Angkor ruins

The other day Tazi woke me  from a gentle mid-day slumber with the news that we had a mere six weeks left in Asia (and what a final six weeks it will be with three friends from SF, one from NY, and another three from LA visiting). It also made me think of how I wanted to use the remaining time I had left as well as a moment to reflect (nap) about the past six weeks, which have been filled with every possible adventure I could have dreamed.

After Thailand, Tazi split and I went to Vietnam. The plan was the to travel down the coast solo via train and fly back to Bangkok to meet up with her (wow, that didn’t go as planned at all). After spending the coldest three days of my life (55 degrees, maybe) in the wonderful Hanoi, I booked an open bus ticket down the coast (rather then train, because of certain unimportant advantages and that the seat were BEDS) and headed to Hoi An.

However, first I made a day stop at Hue, the old capital of Vietnam. I saw an elephant stand cross legged, the grossest school of super large koi fish in the world, and went fishing in a moat with a big time creeper (inviting me on trips, weird eye contact, and whispering, the whole nine).

Then to Hoi An! After scouring the small and beautiful town for a place to stay for four hours and getting pick pocketed, I found a place for three times the amount I had been paying (the luxury suite is all they “had”). Set on making my night better than my day, I set out on the town. I met three Aussie girls who I kicked it with for the next couple days (they were on their way to Cambodia to teach English to school children, however had some extra time before hand). We where their for the Full Moon Festival, where the river is filled with boats and the old French style buildings and covered in Christmas lights. Everything and everyone is on the river to celebrate, with shows of every sort, live music, and floating candles in the water. The night was going well, however with a midnight curfew it seemed far too short. By chance we found a late night beach party which we were more than happy to attend. There I met two girls, Jenna and Caitlin from San Francisco (and got challenged straight faced by an Aussie to a “dance-off”. To cut it short they asked me to travel with them down the coast and by doing so save some money on rooms as well, I complied (Jenna is coming to Bali in two weeks to hangout).

Our next stop was Nha Trang, a beach town where we met their two friends, Dain and Tesha also from SF, who just arrived in Bali yesterday and meeting up (Dain and Kesha started in India and have made their way across the world to now Indo. Their plan is to go to Australia next and buy a van and live in it for a year while they work and drive the coasts. I am insanely jealous). Afternoons of beach pizza and micro brews, nights of pool and DZO’s, and the best BBQ I’ve ever had and we called it a trip.

Last stop, Saigon. A great city that gives less great haircuts. Museums, palaces, Spanish salsa dancing, and Banh Mi, Saigon was great so go there.

My plan was to fly to Bangkok, maybe head south Thailand for a bit and then meet Tazi (that didn’t happen). I procured a bus into Cambodia headed to Phenom Penh. The afternoon spent there was great but I was ready to move on. Siem Reap, Cambodia is where I finally met back up with Tazi, rather than Bangkok (for funsies). Our reunion was one of magic, fireworks, and so so soo many tears. We did out Angkor thing and our party thANG. Then on to Bangkok again, yawn.

Fun Facts about Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia ventures:

*Spent 120plus hours on buses.

*Went to Bangkok three times.

*Had pho twice in one day, four times.

*Met countless Aussies non of which were anything but blonde.

*If you buy two “buckets” you get a free t-shirt, and sick.

*Banh Mi is the most overrated sandwich since the Thanksgiving sandwich.

*Avocado smoothies taste like ice cream.

*If you get a $3 haircut in Saigon it will look like a $1 haircut from Afghanistan.

*Angkor Wat, Thom, Tha Phrom, were everything and more than I expected them to be.

*Saigon makes  mean Kabob sandwiches.

*DZO is the best beer I’ve had this trip and also the cheapest at 10 cents a pint.

*I can Skype Pete at 7am EST from a corner store in Vietnam with the help from a man with no arms.

*Lastly, don’t trust all street food, I made that mistake three times.

Today, we are back on the unbelievably beautiful cliffs of Ulu Watu. Eating, sleeping, drinking, and patiently awaiting our friends, who start coming tomorrow and the last one leaves in a month.

Woooo College!!!

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Kanchanaburi, Tazi, myself, and ones standard elephant.

 

For two months Tazi and I called Indonesia our “home” (sorry mother), it was where we felt comfortable, had friends, and knew our way around. Alas, the Indo government had had enough of our sophomoric (thanks Mr. Gow, 9th grade English teacher) yet hilarious behavior and said we had to leave the country for at least two weeks. Thus, departing the comforts of shack enclosed squat toilets, poisonous snakes, and a loose understanding of the language (me more so than Tazi) we left and headed to Thailand.

We found ourselves in the city of Bangkok where everything has a price from eating scrumptious pad thai or scorpions, to attending cultural shows or ones featuring ping pong balls. Together we ate our way through the city while viewing various culturally recognized locations (aka old things). I love you Bangkok, but you will be the end of me. Chew me up and spit me out, poor, tired, and dirty.

Tazi and I then headed West to the town of Kanchanaburi know for its Bridge over River Kwai (it’s kinda wack, just saying). We stationed ourselves at a guesthouse on the river which at night featured shows from local musicians and foster home children performing yoga (it’s called variety people, learn to love it). While there I met a fellow Emersonian (same year ’08 whaaat), Sam. He, his friends, Tazi, myself, and nine friendly Thai shared pleasantries late into the night, reminiscing about our emo and hipster littered higher education experiences over drinks from plastic buckets and music by the soothing lyricists known only as the Cali Swag District. We went to museums, river rafted, and rode elephants, typical Kanchanaburi.

Onward Northeast to Ayutthaya, a cultural and historical town where we celebrated the Chinese New Year beside hordes of locals and travelers alike. The town featured a massive night market selling everything from delicious Thai food to home security systems, as well as a very serious and televised beauty pageant (snuck backstage just to make sure), capped off by a giant dragon shooting fireworks from its mouth atop a 40 foot pole into the crowds below (yawn). Neeext.

Chiang Mai! Days were filled with exploring the old city and searching for saggy bottom pants. Nights were spent at reggae bars overlooking the city and people below as well as on couches set in courtyards blanketed by trees lit up by white Christmas lights.

Today I find myself in Bangkok, yet again, tomorrow I will be in Vietnam (Tazi stayed in Chiang Mai I’m pretty sure to massage/euthanize elephants). The plan is to fly to Hanoi and take a train down the East coast to the Ho Chi Minh City. It is a simple 1000plus mile ride, encompassing 45plus hours of butt punishing, stranger eye contact avoiding, pleasure-town fun. I chose it this way and I’m excited about it! I keep telling myself.

The trip will end with flights back to Thailand (and perhaps on to Cambodia or Koh Phi Phi), then back to Indo, then back to the US, thus completing my three level DiCaprio.

Banana Milkshake Time: Josh, Tazi, Christian, and myself

Ulu Watu is a surf community to the world. It was once a single cliff but now represents a set of them occupied by tin roof shanty towns precariously perched along the sides over looking world class breaks and one breathtaking cave you have to paddle through if you want to surf.

After a couple day layover in Ubud for kicks (kid stuff!), Tazi and I decided to hit the cliffs of Ulu. We found a homestay owned and run by a kind woman and her family (who believe they can sing Indo pop songs in tune, which they cannot) named Susie, on the cliffs overlooking the beaches of Bingin, Dreamland and Impossibles. We got word that our friends Christian and Josh from the LBC (baby!) were coming as well. We ran into them on the street the next day and Team America was born (again).

Josh and Christian are two Irish Catholic SoCal bros on a month long trip from the States that we had met in Kuta, Lombok (who went home yesterday, single tear). From a family of seven kids,they are more active than I thought a human could be (Christian wants to complete an Iron Man soon and said the half Iron Man was not that bad, I threw up upon hearing this. Josh is a Special Ops for the Rangers, Rescue Paramedic, and does other things he told me after I fell asleep). They told us stories of road tripping the West Coast on an Eating Challenge (Man vs. Food style) as well as their plan to ride their bikes across Europe next summer because they already have done Portland to LA. While trading stories I didn’t mention the time I taught myself origami for a day because I thought they would be intimidated. We took Ulu by the coin purse and had adventure after adventure. Our time with them can be summed up by these words; torpedoes, mie georeng challenge, BANANA MILKSHAKE TIME!, arak attack, spicy peanuts, big head challenge, moldy pizza, stubbing toes and meeting bros, JW Red, side b’s our love/sick obsession for (respectively)bananas, carrots, peanut butter, and eggs , corrupt cops and belly flops just to name a few. They will be missed.

PS. Planet Earth

A couple day ago Team America along with Jay and his wife Linda (he owns surf shops on an island off the coast of France and he himself is extremely French), Nikki (Brussels), and Anya (French also) took a early morning trip to Green Bol, a surf spot 20 or so minutes away that features 325 steps down to the white sand (awesome choice Jay). As soon as we got down (and dry heaved for 11 minutes) we checked out some of the caves that have been carved out by the pounding swells. The first one we found threw our stuff down in the sand and dug in. Jay had told us about the next cave over that was occupied by hundred of bats (which I’m toootally not scared of). We timed the waves smashing the cliffs and darted over. We stood there on the rocks (covered in guano, no heads up on that) and scanned the cave full of hundreds of screeching and swarming bats. Then Jay pointed out something that was not there the day before, a four foot long snake (boa maybe? It was a constrictor for sure). The snake was clinging to the ceiling of the 30ft cave Toby Maguire Spiderman style with the front half of its body dangling and wound up like a spring. As soon as we got over our hatred of Toby the snake was began sniping bats out of the air, until he caught one it curled up and the bat flapped away till he “fell asleep”. A real life Planet Earth episode before my eyes (B-Slam!). We bounded over the rocks back to our cave (I took a dip first, again the guano, serious no heads up) and surfed the rest of the day in a thunder storm.

View of Kuta, Lombok from Ashtari a vegetarian lunch spot

Gili Air

Scuba Advanced Open Water certiff and course was epic (financial thank yous are owed to my mother and father), Manta Dive was amazing, the instructors John, Pia, and Tony thank so you much. Dive partners French guy, Belgium bloke, and Carolina the “German Genius” thank you. Mom, Dad, I saw a bunch of turtles, puffer fish, dragon fish, sting rays, and a white tip reef shark. I went over 100 feet underwater, got whipped around coral reefs by strong currents and swam through a school of over five hundred barracuda and sunfish. I did a night dive in complete darkness with only a “torch” and the comfort of Carolina. New Years in two sentences: A massive storm hit at 11pm that bombarded the little island of Gili Air with inches of rain, cracks of thunder that shook our chests, and lightning bolts that made the fireworks looks like fireflies. The drinks were good, the people were great, the night was capped with dancing in the rain on the white sand beaches.

Kuta, Lombok

Twelve days will never be so missed. Days and nights of  adventures with the Long Beach boys Chris and Josh and Dimitri the Russian Spiderman. So many white sand beaches we couldn’t find them all (we tried). Surfing overhead swells with Chris, Josh, and Rudy 20 minute boat rides off a small coastal town highlighted my trip (and Kentucky Fried Chickened my nose). Night lessons of Russian around eggnog rum and banana milk shakes were endless and epic. Scatter in some light morning reading, The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, and you have a day. Add some Nasi Campur and omelette breakfast sandwiches and you have almost two weeks in the life.

Our adventures have taken us in many directions and we have met many people along the way. However, so far none have surpassed the people and places we explored in Kuta, Lombok.

Christmas night in Ubud

 

Every year since I can remember I have done Christmas and Chanukah with my family in Boston. The tree, white lights, wrapping presents, the whole dang deal. Typically all is preceded by a nauseating bombardment of holiday songs, cheer, visiting friend and family, a few CT’s here and there, and those GD bells. However this year’s holiday season came and went sans sweaters, wrapping paper, a tree, or even lights (there were a little here and there). Bali, being a Hindu island was sparse with its use of cheer and tinsel. What it lacked in ones standard décor it made up with fresh flowers, relentless beautiful weather, and a few tourists fueled Merry Christmas’s (highlighted by my go to lunch spot A’AM’s for $6000 rupiah chicken satay and rice, love the kids, love the family).

Christmas brought with it the arrival of Carol (Tazi’s mother who I have subsequently named my moustache-in-progress after and will set free with her departcher as well as a single tear), a well received wine and dine dinner at Terazo, followed by drinks into the night at a Cuban salsa bar with my travel partner. The change of scenery and company was lovely, however holidays with my family can never be replaced (Eva & Maya are truly missed).

Our last night in Ubud was one of our best. A dinner at Dewa, our local warung where the food and beer prices can’t be beat, preceded by happy hour drinks with Carol. At dinner we met two French travelers who bought one way tickets, who we are meeting soon in either Lombok or the Gilis, as well as two Brazilians, Felipe and Roberto who had moved to Bali a few years ago and were working on an expansive liquid diet that evening. Post dinner was a trip to an all local bar on the outskirts of town with the Brazilians (who fells asleep in their chairs) where I hosted a lesson in “quarters” to a group of Balinese patrons fueled by a drink they called “blue eyes.” Typical.

Ubud and Bali is now a memory as today we traveled via multiple hour-long vans and a four-hour ferry ride (spent sleeping nursing a bit of a hangover on a wood bench) to Senggigi on the island of Lombok. Tomorrow we will take another ferry to Gili Air, one of three islands (Gili “T” Trawangan and Gili Meno the other two), where we will spend New Years and take I will take PADIs Advanced Open Water Diver course amoung their many coral reefs, manta rays, and reef sharks (deep diving, underwater navigation, night dives, underwater photography, and DPVs/underwater scooters).

My holiday season was one that was made great and memorible by people from all over the world, new friends and old. It was not the comfortable and familiar one I could never imagine living without, however Christmahak in Bali was one I will never forget and am still recovering from.

Monkey Forrest with Alex & Dan

Change is a scary word for some, others it is an exciting one, for most it is a mixture of both. Ben – Portland, OR, Ryan – LA, Adam – SF, Jay – Cleveland, my wonderful mother – Boston, my once pregnant sister – Cartagena, Colombia.

Yesterday I met Alex and Dan from London, two mid-twenty year-old posh English-speaking fellow travelers. I welcomed them to our communal patio, after I awoke from a late morning. They were two and half months into their own six month adventure already covering Thailand, Borneo, and Cambodia among others. They are here in Bali for a week and then off to Singapore, Sydney, New Zealand, Fiji, and finally LA/San Diego/Santa Barbara/SF, before heading back across the pond. We shared travel and life stories over dinner and late into the night, stopping on our way back to Tunjung Bungalows for ice cream and other sweets. We talked about everything from horror (hilarious/inappropriate) hostel dormitory stories, Dan’s early on unexplainable fear of late night passport thieves, to our varying governments and political systems. However, what we kept coming back to was what inspired our adventures and what was left behind.

She (Alex) had left a job at an insurance company where she had been for some time and was steadily climbing the ladder. He (Dan) was a writer applying to various programs, courses, and jobs in London. Both, like Tazi and I, would talk deep into the summer nights about the urge to travel the world before having to “settle down,” or as Dan put it, “take out a mortgage and get on with it.” At some point our conversation shifted from our own respective wants and desires to see and experience the new, unknown, and at times scary world, to action. We together realized the transition from getting excited and looking up pictures of distant wonderlands to sitting at and computer a dropping 13 and a half hundo on a dang ticket and making all these foggy late night dream talks into a reality.

The two of them come from the same circle of friends back in London. They have known each other since they were 12 years-old. When they told their friends of their plan (already having purchased tickets) that spanned the world they didn’t know what to expect. From one side they did not want anyone to feel as though they were being left behind and at the same time, for the two of them, the time was right and it was right now. Many of their friends had said they wanted to join however only one ultimately will, meeting them in Sydney right before Christmas for the reminder of their travels.

Alex and Dan had been talking about a trip for six years, while Tazi and I only for a month before getting our tickets. However, we connected with them about why some take the blind leap into the fire searching for an ultimate change in their lives and perspectives of the world, and why others are forever bound to talk late into the night.

Change is so scary at times that it can almost be paralyzing, whether it be quitting your job, moving to another city, or ending a toxic relationship. Change in its hands brings the new and unknown. On my last leg from Tokyo to Singapore where I was to meet Tazi, I was unexpectedly filled with anxiety that I was subconsciously trying to mask with Johnny Walker and ten minutes of The Expendables here and eight of Salt there. I was afraid, of not finding Tazi in Singapore, of getting robbed, of getting hurt, of the all the unknowns and uncertainties that comes with adventures.

Today is Day 22. I left Boston three weeks ago. Last night I realized why unlike other times I have explored new “worlds” why I was so nervous. It was because, for me all of the opportunities, challenges, and endless possibilities that this trip brings into Tazi and my lives. I had no idea what to expect (overwhelming evidence can be found in my packing) and still do not know what the days leading up to April 27th, when I see Adam (and hopefully Ben, Ryan, and Jay. Manfest? Is that really what were going with?) in SF, hold for me.

I was given two pieces of advice before I left that I have taken to heart. First, “say yes to everything,” which I am trying to do with my best conscious. And second, “there will be times when you will need to lift a boulder and it may seem impossible. Those are the times when you will need to find something deep inside of yourself that you only know is there when you have conqured it.”

Ubud: Out & about looking for a homestay

Sanur was the beach town I’d imagined it would be. Similarly, there was a strong Aussie presence, yet this time it was older ex-pats running restaurants and bars, rather than the Cabo-esque Kuta, where they were the fuel of the fire. Tazi and I gained our traveling footing here. The first couple homestays were full and we were out on the street with our 40lbs bags in midday sun, and I’d say about 700% humidity. With the help and bargaining with some locals we found Gustav’s, a homestay down a “gang” (ally) 50 meters or so. We had AC for the first time (caught a cold) and sporadic running water. The room itself was somewhat bigger than the bed occupying it. However, it did the job and had the perfect second story patio made for late night story trading.

On our first night in Sanur we met Mike and Holly, a couple from SoCal looking for the perfect wave. They are on a similar trip as ours but covering more countries, eight months, and a larger budget. They called it their “honeymoon”. In the end they switched homestays to ours for the AC and friendly faces. We are meeting up with them again on Lombok later this month for drinks and to trade Indo stories.

Sanur was great. We were able to appreciate Bali for the welcoming paradise that it is. However, we wanted more of a beach experience and headed to Nusa Lembongan, a surfing and diving mecca filled with white sand beaches an hour boat ride away. We spent four nights there in a beach front bungalow. Our days were filled with swimming, reading, motor bikes, exploring the many beaches and mangroves, and our first impromptu cock-fight. It was the detox and relation we sought after (sans the gnarliest bike ride up the steepest mountain I’ve ever been on). We cleared our minds and bodies of all toxins.

Today we are at Warung (cafe/small restaurant) Ijolumut in Ubud. We arrived this morning in the middle of a downpour that has since ceased and the typical 85 and sunny has returned. We got a room here for two weeks to settle down, take our time, and make a temporary home. Ubud is known as the artistic and cultural center of Bali, and so far it lives up to it. The streets are lined with every type of gallery and artisanal restaurant you could desire. Tazi is volunteering with dogs and I am hoping to take classes in Balinese cooking and batik (a type of color staining).

LA feels as though it were a month ago and Boston and its bone chilling wind a life time (The Price of Thieves is helping though, can’t put it down). Our language skills are improving everyday, we know the basics for daily life (Saya minta dua Bintang dingin) and then some. Nights are spent watching the sunset with people from our homestay, our hosts, and people met around town, and together fill the night with learning Balinese/English, breaking bread, and sharing a few. Life is more minimalist and basic than I had imagined and I enjoy it more than I thought I would. The people are beautiful and the most kind and gracious people I have met in my travels. The sincerity and polite nature of the people of Bali is unlike anything else.

The feeling of not knowing or caring about the time or date, or even this afternoon is a freedom I know is temporary. However, the next five months will be filled with new joys, adventures, and challenges that I hope to learn and grow from. I feel so removed from the world I knew. This wonderful country is still a dream in my mind. Tazi says it feels like we have been here few weeks, I still think a month.

Nusa Lembongan: View from our bungalow

Bali. I am now in Bali. However the trip here was anything but a straight shot. I left LA and the comforts of familiar faces, for two 10 plus hour flights that were Scotch and movie filled (The Expendables, yehk). I landed in Singapore at 2am local time to the warning from the kind and stick thin stewardess that chewing gum is illegal. Tazi had landed hours before and for all I know hopefully got a taxi, found our hostel The Hive, and was able to check-in even though they had closed hours before. I now had to do the same. All went well and I showed up at our hostel 45 minutes later to darkness at The Hive, mentally I was prepared to again sleep on the hot summer sidewalk (Gaby). The heat was not Boston summer. The humidity was Hong Kong-esque (felt as thought I forgot to towel off after a shower). To say it was hot and sticky is like saying Rob is kinda short. In the dim light I saw Tazi on the computer next to the pool table typing away and all my worries lifted off me. We embraced and realized it really had begun.
The following day was spent exploring Signapore for all that we could fit in. We awoke at dawn to walk around and explore. We took the MRT (subway) to Marina Bay Sands, the most over the top extravagant hotel/casino/building/shopping center I have ever seen. Google image it, my words cannot express what we saw. Next was Little India were we had an amazing lunch drenched in sweat (after three minutes outside your body is something unimaginable and beastly). I also stepped up my gentleman game and purchased Tazi a refreshing and thirst quenching extra stout beer.

Singapore is the cleanest place I have ever been to. It feels overwhelmingly safe to almost a surreal and artificial degree. Organization and development is the name of the game in those parts. Go there.

Before we knew what was going on we were off to Bali. Today I am sitting in Kuta where we have been the past two days. It is a crazy mix of people from all stretches of the world (mainly Aussies) and more clubs, cars, bikes, and debauchery than one can imagine. We decided this was not what we had in mind and are leaving two days early for Sanur, a sleepy beach town, nicknamed “snooze” 30 minutes away by bus. White sand, coral reefs, beach huts, and late night eats and drinks is what we have in store. We are then jumping over to Nusa Lembongan, an island occupied by mostly locals and ex-pats.

I have forgotten about my phone, facebook, gmail, the internet faster than I expected. The world is so enormous, strange, wild, and so small, familiar and beautiful if you chose to go see it all (thank you Jay for your poetry bombs, it made me realize my comfort zone is when I am not in it).

What a wonderful world, I want to see it all.

 

Summer weekend on the Cape with best friend Rob and many others

Tomorrow I leave the States for an adventure that is filled with new cultures, people, and places. Tazi and my journey throughout South East Asia and beyond is about to begin. Oddly, however fully packed and on the other side of the US, I feel as though I haven’t left anything yet. It could be Ry and Mels’ hospitality, it could be denial, it could be my nerves, but Indo and the next half year feels like weeks away and not tomorrow.

I have spent the last five days in LA with one of my oldest and best friends Ryan and his wonderful Melissa, who possess a angelic singing voice that can only be enjoyed first hand or by the Gods themselves. I could not have thought of a better send off. Being with old friends brings me a level of comfort and nostalgia (Jay read out loud) that is not understood until you are with them again.

My last days on the East Coast were filled with sad goodbyes, family, close friends, and great nights (and jacket stealers). Trips to NYC and seeing best friend Jay and Adam home for Thanksgiving made it more than I could have ever wanted. I will truly miss the connections with friends and family that have meant so much to me and made me who I am today (I’ll be getting a PO Box so step it up Santa and Jewish Santa).

Ahead of Tazi and I is an endless unknown. I am filled with so much anticipation, nervousness, excitement, fear, relaxation, and pure bliss mixed up so much one emotion is indistinguishable from another. I have been on trips this far from home before and have left with less preparation, however I have never felt the way as I do now.

I want to thank my parents for instilling in me an insatiable curiosity and the ability to pick up and go without hesitation.

It starts tomorrow if it has not already (Haaaaahooooooooo!)

Thank you everyone for the love and well wishes.

Eva, Ruth & Deigo in Cartegena

I recently had a late night chat-sesh with my lovely, wonderful, caring, and strangely ageless mother. We were trading stories of days past. We staring talking about the astounding (almost to the point of obnoxiousness) list of places my sister Ruth has lived and visited. Every nook and cranny (personally love the crannies) of this beautiful wide world, sans Asia (I’ll hold that one down for us Ruth) is my sisters playground.

She is the smartest person I know, plain and simple. Ruth is an annoyingly gifted artist (collages, drawing, painting, poetry, or everything hip hop, what-have-you). She is a loving, devoted mother (Eva & Maya) and wife (the Diego). She was created to be a mother and raise beautiful children, it’s honestly a God given talent of hers. But Ruth is more than an older sibling to me, she is eight years my senior, which has created a unique dynamic. My mother always told us that all we have is each other and instilled in us that family is everything.

Together we shared the unique experience that was childhood in the Henry household. Ruth is my best friend and a mother rolled up into one always there for me, never judgmental, slap me in face when I need it (often), sister. She has put me up during hard times in high school, and kept me in place when I started to get wack-attack. I am my sisters little brother.

Ruth started solo traveling when she was 17 with trips to Central America (Guatemala & El Salvador). She did some Cuba, Jamaica, and a some more skips and jumps in that area. Since, she has been to so many places it’s not worth the time (I’ll just do the Dougie instead). However, the trip that defined her in my eyes was at the young age of 24 (eh eh eh, see where I’m going with this). She was awarded a Fullbright and took off to Cartagena, Colombia, much to my mothers chagrin (threatening to cut her own pinky finger off, seriously), nevertheless she went. Both my mother and myself visited her while she was there. It was my first time out of the States (sans Montreal, wooo! Salamom, Jay, Sperling I’m looking at you) I was 17. She had successfully passed the traveling bug to Con and myself. We were addicted. The world was so full of unknown adventures and challenges. So many stories to be made, told, and retold.  The world is where I will find myself and define myself.

Ruth the scout showed my family the beauties of the world. She held our hands abroad and let them go when the time was right. She opened our eyes, minds, and souls to the diversity of people and cultures which we live with as well as the great injustices. She has forever changed my father, mum and myself with her instilled curiosity for the world.

My sister opened the world to me when I was young and is my guide today.