Category Archives: Travel

Indonesia and Me

Northern Sumatra WomanLiving in the United States I feel far removed from the hectic pace and stunning beauty of Asia; especially Indonesia. I shouldn’t complain, I see this more as an observation of the grass being greener since the US has been very good to me but whenever I return to the archipelago of the Indonesian islands I feel a sense of home.

It would be easy to dismiss and say that it’s because New Zealand is so close, I am a Kiwi, but it is a feeling that transcends geographic boundaries and falls more squarely on the proverbial nails head of spiritual connection.

Before I lose you and you begin to wander down the path called “What the Hell is He Talking About” let me reign you back in and explain myself.

Growing up I was not completely unaware that my family, on Mum’s side, had lived in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) nor was I completely unaware that they had lived in Holland for a period. What I failed to grasp however was the importance of the story and the significance such a heritage would, and should, play on the way I see the world.  Continue reading Indonesia and Me

Beckoned Skyward by an Earthquake

Tsunami 2004In the early morning hours of Sunday, December 26th 2004 an earthquake of epic proportions struck below the ocean floor just off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.

The resulting tsunami devastated fourteen countries and claimed the lives of over 230,000 people as this multi-directional force powered its way across the Indian Ocean.

The earthquake registered a magnitude of 9.3 and is the third largest earthquake ever recorded. The duration of the quake was longer than any other ever observed and triggered several more earthquakes around the planet.

The world citizenry responded with a humanitarian effort unlike any seen before and eventually donated more than $14 billion to the region, countries, and people affected.  Continue reading Beckoned Skyward by an Earthquake

The Embryo of Adventure

Turtles on the GoOne of the most important aspects of travel is knowing where you are heading next. Having a “next” journey in the hopper is a sure-fire way of mitigating the blues which, if you’re like me, you descend into rapidly at the conclusion of any adventure.

It seems obvious that this pearl of wisdom would not need to be reinforced in the psyche of like-minded travelers. That any adventure seeking, global explorer would not have this deeply embedded in his of her DNA seems ludicrous.

Yet, I can sit here and tell you in all honesty that the obvious was lost on me.

At least for a while.

Driving from Ubud to the airport in Bali was a slow, winding, jaunt through a landscape I love.  I could see the tunnel of “departure depression” opening up and beginning the agonizingly slow process of devouring me.  As we climbed the hill through the center of Klungkung it dawned on me.  Continue reading The Embryo of Adventure

Wonders of the World

Farewell CambodiaMy big plan was to keep the excitement of traveling in Cambodia alive as long as possible. Since I had a 12 hour layover in Beijing to not take advantage of this seemed foolish and an incredible waste of opportunity.

My intention therefore was to arrive in China, obtain a day visa, leave the airport, grab a taxi, and head to the Great Wall.

Easy!

I knew that this optimistic plan was fraught with issues all of which were out of my control. Even if I could exit in a timely fashion I would then have to communicate to a Mandarin speaking taxi driver my exact destination. The fact that this destination was one of the worlds icons gave me little confidence in my success.

My next issue would be traffic. Not so much getting to the wall, as I would be heading out around 6am so figured traffic would not be so heavy, but heading back. This leg of the adventure I wondered about. Getting stuck in a jam on the way back to the airport with a non-English speaking driver to a plane that would depart Continue reading Wonders of the World

Bruce

Traveling Kiwi - BruceBack in the days before internet, email, and Skype. Back when a bogus collect phone call home was enough to let your loved ones know you were still alive. Back when postcards had a 50/50 chance of arriving at the correct destination; I got a gift.

In 1986 my sister sat by my side a small furry brown package with large white eyes and a heart that beat out of his chest.

He was as innocent and green to the ways of world travel as I was yet he was now under my care. The responsibility of this however, was lost on me. I was invincible and therefore by association, so was he.

We set out from Auckland on April 12th of that same year prepared to take on whatever the world threw at us.

We were going to have a blast and explore the planet.

My furry friend and I road-tripped through the United States taking on a southerly route. We encountered huge canyons, lone Indians, crazy Texans with huge slices of toast. We stayed in Las Vegas hotels that would Continue reading Bruce