Bike rides and vineyards | Inle Lake, Burma

IMG_3391 IMG_3389 IMG_3385 IMG_3392 IMG_3394 IMG_3396 IMG_3408 IMG_3414 IMG_3416 IMG_3410 IMG_3404When I went to Inle, I packed only a tiny bag, my camera, and a phone. I think I brought the wrong lens with me, because the beauty of all of Inle cannot be captured fully with a 50mm lens.

On my last day in Inle, I rented a bike and ended up deep in the hills. It was not in my original plan for the day, but I often think days spent doing something unexpected are far more rewarding in the end. After several sweaty hours on the bike, I found the Red Mountain winery and fell in love. A French winery in Burma = heaven.

The view was striking, the wine was decent, and the conversations and laughter shared with new friends was memorable to say the least.

For now, I’m back in Yangon with lovely company, a new place to rest my head, and so much to look forward to!

These days have been happy ones.

Magical Inle Lake

IMG_3084Back in Yangon after a terribly quick, but beautiful two days at Inle Lake.

I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go after all the time spent in Yangon, but realized I needed to be around water. I woke up the other morning and decided Inle and booked a bus a few minutes later. I packed only a tiny bag and left everything else in Yangon. It is a strange but comforting feeling to know you’re completely free and open to anything life throws at you.

It was a good decision. And I’d recommend the place to anyone.

For now, its back to Yangon and to the city I’ve learned to love. I must admit being able to tell direct a taxi to an address over an hour away felt quite rewarding this morning.

This last week will be crazy and filled with trying to squeeze everything in and learning how to come to a good stopping point. . . I’m still learning that. . .

At night

IMG_1158 IMG_1163 IMG_1175At night, two colors pervade this city – gold and blue.

These days have been wet, very wet and filled with walking long distances (just to save $2 and see more of the city), funny conversations with strangers, and my attempt to explore food (all food here). Walking around with a heavy camera is nothing new for me, but I find that I often want to ditch it and everything I have and dance in the rain. Something about the place makes me want to abandon everything and spend my days wandering like a monk.

So far, and as I’ve been told numerous times, internet is slow (very slow) and hard to come by and the food is oily. Other than that (and maybe the constant wet and the early mildew of all my possessions), I have absolutely no complaints. I find that I am perfectly content and enjoying my solitude. I’m staying at a tiny budget inn not too far from the water and I feel that these days have been important for me.

I find that when I travel I often opt for the “slow and sweaty” route and in doing this, I challenge myself to be patient. In Yangon, I also have been practicing patience and practicing the art of living quietly and living alone. While I’ve had great encounters with strangers so far, I feel that this is only the start of nearly a month of living here. I’m enjoying both the conversations and the times of silence.

For now, I am (patiently) waiting to check my email and doing yoga in my tiny, concrete room. I’ve got rain-soaked and mango-covered leggings on now and I’ve only been in the city for a few days and I already smell like it (and I don’t mind it one bit).

Life update, or something

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I’m currently writing from my bed back in Davidson with my new bunny love Winnie on my lap.

Today has been spent packing, reading, and preparing for yet another summer in Asia. When asked why I keep going back there, all I can think of is this — I’m seriously hooked on the continent. I have been entirely in love with the continent since I was seventeen and I cannot imagine my life today without that early introduction.

Already, I can feel that this summer will be incredibly different and yet, somewhat familiar. Packing for several months abroad is far more enjoyable than daunting these days and the only thing I really dread is lugging all my camera gear around with me everywhere I go.

One of the main reasons this summer will be different is because of all that is going on in the two places I plan to spent my time  РThailand and Burma. I somehow managed to book a flight the same day a coup started in Thailand and while I am a little worried that it will alter my plans, I know that this experience will be unforgettable and I feel ready for most anything.

I head out on Wednesday and am terribly excited to spend time with Amirah before heading to Thailand.

The past few weeks have been incredibly rewarding and I am so thankful for all the work I have been able to accomplish and take part in (including an amazing experience at CPJW in Eastern, NC just a week ago! *More on this coming soon!).

I cannot seem to wrap my head around the idea that it has been a year since last summer’s adventures. This time last year, I was in Rishikesh at an ashram and spending a good deal of time in silence.

Ruins | Tulum, Mexico

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More proof of why 2013 rocked.

Mayan ruins in Tulum.

The other afternoon I attempted to make sense of more photos and get organized. These came up and I wanted to share a little more of Mexico and remember the absolute beauty of this place. I visited the ruins on a day it was incredibly sun-soaked (*entirely different than it is today in NC).

I’m beyond happy and grateful I had opportunities to see and experience places (*like this) in 2013 and I’m excited to see what the new year brings.

I hope and plan to travel (*often) and continue to take far too many photos for my own good.