My travels in the past few years

June 23, 2011

Talked with a few people who have read my blog in the recently and decided Id update it for the hell of it. Ill add a few things from some of my recent adventures because looking at site stats it seems im still getting over 15 people a week checking out this site.

The second I walked off the ship in 2009 I knew semester at sea was a life changing experience. Every day that goes by I realize more and more how lucky and life changing that experience was. 13 countries, 55,000 miles and a lifetime of memories in 4 months on that ship. Since SAS I have saved every dollar possible to feed my addiction of traveling. In the two years since semester at sea Ive explored Thailand, New Zealand, Honduras and Puerto Rico. In a week I am going on another trip of a life time. Here is our itinerary: Dublin–>London–>Paris–>Rome–>Madrid–>Pamplona (running with the bulls!)–>Barcelona–>Ibiza–>Amsterdam–>Prague–>Budapest–>Warsaw–>Berlin–>Dublin–>Cedar Rapids. All this in 5 weeks. Yes it is now officially an addiction. Ill just throw up some pics and big events from recent trips:

Thailand 2009:

This trip started being planned the week I got back from semester at sea. I saw so much cool stuff while traveling that I was able to persuade my closest friends to travel across the world with me. My one roommate, Adam keune, had never even been on a plane. His first flight was a short flight from Chicago to Tokoyo haha.

Some big things we did:

Visited the Grand palace in Bangkok. I have been to palaces, cathedrals, statues and other monuments around the world and this is the most impressive I have seen yet. Its strange architecture and shine set it apart for me. One funny story is that on our way in a guard came up to us and told us it was closed for a Thai holiday. He had a big gun and uniform so he seemed believable but we had heard there was scams so we kept going in. We found out that he was lying, he was trying to trick us into catching a $4 tuk tuk (taxi thingy) ride from his friend. How could that 4 dollar scam be profitable? Oh the joys of a third world country…

In our stay in Bangkok we also visited the floating market, went on a zoo tour, and boated around town on some shanty boats for a few dollars.

We also shot machine guns in Bangkok. That was expensive but easily worth it.

Probably the most dangerous thing we did all trip was driving around on mopeds in the traffic. Traffic in Bangkok is like Chicago traffic if all laws were suddenly abolished there. Sheer madness. We rode on mopeds several times and it felt like I was in a video game. We decided to take a risk and rent our own towards the end of the trip. They actually went 100km/ hr (60 mph) so these were not to be joked around with. Thai drivers disregard lanes and constantly honk their horn.

One vivd memory I have from renting mopeds was when we were sittign at the front of the line waiting at a red light. There were roughly 20 mopeds behind us at the red light. There was a countdown timer that clicked down so everyone knew when the light was turning green. Once the countdown timer got to about 15 seconds all the motorbikes revved up and started swerving around us. A few honked at us as they drove around us as they drove through the red light. Screw it I thought,  red lights red lights must not be a big deal here; we followed the stream of locals running the red light.

We then flew down south to Koh Phi Phi. We were escorted to this paradise by a small wooden boat. The local Thai captains, on our way over smoked a joint as they drove us through the crashing waves. Not surprising given their dreadlocks and hippie clothes.

We went snorkeling and partied around the island with other travelers. I dont have the time to do this place justice as it is one of the most chill, beautiful places ive ever been. One quick sketchy circumstance we ended up in: We hiked from the village on one side of the island to the other side so we could go snorkeling. We had a 1.5 hour hike over a small mountain and through dense jungle. There were also lots of shanty huts hidden for locals on the side of the path. We made it to the other side and snorkeled for a few hours. By the time we went to swim back into shore the tide had went down and there was a 100 yard area of rocks that had become exposed. The waves were smashing around these rocks so we debated what to do for a few mins. Were we supposed to swim around for hours until the tide went down so we could go in? Should we just attempt to make it through the rocks?

We decided we couldnt swim around the rocks, didnt have the energy to stay out in the waves so our only option was to try and ford through the danger zone. The water was literally 2-3 ft deep and we couldnt walk through it because there were so many sharp rocks and spiny sea urchins cluttering the path. With no other choice we hovered as close to the top of the water as possible. We frantically spread our arms and legs like starfish and tried to stay as far from the bottom as possible. I ended up with several large cuts on my stomach (which now I have a scar from). There were so many thousands of sea urchins in the path that I took off my flippers and started swatting them out of our path so they wouldnt stab us anymore (normally im all about leaving sea life untouched but this was an extreme circumstance). With a trail of blood behind us we finally reached a point where it was sandy so we could stand up. We erupted with joy and ran to the beach.

On our way out to snorkel...before we knew that the tide was going wayyy down to strand us

We were thrilled to be mostly unhurt from the experience but there was a downside; we had spent way too long in the water and it was now getting dark. We could not possibly make it through the jungle path in the middle of the night. Even if we had a flashlight im sure we would have looked like fresh meat for the locals in their little shanty huts that were on the side of the path. We nervously debated what to do as the sun set. We wandered down the beach a ways and found a small set of huts for honeymooners. We had only 20 dollars or so to our name but we told the owner our circumstance and he let us stay there. It was an amazing beachfront stay. That night thousands of fiddler crabs(the ones with one claw triple the size of the other) came out of their holes on the beach. First thing in the morning we snorkeled again from our beachfront property and then made thelong trek home. Ridiculously good experience and I love the hospitality of the Thais.

This is the path we went on for over an hour...wayy too dangerous to go by night

Where we were forced to stay...not too bad

Ok this is already going longer than I intended. I have a dental patient tomorrow real early so ill wrap up quickly.

After prying ourselves out of Koh Phi Phi we flew up north. None of us wanted to leave after only a week but we had to if we were going to make it to Chang Mai. In Chang Mai there was multiple other crazy incidences that I dont have time to get into. The main activities we did were elephant riding, cuddling with tigers, zip lining and shopping (everything was 1/5 the price as here….so amazing that it even made me love shopping).

Tigers in Chang Mai

View from our hotel over Chang Mai...wish i could go back

Ill try n update from some of my other trips before I leave. Not sure who out there is exactly reading this but leave a comment or something! Itll give me some encouragement to do more. Even if its just google bots or something I figure writing this out will at least make it so I can always remember my travels. Hopefully I dont die running with the bulls so I am able to go back to Thailand.

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One Response to “My travels in the past few years”

  1. sarah Guidry said

    Absolutely amazing!!!!!! I’m going to Europe next year in September. Switzerland (extreme sports), Amsterdam, Belgium (octoberfest!) and others but I haven’t decided for sure just yet bc there are too many places I want to see. This will be my first trip overseas.. eventually I want to go to Asia…

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