The Spanish 20-something girl, Ada, and I glance at each other dubiously with matching sideways grins. We’re standing at a motorbike rental shop in Pai, Thailand, trying to weigh sudden-death-by-motorbike against our overwhelming desire to see the countryside sans-tour-guide. Neither of us has ever ridden a motorbike before. Strangers barely three days ago, we had … Continue reading The mother of learned skills is avoiding paid tours
If you’re an iPhone owner in Latin America and you lose your charger, you’re pretty much shit out of luck. I tend to lose lots of things, so I’m shit out of luck very often. Since Apple is not really a thing in Latin America, but Apple products still exist in the world, the Latin … Continue reading When buying an iPhone charger resembles a drug deal
Before I began long-term travel, I remember having conversations with fellow Americans whose consensus was generally that the world outside of the US was a very scary place. Some could not comprehend the desire to do such a thing, and many expressed fear that I, a 5’3” female, should want to travel alone. Still, sometimes … Continue reading The world is not a scary place.
I’m in the Panama City airport on a six-hour layover from Colombia to Guatemala and I have some shit to do. I’ve just exchanged the last of my Colombian Pesos for American dollars (Panama uses American currency) so I can buy a pair of headphones. My last few pairs were $3 sets that couldn’t wait … Continue reading Urban survivalist savvy on a 6-hour layover in Panama City
I lay in my hostel bunkbed, listening to the girl across from me, wanting to both soak in every word, and put my hands over my ears at the same time. The girl was raised in Australia, but had Syrian origins, including family who still resided in the war-torn country. She visited them nearly every … Continue reading One Story We Can All Relate To
A year ago, I met a boy in Cambodia who could belt out “Since You’ve Been Gone” just as powerfully as Kelly Clarkson herself. He did it with a smile and a satisfaction that told you he knew how good he was. He was an employee at a convenience store on the notorious party island, … Continue reading When Everywhere Is Home
All I had wanted to do was buy some new gauges (the type of ear jewelry that stretches your ear piercings) that didn’t feature your standard marijuana leaf and Playboy bunny designs. I hadn’t planned on shocking the bejesus out of my conservative, devout Catholic, Ecuadorian host mother in the meantime. But you know… life … Continue reading A Counter-Cultural Shock
I was determined to do my civic duty abroad. I found the online ballot, downloaded it, printed it, and filled it out to elect the first woman president of the United States. California law does not permit voters to send their ballots through email, so my other two options were to mail it in, or … Continue reading A Look at the US Election from Abroad
One of my biggest goals while traveling South America is to improve my Spanish. Being naïve to language immersion, I thought it would be easy. It’s not like I’ve never had a Spanish class before. But after being in Colombia for two months, my conception of language-learning has changed dramatically. I thought I could simply … Continue reading Lessons in Spanish: Did the mosquito a.) kiss, b.) punch, or c.) bite me?
It was difficult to swat mosquitos, carry an inner tube, and walk uphill through the sweltering Colombian jungle all at the same time, but I’m a determined kind of person. The trick, I hoped, was to keep swatting my back and left arm with my right, inner tube-free hand as I trudged through the muddy … Continue reading Scoober Tuber on the Palomino River