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A Free Sunrise in Yuan Yang

What is so interesting about a rice terrace? I've had to ask myself that at least a couple of times. The first was after a long and frigid bus ride around icy, mountain roads during which a child threw up not 6 inches from me. The second was right now as I'm writing this post. Why would anyone care about rice terraces? Why did I put myself through hell to get there? 

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A Short Story About Love and Things

As I’ve said before and will never stop saying, traveling is not glamorous about 84% of the time. There are dirty beds, bugs, bedbugs, digestion issues, odorous clothing that you pull from the depths of your backpack and then try to spray with tea-tree oil to cover up the stench. But aside from this, there are also some low moments emotionally. Times when you want to quit this whole thing and just go snuggle up on your couch at home. 

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The K Train

With miserable weather on the horizon for Emei Town in Sichuan Province, I, along with my four Israeli travel companions, decided to flee to warmer climates. After coming down from the summit of Emei Shan, we quickly got the hell out on the first train south. Because of our last minute spontaneity and our disinclination to spend money, this meant we’d be taking the “Hard Seat” ticket…for 17 hours. 

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Resting on the road

I left home about four months ago, and that’s a long time to be on the go, living out of a backpack, eating street food (though I’m certainly not complaining) and sleeping in a new bed or floor or train seat every other night. While I’ve met people who are traveling far longer than I am and seem to have endless reservoirs of energy they can tap into, allowing them to stay out drinking until 5am and then get up a few hours later to hike a mountain, I am no such creature.

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The Shans

When I used to picture China in my mind, I imagined massive cities, millions of people, industry, history, pollution, dumplings. These are all there. But there are also incredible landscapes. Blue mountain ranges, dense forests, snowy peaks, unbelievably blue lakes. I didn’t necessarily intend to make China’s natural places the focal point of my time in the country, but I’m glad the windy, potholed road took me there. 

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Are you scared to travel alone?

It’s December 3 and nearly the one month anniversary of my leaving home. I climb the four flights of stairs to the bridge of the ship, cup of mint tea in hand, to talk to whoever is on duty because I realize I haven’t spoken words out loud yet today. The weather is exactly what you would imagine for the North Pacific Sea: icy, grey, choppy. It’s started to hail. 

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Riding the Rails: North Carolina to Washington State

“Are we still in Texas?” I asked my seat mate and new friend, Sarah. 

“Yup.” she said glancing at the glowing GPS on her phone. Miraculously, she still had service out in the vast desert of West Texas while mine had fizzled out about 13 hours prior. I looked out the window at the purple mountains and golden flatlands. It really was beautiful. Though after over a full day of the same scenery, it was beginning to lose its novelty. I returned my headphones to my ears and my eyes back to One Tree Hill. Sarah, bless her, had thought ahead to download the episodes on her computer and was kindly sharing with me as we rattled on towards New Mexico

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My First Time Couch Surfing

Last night I experienced couch surfing, otherwise known as sleeping at a complete stranger’s house, for the first time. Since I’ve been on the road, I’ve been so lucky to stay at friends’ places along the way, thus saving me a ton of money in the “shelter” department. Portland is the only one of the US cities I’m visiting in which I didn’t have a connection, so I decided to give couch surfing a try. 

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Slowing down in Chachapoyas

Being that we're only in Peru for a short amount of time, and in the Amazonas region for an even shorter amount of time, we’ve naturally felt the intense pressure to see and do as much as possible, thus Making the Most of our time here. What we’ve found, however, is that the rhythm of life in Chachapoyas simply does not allow you to go about doing anything in a fast-paced sort of way. 

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