two zero one six

thirty-four things to do before I die:

1. hitchhiking across the United States, and all of the wonders therein.hitchhike2. seeing Thoth & Lila Angelique in person (after a decade of anticipation).thoth3. attending a mewithoutYou show, at very long last.mwy4. taking the exquisitely scenic train across Canada.canada5. visiting Australia (new country, new continent).australia

bonus items:

I. surprise trip to Florida to see some of my very favorite humans. (and The Top!!)gainesvilleII. revisiting the ever charming Astoria (and its seals!) with Jeremiah.
astoriaIII. roadtripping New England/visiting Vermont: land of Vil, with Sunita.vermont-ii
IV. spontaneous Port Townsend/couchsurfing-with-new-friends trip.ptii
V. taking on the northwestern northwest for Kate’s birthday adventures.nwnw
VI. attending the Pemberton music festival (as a VIP!) with Corey and Stazzie.pemberton
VII. finally making it to the Bahamas (new country) with Corey and Stazzie.bahamasVIII. eventually completing the Mosa Lina road trip via reuniting in long lost Boston.boston

I, for one, have had a stellar year.

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hitchmerica: in words

8/1 intuition
8/2 pink
8/3 forbearance
8/4 confirmation
8/5 transversal
8/6 ease
8/7 ken
8/8 acquiescence
8/9 appreciate
8/10 exceed
8/11 imprudent
8/12 squall
8/13 advances
8/14 familiarities
8/15 rest
8/16 sufficient
8/17 rummager
8/18 work
8/19 ordinary
8/20 rumination
8/21 firstovers
8/22 cycle
8/23 perseverance
8/24 happenstance
8/25 heritage
8/26 omission
8/27 review
8/28 suppress
8/29 restless
8/30 return
8/31 settle
9/1 recurrence
9/2 voice
9/3 queasy
9/4 queasier
9/5 sonmi
9/6 fig
9/7 ruin
9/8 milkblind
9/9 picturesque
9/10 care
9/11 between
9/12 re
9/13 elements
9/14 processes
9/15 heights
9/16 unready
9/17 quintessentials
9/18 qualms
9/19 fry
9/20 marvels
9/21 perusal
9/22 stages
9/23 staples
9/24 felicitous
9/25 saturated
9/26 reset
9/27 imprints
9/28 confetti
9/29 echoes
9/30 preemptive
10/1 deluge
10/2 focus
10/3 tantalize
10/4 perezidence
10/5 drive
10/6 frustrate
10/7 takeoff
10/8 omnifecta
10/9 drizzle
10/10 poignancy
10/11 double
10/12 poise
10/13 unbeknownst
10/14 episodes
10/15 walk
10/16 counteract
10/17 decongest
10/18 culmination
10/19 tender
10/20 bests
10/21 sequence
10/22 interruption
10/23 garlic
10/24 conclude
10/25 fancy
10/26 candle
10/27 forecast
10/28 recharge
10/29 in situ
10/30 enough
10/31 storytellers
11/1 accept
11/2 unnecessaries
11/3 northerly
11/4 westerly
11/5 symmetry
11/6 significance
11/7 sensitivity
11/8 didn’t happen (due to time travel)
11/9 bittersweet

my gear for Asia

Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack
This is the best backpack I could imagine. I don’t foresee ever switching. It more than holds everything I need, yet still fits into all carry-on spaces. I just recently squeezed it under the seat of a minibus where everyone else had to have their belongings tied to the roof. I also feel like due to it’s smaller size, you’re slightly more inconspicuous as a backpacker. Even packed full I can walk long distances (kilometers and kilometers) without ever feeling like it is especially heavy. Favorite item, for sure.

Sea to Summit Quick Dry Towel
I decided to try a different brand than whatever I had used on the Birthright trip. Not because I had been unsatisfied, just to see the difference. I do like the snap loop on this one, which is endlessly useful for drying it or keeping it out of the way when showering. It also has survived two months without washing in Southeast Asia without smelling, which, puts it a level above the Birthright one, which started smelling after like a week.

Terra Vista Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
First of all, their customer service is some of the best I’ve encountered in my entire life. On that alone it’s worth the price. But the actual product is superb as well. It was such an awesomely luxurious item to have throughout southeast Asia. Despite the high price tag, I am definitely satisfied and would recommend the investment.

Lifesaver Water Bottle
Back on US soil I was not excited about this giant contraption. But as I’ve been traveling with it, I’ve come to appreciate it. The downside is that, despite its large size, it doesn’t hold that much water. But it’s been well worth it. I figure I refill it a few times a day, saving myself at least $1/day. My trip is 92 days, so it has almost paid for itself. I’m sure I’ll start taking it on hikes once I get back home, too. I’m definitely a fan of having drinkable water without contributing to the plastic bottle industry. Yeah, I’ve saved $90+, but the amount of bottles I have refrained from using is well over 200.

Olympus TG-3 (tough) Camera
I have three qualifications for any camera I am willing to use, and especially travel with:
1. Has to fit in my pocket.
2. Has to be able to handle rough wear.
3. Has to be inconspicuous.
I refuse to carry around a bag for my camera. I like having pockets and that’s it. I don’t want to be constantly worried about it getting scratched or wet or dropped or smooshed. I’m very careful with my belongings, but I just don’t need that extra stress. And finally, I don’t want something that’s going to paint a target on me for thieves. I’d much rather have a small, tough camera that looks not-especially-expensive. This one does all of the above, and I’ve been really happy with it. I wanted to take it scuba diving, but figured I should probably focus on actually diving since it was my first time. Seeing as it survived taking a dive off a waterfall, I’d say it’s worth its salt.

Apple World Adapter Kit
I use this kit for all of my charging needs. So all I take is my USB plug, the country adapters (didn’t actually need them for southeast Asia), and the USB cable for my iPhone/iPod and camera.

Aladdin Collapsible Spill-Proof Bowl
I’ve never really heard of anyone traveling with something like this before, but I’ve found it really useful. I like to buy meals before long bus or train journeys and throw them in this. It’s nice to not have to rely on marked up tourist stops. And you can choose whatever you want. I tend to buy my favorite meal I had in each particular place and savor it one last time. Also, note: it is perfectly leak proof. Kudos.

iPhone.
I’ve gritted my teeth at smartphones ever since they started popping up. But now I probably wouldn’t travel without one. Previously I had just used my iPod touch and connected to wifi, and that’s fine. But it’s so useful to have a full on smartphone with Internet available anywhere. It’ll be an especially useful tool for future hitchhiking ventures. Getting local SIM cards seems so intimidating until you actually do it. But in reality it’s so simple and not worth stressing about. Also, you can get a month long data plans in most of southeast Asia at least for under $10. That said, if I couldn’t take an iPhone with me, I’m still totally comfortable taking just and iPod or something similar that works solely on wifi. It’s okay. There are plenty of cafes and hotels with wifi.

top five things I’m looking forward to upon my return to US soil

5. Breaking Bad. As much as I am not a tv show person, I got sucked into this one. (I fault you, Eoin and James of Cork!)

4. Having my own pantry (that I don’t have to carry on my back).

3. Not changing my geographical (and therefore social, mental, emotional…) location every two or three days.

2. The return of my mostly-vegan diet.

1. Seeing all the wonderful people I’ve not seen for six months (duh).

appreciate it appropriately

Things I have come to a new respect for:

1) Lotion. The usefulness of lotion is suddenly extremely apparent.

2) Belts. Are a great invention.

3) Toilets. Flushing toilets are surprisingly luxurious. Especially ones with non-see-through doors and locks.

4) Wool socks. They make all the difference in keeping warm.

5) Dry weather. Rain is in fact not completely joyous in all situations. Such as harvesting. Harvesting in the rain actually kind of sucks.

6) Clean clothing! It’s wonderful having clothing that doesn’t smell like goats. And as a bonus isn’t caked with mud.

7) And dryers!! Dryers are so novel. Who knew how wonderful dryers were? (UPDATE: Actually, this was written at the beginning of the trip. I am now less than enthralled with dryers. Luxury, not necessity.)

8) Nettles. Despite the awfulness of touching them, nettles are freaking delicious. (boil ’em, blend ’em, stick ’em in a stew…)

9) Having long(ish (for me anyways)) hair. Didn’t see that one coming. Ever again. But it’s true, my hair is longer than usual and it is really quite optimal in conjunction with the vivacious Irish wind.

10) Pubs. Irish pubs are absolutely the best things in the world. Everything you could possibly need, can be found inside the warmth of an Irish pub. Phone? Yeah. Internet? Yep. Place to store your luggage while you traipse the city? Check. A not-ridiculously-marked-up cup of tea to go with your internet? absolutely. Friendly people who are willing to help with whatever you happen to ask them? Pretty sure that’s a bingo.

11) Butter. I have never liked butter. Which is weird for a baker-y, chef-y type person. I’ve always preferred margarine, despite it’s completely inexcusable nutritional makeup. Butter just tastes gross. I’ve often wondered how people could ruin a perfectly good slice of bread by asphyxiating it with butter. But. Irish butter. Irish butter is a completely different thing. It is so creamy, and tasty, and…it actually improves a slice of bread!

12) Hitchhiking. Yeah, that way to achieve certain death that you always hear about? Mmm, not so true. That stereotype is specific to individual countries. And even in said countries I wonder how true it actually is. I personally really enjoyed my hitchhiking experiences. The people were lovely, and there is something about having to rely on others that strips you of the belief that you are in control. I refrained from hitchhiking during the latter part of this particular trip to appease my parents, but shhhhh!, I’m pretty sure there will be further hitchhiking ventures in my future.

13) Cell phones. Yes, not having a cell phone was glorious. Oh, what a wonderful feeling that was. But, alas not having a mobile did not only affect me. Admittedly it would have been loads easier/quicker to connect with CS hosts, Wwoof hosts, and other new friends if I had a mobile. Conceded, I’ll ameliorate the issue in the future. Maybe…

14) The sun. It’s true, the sun is actually pleasant in moderation!

You want there to be a fifteenth, don’t you? Too bad! There are fourteen. Deal with it.