A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Here it begins

Although we’ve been traveling now for almost two months, we have finally gotten our act together and created a blog. So here at last is our attempt to capture our travels for you to enjoy and feel involved from wherever you are.

For starters: The idea for this trip developed last summer when Batya and I realized that as of December 2010, we would each find ourselves without commitment or obligation to anyone but ourselves. Pair this with receiving all the remaining funds from closing my business and you have a recipe to travel the world.

We began with a top 10 list of destinations to pick from, five months of free time to fill, and a desire to immerse ourselves in something amazing. So, the agenda created:
Leave Dec. 28th, and spend 5 weeks in the jungle and beaches of Kauai, HI
Feb. 3rd, depart for 2 months exploring Southeast Asia, using Bangkok as the gateway to it all
April 5th, head to Israel for Batya’s birthday. Next departure date and destination unknown (though we just met a lovely couple from southern France…).

We anticipate returning state side around early May where we’ll make a pit stop in New England for a week with the Bryers family before flying to Phoenix to close out our Round the World Ticket. From there, we will log some hang time in Prescott long enough to recuperate and pack for the summer before driving up the California coast to visit the Lackman-Ellinoy clan and arrive in San Fran just in time for my summer job.

In the meantime, we’d like to provide you all, our friends and family, with a glimpse into our lives and the intentional, international transition that Batya and I have created that moves from Prescott, AZ to whatever awaits us at the end of this journey and beyond. So enjoy the pictures, videos and ramblings from our adventures into the world.

Robyn & Batya

Posted by R-n-B 00:51 Comments (2)

Kauai in a Macadamia Nut (shell)

**Note to my beloved teachers and editors of punctuation and grammar: I have not forgotten you. I am on vacation. And I am still open to feedback. **

A common question I was asked leading up to my graduation was, “What are you planning to do after graduation?” My reply: “Hawaii.” Having grown up with the privilege to vacation and soak up the graciousness that is the Aloha Spirit of these Islands, Hawaii has always held a special place in my heart. For as long as I can remember, I have felt it hold me in a way that feels like a home of sensory delightfulness (more on that shortly). So after working and thinking hard for the past few years (28 of them) and having a girlfriend who stuck a needle (and then an earring) in her ear to remind her of her sense of belonging and need to return to this beautiful paradise, Kauai was where it made sense (aka made my senses yearn) to be.

My intentions for this leg of our trip were to revel in the glory of the land by ways of hiking, swimming, camping, meeting and spending time with new and old friends, and relaxing. And so we lived 5 weeks in what could be imagined as an overgrown, delicious smelling, sometimes (VERY) muddy garden with innumerable waterfalls and roosters, surrounded by water and in the middle of nowhere (but no worries there is a Costco that grows here). The smell of blossoming oranges and plumeria, the aqua and cerulean colors of the water, the green of the, well, greenery, the pinks, oranges, and purples (!!!!) of the fish, the sounds of the never ending crashing of the waves, the taste of local tropical foods, the dizzying sights of the raw, jagged, towering cliffs, the gentle cocooning warmth of the air and soft basalt beneath my trekking feet are all truly reminiscent of a dreamy paradise (and supports my fan club of God as the bestest artist in the whole world).

Dreams, both real and imaginary, are vivid and strong in this garden. It was a place that was quick to reflect my projections and expectations back as though pushing me to wake up. Illustration: I think Robyn is upset with me or that we are on the same page about something, only to realize, after discomfort of an impasse, that what I thought was obvious truth was in fact made up. The reason I share this with you is to really share that our trip to Kauai gave me an opportunity to watch the dances of my mind and its nature to trip fantastically. I’ve also learned that true relaxation leads to a sense of vulnerability which is a challenge for my ego to embrace. It is at this point when projections emerge, communication sucks, and it seems more comfortable to distract myself from fears of the unknown that lurk in my vulnerability.

Something else that we both found interesting was how the magical and dreamlike landscape lured people to escape their previous lives to immerse in the island lifestyle. We were intrigued with invitations to do the same. This sparked conversations and reflection about the reality of our lives fitting into Kauai. Could we see ourselves living here? How would we support ourselves? What would we do if we lived here? Would we be fulfilling or sacrificing our passions? This paradise inspired me to consider these questions that challenged me to see beyond the beauty of the island and realize its limitations. I was provided the opportunity to deeply examine what I think I want versus what I know I want. This is me getting real with who I am.

Although this section of our trip has come to a close, I am not done with this holy garden and I think we both look forward to being called back to share our dreams with the reality of this place whenever the time may be.

I hope that the pictures we post will give you a sensory taste of our time on this luscious island.

We are most grateful for our experiences here and give thanks for the land and its people, our friends (and parents!) who shared their homes with us, friends who came to spend time with us, and all those who helped us out in some way or another. Aloha!

Posted by R-n-B 01:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bangkok

Feb. 5th: After flying for 16 hours, racing and being escorted by electric car through the airport to catch our flight out of Seoul, S. Korea, we arrived safely in Bangkok. Our original plan consisted of staying in Bangkok for at most a week before departing for the north. We pay by the day to stay in guesthouses here so if the desire was to arise to race out of the congested city we could skedaddle whenever we wanted. Many thanks to our friends who prepared us for Bangkok; they painted a picture of a city that would overwhelm us to a point of discomfort. We were so prepared to be disgusted by Bangkok that when we actually started exploring the city, we fell in love with the place.

For starters the Banglampoo District, or the backpackers’ ghetto: home to those traveling on a tight budget. This area is definitely geared towards international tourists. The only Thai words we’ve needed here are “Hello,” (Sawadee ka) and “Thank you,” (Kahp Kuhn Kah) and people only use them to demonstrate their cultural awareness. Most people in this area, foreigners and locals alike, speak basic English or have learned key words and phrases that they combine with hand signals to fill in the gaps.

The infamous main strip of the backpacker area, Kho San Rd, could be equated to Las Vegas on a bad trip. This is the area of Bangkok that our friends had most prepared us for; loud music, bright neon lights, street vendors pushing their goods on you, odorous foods slung from carts, and middle aged men from around the world walking with Thai teenage girls as their “escorts.” Thankfully, we had the smarts not to call this road home upon arrival. Rather we reserved a tiny room for two on the next street over, Soi Rambuttri, which I would recommend to anyone considering travelling here. Still a popular destination for foreigners, this low key side street is filled with street vendors and food carts but the prostitutes are replaced with massage houses lined with cozy chairs for you to melt into while enjoying a foot (or fish!) massage. And it’s not just our little street that we’ve fallen in love with, we’ve come to discover a remarkable city that blends its modern ambitions with its ancient history.

Posted by R-n-B 01:44 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Finding Contentment in Simplicity

After arriving in Bangkok, our morning ritual became reading the daily paper over Thai iced tea and fried eggs and rice. Our days then continued as we explored markets, wandered through malls , soaked up culture, found Buddhas in ancient temples, and used boat, taxi, rail and feet to find nooks and crannies in this vast city. As the days passed, there was always another reason to stay in the city longer, such as “Urban Ballet.” You have to see it to believe it. Without further delay, click on (or copy and paste) this link -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-b-r9CxqyE -- and when you are done watching, come back to read the rest of this entry.

How stunning are those dancers and those dances?? Batya was on the edge of her seat the whole time as if her body wished it could leap onstage to join the company. We considered postponing our departure to the north for another week in order to attend a Butoh performance and another dance showing that fused hip-hop and traditional Laos dance. It would have been easy to conjure up a menagerie of activities to fill our days with. Inevitably though, the travel bug returned, and on Feb. 13th, we boarded a train for Ayutthaya, the capital of the ancient Thai nation from the 14th to 18th centuries.

As our plans allowed us only one day to explore, we rented bicycles and pedaled our way through the past. With crumbling temples, headless Buddhas, elephants in the street, and the natural air conditioning system of a bike, we found utter contentment cruising about. Though the history and ruins were intriguing, it was back to the highways the following morning for a six hour bus ride to our next destination, Sukhothai.

Translated to mean, “Rising Happiness,” Sukhothai was the capital of the Thai empire prior to its move to Ayutthaya. Little did we know that we were about to find a matching wavelength with the sweetest town filled with amazing people.

This place was a gift on our journey, a place to recharge our bodies and our spirits. We spent our days with gentle, kind people who felt like longtime friends at the first exchange. The guest house we stayed at gave us a sense that it was more than just a roof over our heads: it was home. We shared laughter and stories with people that we don’t know if we’ll ever see again, but it doesn’t matter. Over all, Sukhothai reminded us that tomorrow doesn’t matter, only today. A one night passing turned into a 6 night home stay before we said goodbye to the place and people we fell in love with. Next stop, Chiang Mai…Don't forget to check out the pictures!!
Robyn & Batya

Posted by R-n-B 02:15 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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