Blog Break

As I sit here in this tiny airport in the Himalayas, I realize what a long, strange trip is has been.

I left the US over a month ago, and have had a vast number of experiences so far. Yesterday, I had the realization that I have only “worked” in the traditional sense for a total of 4 months this year. Considering that I’ve lived in NYC and traveled to Austin, Baltimore, DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boulder, Thailand, Fire Island, India, and so many other locations along the way – it was a rather awesome moment.

India has been a phenomenal time so far. We’ve traveled from Delhi → Ranthambore → Udaipur → Jodhpur → Chandigarh → Dharamsala → Trivandrum → Alleppey and now to Kochi, and have had unforgettable experiences along the way.

Little amounts of money go a long way in these parts of the world, and it hit me that working a middle-income job for a year could easily allow a person the opportunity to travel for at least the same amount of time if you save and spend wisely.

Embarking on this journey, I had commit to myself that I was going to try and write daily, and aim to publish posts on a more frequent basis. This has proven far more difficult than I could have imagined. To be fair, internet connectivity has really jammed me up more than once, particularly in terms of uploading photos, but at the end of the day it is still an excuse. While traveling, there is an endless amount of things to do, places to see, and people to meet – and I’ve chosen to do those things instead of writing.

I’ve found that the longer I wait to write, the more difficult the actual process of writing becomes, largely due to the feeling that I have an insurmountable amount upon which to catch up on. As a result, the few times I have written the quality of my stories have suffered and I have not enjoyed the process as I’ve simply been listing things that happened in my struggle to catch up to the present.

The past few days, the blog has felt more like a past due homework assignment than what it was meant to be, a fun way of sharing stories with friends and recording memories. The self-imposed weight has caused me some stress and has prevented me from being fully present and focusing on the intentions I had set for this trip. Stress and not being fully present – particularly when traveling – are two of my least favorite things.  As a result, I have decided to take a break from the blog until I get back home and am excited to write again.

For the few folks that follow along, I appreciate you, and look forward to sharing more stories soon!

Much love,


The Orange Juice Incident

After our slight flight hiccup, we managed to get from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and headed on towards the train station to catch our overnight ride to the ferry that would eventually get us to Chiang Mai.

Neither of us had been on an extended train ride, and were rather optimistically expecting a Hogwarts express like experience. The Chumpon express didn’t quite measure up, but it was manageable, and the bunk beds were actually pretty comfortable.

As we settled in, a seemingly friendly Thai woman was running up and down the aisles offering out menus and communicated that she was serving dinner. Hungry, we both picked reasonably priced meals which came with a beverage. We placed our orders, and she offered us water, orange juice, or a soda to go along with our meals and we both asked for orange juice.


A deceiving smile

She came back with our meals, and after staring at our food for about 30 minutes (she forgot to give us cutlery), we had a solid meal and were generally satisfied with the overall experience.


That was, until she came back with the bill. She handed us the bill, and to our surprise it was nearly double what we had expected to pay. Confused, we inquired further, and she said that we had to pay 90 baht each for the orange juices (90 baht is good for roughly two full meals in many Thai towns, and though only the equivalent of $3 each in USD, it is a significant amount in Thailand). As our meals had included drinks, we asked to see the menu and pointed at the to where it said “Free Drink!” in bolded letters.

The seemingly sweet woman began getting upset, and this is when things began to turn ugly. She started saying she gave us the large orange juice which cost more. We asked why she didn’t give us the normal size ones like we ordered, and in broken English she said that she was out of normal size so we had to pay extra.  Jason taught me this is a greasy, yet common, “business” practice that some Thai folks engage in to trick foreigners into false charges.  We told her we weren’t going to pay for the juices because she told us they were included, and then her fake smile made way for full fledged anger.


She began yelling at us, repeatedly screaming “Just a moment!” for some lost in translation reason, and then started hooting and hollering about how she was going to “call the police.” As Jason spoke enough Thai to explain the situation, we were happy to have them come.

She stormed off and reappeared moments later with a train conductor. Worked up, she quickly began explaining in Thai the situation while we shared our perspective. The poor conductor, caught in the middle of this awkward moment simply shrugged his shoulders as if to say keep me out of it, and quite literally walked away from the situation.

The little woman, clearly unsatisfied with this outcome, continued to scream “I get police!” as she ventured off into a different compartment. At this point, we had been arguing for over 15 minutes, and rather exhausted, Jason and I agreed to simply pay this woman the bullshit charges just so she would leave us alone. The only problem was she didn’t come back. Finally, after 30 minutes tense moments of hoping to put this experience behind us, she reappeared. Without a word, she threw a small orange juice container (the size we should have had with our meal in the first place) onto Jason’s bed and stormed off through the compartment.

At this point, our anger turned to disbelief, and we couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. She had  the proper size OJ for our meals all along, but gave us big ones to make us pay more, and then due to our argument she put the small one on Jason’s bed so that she could show the police that we should pay for both!

Tired of arguing, we finally caught her as she bumbled through and begrudgingly paid her the “full” amount. Without even the slightest acknowledgement or thank you, she continued on her way.

As she walked away, Jason threw the small grenade shaped orange juice container on to my bed, and wanting nothing to do with it, I tossed it back to his bed. In midair, the bottle hit his railing, and as if in slow motion, the grenade exploded upon hitting the floor and splattered all over the compartment.


A messy situation all around


Lesson Learned

Choose your battles

Sometimes, it’s better not to argue. I hate getting cheated more than anything. People trying to take advantage of others, particularly in a business context pushes my buttons and I generally won’t stand for it, which is why we fought back. Apparently she had done the same thing to all the foreigners in our cabin, and scared by the thought of the Thai police, they conceded. While I hated paying extra for no reason, particularly to someone like her, I realized that fighting it was much more of a headache than it was worth, and even if we had “won” it would have meant hours of argument, and after we left, she would simply do the same thing with the next foreigners on the train. It served as a reminder to choose my battles wisely, and remember what I really want out of a situation.


More Travel Mishaps

Still catching up to the present (only two weeks behind!), but here are some more stories from Thailand.

The morning of the 19th, exhausted from the shenanigans of the previous evening, we awoke exhausted and excited to embark on the next leg of our journey. We were headed to a small island called Koh Tao (Turtle Island), world renowned as one of the best places to dive and learn how to dive.

After many days of debate, we decided getting PADI certified was a good investment, and couldn’t wait to get started. The only issue was that it is a total pain the ass to get from Chiang Mai to Koh Tao, and just generally to move around Thailand. I’m not sure why, but getting pretty much anywhere feels like it requires about a million transfers and random stops.

Anyhow, our plans were set: we were to fly from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, hop on an overnight train to Chumpon, and then catch a morning ferry to Koh Tao. Total travel time: 21 hours.

A place down the street had this dank looking tilapia that I’d been meaning to try, so I packed my bags, and went to devour some fish. I had been running low on time and the taxi was waiting, so after quickly eating, I ran back to the guesthouse ready to get our long journey started.

To my confusion, instead of being ready to go in the taxi, Jason, along with the guesthouse staff were huddled around a computer with concerned looks on their faces. Turns out, we were had some flight issues. Instead of booking a flight from Chiang Mai – Bangkok, we had actually booked a flight the inverse direction from Bangkok – Chiang Mai. As we were already in Chiang Mai, the flight we had booked was rather useless at this point, and I started laughing uncontrollably. In the past 7 days, I had experienced more travel mishaps than I had in the past year.

There were a few more flights headed out that afternoon which would still allow us to catch our train, so we said goodbye to the Jaja family, and headed off to the airport to book new flights. Definitely a hiccup in our trip, but a manageable one, and a few days removed it’s rather amusing to look back on.

Lesson Learned 

It’s going to be OK. Whatever happens, remember it’s not a big deal and that you will be okay. Energy flows where attention goes, so keep the adventure, not the mishap in mind.

There’s always a solution. It might not be ideal, and might take you longer than you had hoped – but whatever it is, there is almost always a way to make it better. It might not appear instantly, but instead of panicking, spend your energy looking for that solution and move forward.