TL;DR – The entry in which Matt McConaughey travels through space-time, a blog is never written in Asia, and lastly, late at night in the darkness of a Marriott hotel room, I discover the front page of the internet.
I am not going to apologize again for the gap in between the last time I wrote for you all and today. Let’s face it; I don’t think anyone is setting their watch to the frequency of my posting habits. But here I am, working nights up in Connecticut and finally feeling inspired. Also I watched that new McConaughey/Nolan flick, Interstellar (mixed reviews), the other night and good heavens there is a lot of space to be filled. Why not start with another bit of words here for you all to enjoy! So here’s a new one for ya, same same, but different!
And it really is a big, big universe, right? I don’t know if you have seen or plan to see the movie or not, I think you have picked up on the fact that it is an enormous world we are living in. I have dabbled in getting a little deep in a few blog entries of late, so I will attempt to avoid that here to an extent, but another thing working nights and living alone in a hotel room will do is give a person a lot of time to think. To think about all sorts of things really. If you aren’t picking up what I am putting down, familiarize yourself with the author of this fellow blogger. I think he’s on my page and strongly recommend his words about the fermi paradox and religious structure and spirituality (agree to disagree). His writing is thought provoking and inspiring whether to agree with the guy orr not. All in all it has been a positive experience up here in New England for me. Without getting wordy, just know that I may not be blogging about it, but I am sticking to my previous promises and following the GPS as best I can. Don’t get me wrong, I am very ready to make the 10 hour drive back down to Central VA and the lovely lady (11 days), but I think I have been making the best of what’s around for now.
Now to get to the real blogging you’ve been waiting for (and promised, sorry), before anyone asks…
WHY I DIDN’T BLOG FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA: I just want to say, I tried. There was an afternoon while relaxing in the air conditioning of my uncle’s Bangkok home when I grabbed the tablet and started some outlining and a couple paragraphs. You all should be sad too, because it was going to be a good one. To be blunt about it, I was having too good a time for this much effort. I am not a professional blogger and you all aren’t paying me to be such a thing, so I chose to have myself a damn good time instead, and a damn good time was had. I cannot stress to you enough how much I would encourage a trip over to Southeast Asia. Do it!
Aside from not blogging, all sorts of fun was had. The place is crawling with interesting and very buddhist smiling citizens, dazzling but reverent temples of every shape and size, and an at times, a mind-bending mixture of insanely populated first world flashy aisian night life and shopping (Bangkok, parts of Chiang Mai, touristy beach islands) and some of the most polite and awesome third world culture I have yet experienced. I won’t take Rick Steve or Frommer’s jobs from them, but I will share with you the moments that I randomly select as my favroties for the sake of this blog (It would be way too hard to choose favorites on a trip like this one. Each one could be its own entry on here).
- Biking the Angkor Wat temple long circuit in Cambodia. We chose to act against all of the friendly tips about this being crazy to attempt as the weather is far too hot, and just went out and did it. The buddha must have approved as we were blessed with a breezy and overcast day, perfect. I am sure the that these straight-out-of-a-movie, ancient stone temples peaking out of the Cambodian jungle can be enjoyed in all sorts of ways. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, just get there. This is MUST-SEE when in or anywhere near Cambodia and Southeast Asia. We rented some off-road bikes and a tourist map I marked up with a few pre-selected temple caches and I wouldn’t re-do it any differently. I think the highlight of this day was the 2 mile muddy side road heading to a much more remote temple (we are talking just us and no one else) involving a rather large jungle snake and removing stones from the center wall of the temple itself in order to log the geocache find. Dana will disagree with this one (snakes!).
- An island that is 100% for SCUBA. The entire first week of our trip was an undescribable island hopping experience. I won’t try to put it all in to words, but just know that this is an incredible place for a variety of picture perfect beaches, jagged cliffs/rock climbing, trails and adventures, deep green jungle teaming with monkeys and the occasional elephant, and a social party scene second to none. The stop that stands out the most to me though, was Koh Tao, an island dedicated completely to the art of SCUBA diving and helping others to get involved and see what it’s all about. I have read that it’s the number one spot in the world, for newbies to get their certifications and first dives. We met more than a handful of people who had the same story about showing up to get the 4 day certification and now 3 years later haven’t left and are loving teaching and diving! It was just surreal to see this beautiful remote island populated entirely with people from all over the world sharing an interest in this one awesome hobby. For the record we’ve got 4 saltwater dives under our belts now!
- A surprisingly cultural (and very long) bus ride across the mountainous north country. This was just an unexpected tour deal we found and signed up for while wandering around the city of Chiang Mai. Because I am supposed to say that the unbelievably intircate story-architecture of the white temple was my favorite stop, I am going to be rebelious and nominate the ferry ride across the Mekong River into Laos for a quick visit as the best part. As touristy as the set-up was, it was a nice view of the Golden Triangle region and a quick glimpse into another culture that I would enjoy exploring one day. Plus, we got to log a geocache whille sending some cool postcards back home, taking shots of this ridiculous snake/scorpion whiskey!
- The notorious Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan. This is the beach story you came here for. If you haven’t heard of it I think I am supposed to tell you to watch the movie The Beach (haven’t seen/read it). This is a thing that some hippies started back in the 70’s to party on a beach and do things I cannot mention here, and then somehow it blossomed into not only a tourist trap that people travel across the globe to partake in every month (full moon) but that an entire island economy thrives off of. I firmly believe that every Thai person north of these islands will laugh and tell you there is no reason to attend such a silly event and that you are wasting valuable time in doing so (I’m pretty sure they all did go, but “when they were younger”). In my case, the party fell on the 29th anniversary of my birth, and also the same night as the world cup final match between Germany and Argentina (start time: 4AM Thai Time). We were not going to pass on that opportunity of a lifetime. Unfortunately for you, the tales from that party are not to be told outside of that island so you will just have to use your imagination.
Thanks for listening. And we now return you to your regularly schedule internet program…
MUSIC: This month, the music we should all listen to together is by this guy, Parov Stelar (real name Marcus Füreder, an Austrian fella). He’s been kind of a big deal to some, across the pond, and carries the title – leader of the electro-swing movement as it stands. If you aren’t hip to this little niche genre of tunes, I would at least give it shot. I will find it very hard to believe you if you come back, and tell me that it didn’t have you at least tapping your foot and smiling just a little bit. As far as I know the guy doesn’t not often show up here in the States but I will be watching for news otherwise.
GEOCACHING UPDATE: I have been productive on this front. Since we last spoke I have added 4 more US states (up in New England) to my numbers, and 4 new countries as well. I’m not here to brag but I will say that a gorgeous sunset cache stuck in the wall of the Kremlin in Moscow, a confusing night wandering up a rope ladder in the dark monkey-scented jungle above a beach in southern Thailand and a quick find on a cliff overlooking the grey and stormy Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island come near the top of that list. More importantly, I am presently holding at 399 logged finds and waiting patiently for Dana to join me for the epic milestone. It is looking likely that we will make the grab passing through Indianapolis on our way to see the family for the holidays.
Also it would seem that one of the travelbugs I’ve started in honor of my sisters beautiful childern has finally gotten some miles. Kinley’s Kompass was set free in a 700 year old city wall in the Chiang Mai province of Thailand. With the help of some friendly international cachers, she has made her way up to the vast beer country of Germany. This is great news for my god-daughter, because when she’s old enough to understand how much of a nerd her uncle is, she’ll have a neat excuse to learn about the country her great-grandfather hails from. Here’s to hoping that it gets over to the States some day, but wherever it may wander, I support it.
FULL CIRCLE: Sorry it took me so long to realize this, internet, but I have finally figured out how to navigate this un-ending web of links, ideas and conversations that exist in the massive online world. There is this site called reddit. You have probably heard of it. I had, but I don’t think I ever really got what it is all about until just lately. Be warned, I am treading on very nerdy ground here, but the site is one of the most amazing congregate social platforms that I have witnessed in the wild. I think you might just have to take my word for it here, as I am certainly not going to geek out and explain how the thing works, but one thing I have learned in my downtime, here in Connecticut, is that more times than not, when people have a social forum to get together and create, humans are an incredible species, for better or for worse.
In my browsing around lately I have uncovered more efficient and (debatably) less biased ways of farming the web for news. I have had people from the other side of the globe help me describe how working in the maneuvering trailer for 12 hours at night feels, by hand drawing me a sketch of my words for me to share (see above). I have signed up to participate in the worlds largest world-wide secret santa gift exchange which should see over 200,000 participants (guiness world record setting) from ~160 countries will bring a smile with some holiday cheer of their individual choice, and I am very excited to help out with that one! I have actively taken part in open conversations with a girl in Hawaii sharing her thoughts on the current lava flow situation, and bill nye the science guy discussing his new book and shooting the shit with his internet following. I learned that if you want a pizza and you can plead your case, there is probably someone online who will order you that pizza! And most importantly I have found a way to, in a sense, organize and share who I am as a person with those who choose to care, and then effectively sort through the best of what the rest of the world has to offer and react and respond as I best see fit. Sure I am talking about filtering through the funniest GIFs and coolest internet stories and pictures making the rounds, but is it so far fetched to apply this line of thought to that unimaginably big real world we live in that I mentioned at the start of this post?
There’s a lot of space out there. A lot of ways to fill it and a lot of room for improving how it gets filled. The space might be physical, like in that McConaughey film, or it could be something more in line with a mental capacity or possibly emotional or even hypothetical or any other sort of social or personal emptiness. Be it music, space exploration, meeting people, gaining knowledge, finding happiness, browsing the internet or browsing the world around you, I am sure you can find some way to make the best of it if you try. I hope that these words shared here helped fill a little.
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
–Douglas Adams: Hitchhicker’s Guide To The Galaxy and some other intelligent fiction
PS. Please feel free to enjoy the new Calvin and Hobbes background. I can’t promise you won’t see more from this source in the future. Gotta play favorites sometimes! Still taking requests… if anyone actually reads this…
* all images from thailand, cambodia and russia were taken by me and editted by me also. hope you had fun!