room of single beds with my friend Jo.
*Lost my phone to a train squatty potty… need I say more!?!?
*I took a Balinese cooking class with a group of friends from my hostel…the food was amazing and we were taught to make offerings.
*I played with MORE monkeys at the Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. HUNDREDS ON MONKEYS…EVERYWHERE!
*I drank cat poop coffee! and I liked it! Bali is famous for their Luhak coffee…it’s basically a ferret looking cat (thing) that eats the coffee beans, poops them out they harvest and roast em’…and then serve em’! I also got to let the luhak climb on me…I want one!
*I hiked through the amazingly beautiful rice terraces. You have never seen green until you have seen Bali green!
*Spent Christmas Eve watching The Nightmare Before Christmas at a local cinema with friends. We finished the night off with a Finnish/Balinese Christmas party!
*Got my hair
butchered cut at Edward Scissor hands on Christmas.
*We celebrated Christmas with a traditional Balinese dance and a exquisite Christmas dinner. We ended the night with a Muppets Christmas Carol on an iPad.
*Another one of my favorites… We went to Pura Tirtha Empul water temple on a holy day with nearly all locals to wash our sins away from the old moon and start with a clean slate for the new moon.
*I learned what it must be like to be a celebrity….EVERYONE wants to take there picture with the white girl! 🙂
*I literally laid on a beach on Gili Meno, Indonesia for days, picking through red, green, blue, orange and white coral. There were no vehicles, only bikes and horse & carriage. Oh and did I mention my bungalow was on the beach! So peaceful.
*I watched as over one hundred turtles were released into the sea!
*Last but not least, the final day of month six was spent bringing in 2016 on an Indonesian island.
Countries visited – “Hello”
Croatia – Bok
Romania – Buna
Turkey – Merhaba
Thailand – Swasdika(p)
Indonesia – Halo
Money spent (estimate): $5300