India, A List 

Things I will miss:

-Cops enjoying festivals. The police more often than not during the many festive occasions in India would jump into the mix, becoming joyful participants rather than shutting them down. 
-Men holding hands. Love the lack of shame in men showing affection towards each other! 
-Monkeys making it thunder while clambering across the tin roof or sitting nursing their babies, watching us aspiring yogis with puzzled expressions while we perfected our form in downward dog.
-Colors. All of them. Everywhere.
-Delicious, inexpensive, perfectly spiced meals. With infinity types of bread. Maybe worth all the pooping. 
-Eating with my hands. So fun!
-Massive, vine-covered, green, mossy trees. Pure magic. 
-‘Ji.’ Peppered at the end of names or sentences, it made conversations that much sweeter.’Okay-ji!’
-Babies wearing eyeliner.
-Not having nearly every social gathering revolve around alcohol. 
-Sanskrit lettering, has there ever been a more beautiful written language? 
-Inexpensive yoga classes and Ayurvedic massages and fresh juice, nonexistent in California. 
-Papaya! Dear God, I don’t know if I’ve ever tasted anything quite so delicious as Indian papaya. One bite would cause me to wax poetic for the rest of the meal, I’m sure my dining companions looooved it. 
-Sunsets. The big red ball of a sun sinking into the mist behind the emerald Himalayas, while conch shells sounded from the banks of the Ganges, was pretty unforgettable. 
-Crickets singing me to sleep.
-Endless cups of chai.
-Being in bed/ usually asleep by 9:30pm every night.
-Sweet faced cows with their surprising grace, able to delicately lift their back legs to precisely scratch the tips of their noses. 
Things I will not miss:

-Waking up at 5:30 every morning. I was so confident I would at last be one of those elusive morning people by the end of my time in India, but it’s just not in my DNA. 
-Poop. On the ground, coming out of me, everywhere, all the time. 
-Heat and humidity. No one likes feeling like a hot, wet blanket has been thrown on top of you just because you went outside. 
-Honking horns. I never want to hear another horn for the rest of my life. 
-Poor service in restaurants. I don’t think I ever actually got what I ordered the entire time I was in India, despite having it repeated back to me and seeing it written down. Makes no sense. 
-Not understanding English… the Indian accent was a challenge for me, the amount of time I was left puzzling what had been said after someone had spoken to me in my mother tongue made me feel like an idiot. 
-People (men) cutting me in line. I want to cry sexism but I’m just not sure. 
-Feeling scandalous for exposing my knees. 
-Not using vowels. Vrt is a real word. I never had a chance. 
-People taking pictures of me/ with me. Still unclear why anyone would enjoy having a selfie taken with me, or what they do with it later.
-Crazy drivers. Said a lot of Hail Marys in the back of taxis, and I’m not even Catholic. 
-Staring! UGH. Men. Staring. Without pause. At me. Everywhere. All the time. Culturally not rude, I know, and I was warned about it in advance but it still shocked me and made me feel incredibly uncomfortable as a woman traveling alone. 
-Again, cows, with their intimidatingly large horns and loud bellows, causing traffic jams and blocking narrow alleyways.

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Blackbird

Sunset over the Ganges

After a week recovering from life in the clouds, I spent another 8 days trekking through the Markha Valley with some of my best friends from college. After days filled with laughter and snow-capped summits and skies more starry than I thought possible, it was finally time to leave my now beloved Leh. I arrived in Rishikesh after a south-bound flight over massive peaks, a steamy jungle town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, cut perfectly through the middle by the mighty Ganges River.
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Sunday Candy

The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing familiar is taken for granted. -Bill Bryson

i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping green spirits of trees and a blue dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes -e. e. cummings

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Prayer flags in front of Namagyal Tsemo Monastery

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The Traveling Kind

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If I’ve learned one thing in Asia so far…

After paddling and Hari Raya I felt pretty unmotivated to plan any further travels, a first for me. At the last minute I set off for Kuala Lumpur winging it, with the idea of visiting two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Penang and Melaka.

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Tip Pit

My malay vacay, which is fun to say (hehe), kicked off with a little magic. Just as I was heading to bed there was an urgent knock on my door informing me that there was a nest of baby turtles hatching.  I rushed next door to the Juara Turtle Project just in time to help transplant the hatchling hawksbills, and to watch them scramble towards the sea. There really is no cuter animal than a baby turtle, and as I walked back home shooting stars whizzed across the night sky. I couldn’t help but smile, little me on a little island floating in the South China Sea.

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Cotton candy sunrise

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Rock Steady

Rock steady baby, that’s what I feel nowwww. Well hello, dear family and friends that still have any interest in reading this. Can you believe I’ve been writing on this blog for 7 years? Here is a brief summary of what I’ve been doing: After two weeks cruising the classic tourist circuit around Cambodia, I spent a month working for Little Planet, an outdoor education company based in Tioman Island, Malaysia. A month flew by, spent mainly introducing groups of international private school students from Singapore to jungle trekking, kayaking, snorkeling and star gazing, as well as a detour to the wild jungles of Endau Rompin for a three day canoe trip and a field trip to Bali, where I learned how to mud wrestle men twice my size.  A painful 22 hour flight later I was back in California in my happy place working another quick season for Naturalists at Large, and after flitting around California for two months I hopped back on a plane to return to Malaysia for the summer. And here I am, writing during a two week vacation, after a jam-packed June.

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Strangler fig, my absolute favorite tree

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Bread and Butter

After 27 hours of initial transit from San Diego and with three new countries under my belt in under a week, I write this on a bus in Cambodia, on my way from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Thanks to jet lag I’ve been awake every night from 3-6am, so you’ll have to give me a pass as I attempt to record my first impressions from the trip so far, especially since this is my first timing blogging using my phone.
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The Moon As a Kite

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As the year comes to an end, I’ve managed to find yet another place to leave a piece of my heart. How can there be so much to love in this world?After finishing up a second season with Naturalists at Large, I took a canoeing trip with co-worker friends down the Black Canyon that basically rocked my world and spent the following week playing around in my old stomping grounds back east. Following a cozy Thanksgiving with family I then landed in Big Sur, where I pitched my tent to volunteer at the Henry Miller Memorial Library.
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The Littlest Birds

Catalina, White's Landing

Catalina, White’s Landing

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am- a reluctant enthusiast… a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breath deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.    -Edward Abbey

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Andrew Molera State Park

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Big Sur

Highway 1

Highway 1

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Sail On

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy; if the world were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I wake up each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it very hard to plan the day. — E. B. White

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