WORLD TRAVELS OVERVIEW
KYOTO, JAPAN DAYS 1991-1997
Spending 6 years living, working and traveling in Japan was a grand adventure in itself. I could surely write a book or 2 on daily life in Kyoto, Japan, let alone all our adventures. Maybe some day I will. But for now, since our life in Japan was essentially a stepping stone to THE WORLD TRIP, here I will just summarize…
When we first arrived in Kyoto, back in 1991, it took Rick and I about one month to find jobs at language schools offering full-time work with visa sponsorship. Once started, we began working and saving away! Our ‘full-time’ jobs entailed only 25 hours/ week so we had loads of free time. We both used most of our abundant time studying various traditional Japanese arts; exploring Kyoto’s 3000+ temples, shrines and gardens; sampling Japanese cuisine and traveling around Japan as much as possible, often by bicycle touring.
I immersed myself in studying tea ceremony, flower arrangement, wearing kimono, the 13-string Japanese harp- koto, aikido, taiko drumming and shiatsu massage. I also found an excellent dance school and so was able to resume my life-long ballet/ modern dance training, participating in several performances. I joined a Japanese Butoh dance troupe as well. Rick learned to play the shakuhachi- bamboo flute- and carved Noh masks. We were incredibly busy and totally immersed in Japanese culture. It was an exciting life.
Meanwhile, we continued preparing for our world trip by reading extensively and practicing traveling together in Japan: cycle touring, camping, mountain climbing, and sight-seeing. Gradually however, some ‘glitches’ appeared in our world trip plans: It became increasingly clear that Rick and I were NOT compatible travel partners. Most trips together entailed massive arguments and bad feelings. In addition, Rick hadn’t actually been saving any money. By the time 6 years rolled around it became clear Rick wasn’t going to join me on the world trip. Despite our best efforts, and lots of aggravation for both of us, we finally had to conclude that we just weren’t compatible travel partners.
In addition, about 6 months before our intended departure Rick found a great Japanese girlfriend. He had to make a serious choice and assessment of his goals/priorities in life. Rick stayed in Japan. I persisted with my long-held dream to travel around the world. So in Oct. 1997, having ‘retired’ and saved a big chunk of money, and having thoroughly explored life in Japan, I packed up my possessions and headed out for new adventures…
USA VISIT 1997-1998
Before setting out on my long-anticipated world trip, I first returned to the U.S.A. to spend time with my dad, mom, brother Brad and friends that I hadn’t seen much of for 6 years. I also had to store loads of Japanese possessions I’d shipped from Kyoto to my dad’s house and had to mentally prepared myself for a now SOLO trip of the world! Until quite recently I’d expected to travel with my pal Rick. It was a big mental adjustment!
In any event, I spent 5+ months Stateside having a fantastic time visiting with my dad in Pennsylvania, my mom and her husband in WV, Brad in Florida and friends in Pittsburgh, Pa. I also renewed an old romance in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, I continued preparing for my trip by learning to speak Thai via book/ cassette, cycle-training, and developing a travel route starting in Thailand.
SETTING OFF ON WORLD TRAVELS
At long last, in early May, 1998 I finally set out on my SOLO WORLD TRIP! I flew into Hong Kong, spent an exciting week there, then flew on to Bangkok, Thailand. I stayed one month in Bangkok exploring its many elaborate temples, museums and cultural sites; cycling around the city and generally acclimating to the tropics. After one month I set out cycling down the east coast of Thailand and Malaysia. My plan was to cycle down the east coast to Singapore then back up the west coast, about 3000km/ 1800 miles.
In Bangkok I hopped on a train (with my bike in the cargo carriage) to Petchaburi, about 1 hour south. In Petchaburi I jumped out, strapped my backpack on my bike and, slightly nervous, started my cycling trip of SEAsia! It proved to be great fun cycling southward from town to town, exploring each area’s attractions including cave temples, colorful markets, museums, mountains, beaches, lakes and national parks. I felt safe, both in terms of traffic and personal safety. Along the way I went island hopping out to the Thai east coast islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and the Koh Ang Tong Marine Nat. Park, taking my bike along on the passenger ferries. Further south, the Thai Muslim provinces proved quite different in character, architecture and lifestyle. Crossing into Malaysia, a 95% Muslim country, I continued down the coast doing much the same- exploring towns, markets, museums, beaches, islands and finding many adventures along the way…
AND THEN, 3 months into my trip, near the southern tip of Malaysia’s east coast, my plans were suddenly interrupted by a death. I had to return to the U.S.A. for the funeral! I was pretty shaken for 1-2 months, became uncertain about my next move, then got caught up in a fun lifestyle in Pittsburgh. Pa, my old stomping grounds. I ended up staying in Pittsburgh until the following July, 1999 (nearly 9 months)! But my determination to travel around the world stuck with me and I finally set out again…
In July, 1999 I resumed my world trip by driving across the USA in a $500 car, camping at various national parks and visiting relatives and friends scattered across the States. I flew out of L.A. 2 months later, back to Bangkok, Thailand…
Ever since then, my second start, I’ve been traveling! 12 years now. (or 13 if you count my original start in May, 1998) In these 12 years I’ve traveled extensively through Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali and Java in Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysian Borneo, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Australia, with visits to Spain and England. In that time I’ve also had 3 long visits back home.
I’ve tried a few new careers: In 2001 I worked in a performance company in Bali. Then I exported goods from Bali and Thailand to Japan, where I sold them at temple markets and outdoor dance/music festivals. In 2002 I worked as crew on ‘Survivor’ in the Brazilian Amazon and in Thailand.. Since 2004 I’ve mostly been guiding/ teaching scuba diving as a PADI Dive Master and Instructor in Thailand, Malaysia, Bali and the Philippines. Diving is fantastic!
Since 2008 I’ve also tried out a few more careers: In early 2008 I worked in a fab. hair salon in Shanghai, China. After completing my 2nd dive season in Bali in 2008, I returned to Thailand where I worked as assistant manager of a rock climbing school. That summer I tried out sales in England,which I can say I really hated, but gave it my best as long as I could tolerate it. Then I opened and ran my very first business: bakery/cafe/ restaurant in Thailand, which I absolutely loved, and which went smashingly well… until the somewhat tragic end. ahhh well… For the moment I’m back to my diving career. Thank goodness, because I really missed it!
Meanwhile, I’ve still got my travel bug. My intention is to travel THE WORLD. In fact, I’ve just committed to another 10 years of travel in order to complete an ENTIRE world trip! So I’ve got A LOT ahead of me: Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe, the Middle East, India, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and all the Pacific Islands… Let’s see how far I can get and how long I can keep at it! It’s a great adventure! Thanks for joining me!
CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY OF WORLD TRAVELS
Following is a chronological summary of my travels since May 1998. To read detailed stories please go to the specific country page on this website and read away…
May 1998 START WORLD TRIP! fly to HK then Bangkok.
June- Sept. Cycle down east coast of Thailand and Malaysia
Sept. 1998 Unexpectedly return to USA due to a death
Sept. 98- July 99 Exciting life in Pittsburgh, Pa.
July- Aug 1999 START WORLD TRIP AGAIN!
Drive across U.S.A. in my $500 red car!
Sept. 1999. Bangkok, Thailand and NE Thailand along Mekong
Oct. 1999. Laos. partly cycling, partly bus travel
Nov. 1999 Back in Bangkok, waiting out rains to cycle in south
Dec.- June 2000 Cycle E. coast of S.Thailand:Phuket.Krabi.PhiPhi.
July-Aug. 2000 Bali, Indonesia: bicycle tour and beach clubbing.
Sept.-Oct. 2000 Java, Indonesia: bike tour and mountain climbing
Nov. 2000 Bangkok and Pattaya with my Thai boyfriend
Dec. 2000 Myanmar by bike and bus
Jan.- June 2001 Back and forth between Bali and Thailand
July- Sept. 2001 Japan: selling at festivals and temple markets
Oct-Nov 2001 Nepal: Katmandu, hiking the Annapurna Circuit
Dec 01- March 02 back home for xmas and long visit
March-April 02 Cycling E. coast of S. Thailand: Trang and Satun
May-July 02 Crew of ‘Survivor’ Thailand based at Koh Tarutao
Aug-Sept. 2002 Bali
Oct-Dec. 2002 Crew of ‘Survivor’ Amazon. Manaos, Brazil
Dec. 02- Sept. 03 Australia: caravaning, cycling, WWOOFing
Oct-Nov 03 Vietnam
Nov. 2003 Cambodia
Dec. 03- Feb 04 Thailand travels again!
Feb-April 2004 Scuba diving training! Become PADI DiveMaster
May-Oct. 2004 Extended summer visit at dad’s and mom’s
Oct. 04- May 05 Dive Master at Krabi, Thailand. Diving PP isles
May 2005 Malaysia travels
June-Sept 05 Dive Master at Tioman Island, Malaysia
Sept. 2005 PADI Instructor Course. become Instructor
Oct. 05- April 06 Instructor at Krabi, Thailand. Diving PP Isles
May-June 06 Borneo Island travels: hiking, diving, exploring
July-Oct. 06 Summer visit to U.S.A. ‘home stay’ at mom’s and dad’s
Oct. 06-May 07 Dive Instructor, Krabi, Thailand again.
May 2007 Mom & Brad visit: tour Bangkok,Singapore,KL, Bali
June- Oct 07 Bali. Dive Instructor in Sanur and Amed
Oct. 07-Feb 08 Boracay Island, Philippines Dive Instructor
March-July 08 Shanghai, China. Hair Designer! research, explore, learn web design
July- October Bali. Dive Instructor in Amed, season 2
Nov- early Jan 09 Bali. researching properties, investments, designing websites
Jan 09- April 09. Thailand. assistant manager of climbing school. cutting hair.
May 09 Costa del Sol, Spain. visiting my Aunt Babe and Uncle Jim, friends, exploring the coast
June- Aug 09 Manchester, England. tried out sales! Selling paintball tickets… as long as I could stand it
Aug- Oct 09 USA. Visit my parents and prepare to open my 1st business with a Brit partner- bakery/cafe in Thailand
Oct 09- April 2010. Set up, open and run bakery/cafe/ restaurant in Thailand. GReat fun!!
April 2010. Malaysia. travel, visit friends in KL
May 2010 Sri Lanka travels
June- Dec 2010- . Bali… back to my very favorite tropical world destination. research for properties and my first book!
Dec 2010- Malaysia, Singapore, USA for xmas and NYE
St Petersburg, FLorida, USA. checking out the USA and writing 2 guidebooks to Bali
Jan- June- Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Singapore
July-present- Indonesia: Bali