In Case You Were Wondering: Yes, I’m Alive


It has come to my attention that people actually read this blog. I learned this when a sizable handful of people (yes, they all fit in my hand; I too find this bizarre) mentioned my utter failure at posting my travel stories and photos.

Busted! 

Despite my grandiose plans to make this blog a bookmarked, favorited, go-to hotspot for entertainment and/or travel information, life got in the way. It’s been a whirlwind so far, but a thoroughly enjoyable one. (The Voyage, though I guess that can be extrapolated to my life as well.) Individual city recaps are coming soon, but here’s a quick run-down of things in which you might be interested! (This is called “stalling for time while I finish other posts.” Please keep reading even though I suck and have failed you as a blogger!)

Where was I, where am I, and where am I going?

August 25

The Voyage began with absolute panic and madness just before I flew out to Portland to see my best friend, Nusha. Cue a delightfully cute week of wandering, cooking, and unintentional naps. We also watched the entire latest season of Breaking Bad over dank breakfasts, had multiple middle school reunions (in person with Mithil, and over Skype with Samantha and Christine), and met up with my old camp counselor Vivek and his absolutely bad-ass two-year-old Suhail.
Re: “panic and madness:” my parents were not surprised.
Things to look forward to: Accounts of “aww”-worthy stories, recipes of delicious food, a recount of my first full beer (and thoughts on beer in general), and an amateur’s guide to two perfect Portland days.

August 31

I took a suspiciously smelly Greyhound from Portland’s Chinatown to downtown Seattle, where a recently shorn (and adorable!) Chris d.l.T. picked me up and gallantly hosted me for the next four days. Very successful and jam-packed weekend, including a delicious tamarind margarita, two mini-Floor 8 reunions (with Adam in Seattle and Lauren via Skype), and multiple instances of passing out at 10 PM.
Things to look forward to: How to be a bad tourist in Seattle (a day spent wandering Pike Place Market and searching for a hidden sculpture garden), how to appreciate the incredible greenery of Washington, and how to survive a five-mile hike through Mt. Rainier one day and VIP status at Bumbershoot the next. Also, mental images of Adam and me dancing our legs (and arms) off to Rebirth Brass Band. You’re welcome.

September 4 – 

Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of being a young 20-something in the city, I head out to Sammamish to get some quality family-friend time. Considering it’s the last time I’ll have home-cooked Indian food and a family atmosphere for a while, I’m soaking it up. We’ve been watching the DNC and Colbert, so I’m genuinely surprised (and pleased) that I haven’t offended anyone amidst a political discussion. My uncle also just kicked my ass at pool, so it’s game on – I shan’t leave ’til I’ve won at least one game! (This might not prove to be true, but damn it! I can try!)

On Thursday, I visited my cousin and my adorable nephew (who I love! I’m trying to justify it by saying he’s blood, but it might also be that I’m just starting to like children…). We went on a mini-adventure to Snoqualmie Falls, which included an unexpected, but pleasant, visit from AAA. The serviceman asked me why I had California coverage, then continued on to try to convince me to move to Washington – needless to say, if I weren’t such a California diehard, I would be very tempted. I also overheard the following conversation (also available on Facebook):

65-Year Old Woman #1: “Don’t you dare! I’ll post those naked pictures of you on Facebook!”
65-Year Old Woman #2: “The teacup one?”
Woman #1: “The one in Mort’s chair!”
Woman #2: “Yeah, the teacup one!”

Such is life in Washington. Tomorrow is my final day on the Western Seaboard, so I have to get all domestic things taken care of – i.e. finishing all laundry, finding the time to finish my blog, stocking up on Q-Tips, etc.

September 7 – 

Then I’m off to New York, where I completely forgot to arrange my accommodations for the six days I’ll be there. An easily remedied problem, I’ve learned to rely on the kindness of strangers and the wisdom of friends. A fellow Cambridge kid (now Columbia Journalism grad student!), Jason, is hosting me for half the trip, and a fellow gypsy world-traveler, Krista, has connected me to her friend, who is generously hosting me for the rest. So far I’ve scheduled a lunch with a friend,  flea markets visits and free museum days, and a tour of the Federal Reserve. Nothing else is planned, but I intend to sit in Central Park for a day or so, and then possibly do some thrift shopping for raincoats. I looked up a ton of free things to do in New York, so I’m going to try to see how little money I can spend while there. Hashtag: broke.

September 13 – 

Somehow I’ll arrive in New Jersey for my red-eye flight to London Heathrow. England – the first stop in a three month tour around Europe – is now home to another one of my favorite Chrises, this time Chris B, as well as my Bollywood superstar Sanna. Ruckus shall be had, and Rokas most likely will as well.

September 20 – 

Approaching the beginning of the cold season (many call this “autumn”), I’ll fly to the Emerald Isle and keep myself warm with some Irish hospitality …and a lot of whiskey. More of the latter. I’ll also begin my plan to clothe myself in my friends’ winter jackets (so I don’t have to pack bulky clothes), so John might notice more of his wardrobe has somehow made it onto my shoulders. Ideally, this shouldn’t be a problem.

The Future – 

After Ireland, I’m off to Copenhagen to visit one of my best friends, Sophie, then up to Bergen to see a different side of Norway with my favorite new Norwegians, Katrine and Malene. I might return to Oslo to visit my Norwegian mama, Silje, but such plans are still in the air. I’ll fly from Scandinavia to Deutschland, either heading directly to Tubingen to visit the mad scientist Cody, or stopping first in Berlin or Munich to enjoy the non-Oktoberfest hostel rates. Then it’s off to Zagreb in the beginning of November to visit Sanna’s boyfriend, Luka, who I’ve never met but am perhaps staying with (though, to be fair, Sanna’s presence makes this a normal situation). I just received word from my friend in Istanbul that she’s moving back to the States, so instead of wandering about Turkey alone, I might swing up to Lausanne for some winter sports or return to Amsterdam for a much-needed coffee break. Then (or maybe beforehand) I’ll head to Paris to visit the Senegalese Superman, Papy, then hopefully create contact with the Facebook-allergic Jens before I visit him in San Sebastian.

Now, the original plan was to continue onto Morocco from here, then bridge to India and S.E. Asia. This plan might be slightly off the rails. I’m now returning home for a few weeks between Spain and India, forgoing Morocco as I’ve forgone Turkey (though I’m still tempted to go alone; we’ll see). It pains me to abandon them now, but I’ve got to develop my sea legs before I venture off entirely without a preexisting support system. Then it’s a quick refresher, family time, evaluation of materials, and resetting of mindset for the Asian leg of the Voyage, which might easily take me into the middle of June or July.

Whew!

Where do we go from here? Well, here are a few things to get excited about: the next post will feature random tidbits and lessons I’ve learnt on the road. (This might be exciting!) Some near-future posts will also break down the Portland and Seattle trips, which will include the total spent (also very exciting!) and favorite stories. As for now, it’s much past my bedtime. I doubt I’ve left you hungering for more, but trust me – this is just a psych-out. The next post is going to be awesome!

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