Secretly Famous

Last night I met up with Crystal at Changing Hands (better known as My Favorite Local Bookstore) to see Frank Warren (better known as The PostSecret Guy) at a stop on his book tour. He started his talk with an explanation of the PostSecret project, how it started, etc., and he used three or four postcards as samples explaining PostSecret. One he held up as an example of how the postcards are really works of art themselves. It looked faintly familiar, but I couldn't see it well from the back of the crowd (it was standing room-only). And then he read the secret. And I recognized it. And I nearly freaked out. It was the secret that belonged to one of my best friends. I desperately wanted to go up to Mr. Warren afterwards and ask to see the card in person, because by holding it, it would almost be like my friend were present there in that room. Unfortunately, I couldn't get through the crowds of people without making a complete idiot of myself. It may be strange, but I am proud to know that my friend's postcard is being shared with audiences around the country as a significant example of art and that the ironic secret s/he shared anonymously with a stranger is bringing chuckles to the people who hear it.


Tips on How to Ask Me About My Travels (Slightly Updated)

As tends to happen, I'm starting to get a bit tired of answering the same five questions:

"So, did you have fun?" Nah, seeing amazing sites, meeting fantastic people and having grand adventures isn't really my thing. The $5 massages in Thailand were pretty decent, though.

"I want to hear all about your trip!" Great! Do you have an extra 3 months and the funds to pay me the living wage I won't be making while I retell every detail of my 90 days abroad?

"Are you glad to be back home?" Yes. And no. And it's way more complicated than either you want to hear or I want to share.

"What was your favorite place?" Vietnam. And Munich. And Krakow. And Singapore. And Sydney. And Amsterdam. And Cesky Krumlov. And Khao Sok. And the Cameron Highlands. And...well, it'd be easier if I just gave you my itinerary and you looked at that list there.

"So now what are you going to do?" Unpack. (Seriously. I've lent my backpack to a friend who's traveling Europe for the next two weeks and all I've done is lift the stack of clothing out of my pack and place it on my bedroom floor.) And maybe once I have things sorted here, I'll consider looking for work somewhere, anywhere. That is, unless I can convince each of you to pledge a dollar a day to support my next round of travels.

So, to help you get better responses from me (and to aid in my enjoyment and creativity in answering your questions) I give you a few suggestions that can get the conversation going:

"What was the best meal you had?" The cooking class in Hoi An was outstanding food in fabulous company.

"What local delicacies will you miss the most? REAL Belgian waffles and mango shakes from SE Asia. Yummmm...

"What was the biggest scare you had?" Looking up at the carabiners fastening my harness to the paragliding chute only to notice that they really weren't secure at all.

"How much beer did you drink?" More than I ever thought I'd try in my entire life. Believe it or not, I might actually enjoy a brewski every once in a while now.

"Why don't you look very tan if you spent an entire month in SE Asia?" Dude, the prospect of lugging a 20-pound backpack around the world on lobster shoulders really didn't appeal to me. I layered on the sunscreen.

"What was the biggest mistake you made?" Trying to break up with my boyfriend before leaving the country. That, and going a little crazy in the tailor shops in Hoi An.

"What handy travel tip did you learn along the way?" Carry an extra plastic bag. It comes in handy when shopping in European shops that charge you for bags, when you need to cover your drenched bicycle seat to keep from soaking your shorts, and when you want to keep your wet swim suit from contaminating the dry contents of your bag.

"When do you plan to go on another trip like this?" As soon as I save up the funds. And this time, I'm thinking 6 months. Wanna join me?

"How has this adventure inspired you? Ahhh...you'll just have to wait for another post for that answer...


All Sorts of Photos

I'm bombarding you with the last of my international pictures. Below are a few of my favorites. Following the pics are links to the albums. In total, I think I took more than 5,000 pictures on this trip. That makes the 850+ I've uploaded to share with you seem like barely a glimpse of the past 3 months. I keep thinking of stories and happenings that I've neglected to share here on this blog. I think I'll share bits and pieces here for the next few weeks. Then I'll get on with living in the present. For now, enjoy the pictures. Somewhere in there is a challenge for you (a prize can be won!). Photos from San Francisco will come soon.

Fruit and veg stand in the Cameron Highlands

Hungry monkey at the Batu Caves outside KL

Petronas Towers

Sushi dinner in Melaka

Vietnamese hooker and Jonathan in Singapore. I love the way their eyes draw you around the picture!

Mel with camera on Manly Beach

Steps up to the Sydney Opera House

Crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge by night


Cameron Highlands

Kuala Lumpur





Playing Catch-up

It was a good decision to come back to the States via San Francisco, if for no other reason than to let my sports-savvy grandparents help me catch up on all the happenings in the MLB, NCAA and NFL. Mizzou's undefeated?!?! The D'backs are headed to the Series?!?! The (Arizona) Cards are 3-6? (Well, that one was somewhat expected, anyways.) And the best news? The Suns kick off the 2007 season the day I arrive back in PHX. Suh-weet!

I've temporarily run out of space in my Picasa photo account, which is probably a good thing, because if I unloaded all my pictures on you at once, none of you would get any work done. So, I'll be presenting the remaining photos from my time abroad in installments. Here's your first group. These are from Thailand.

Chillaxing in the bungalow in the Khao Sok jungle

Cute kitty who had lost her mommy

Chillaxing on the beach with a good book (The Historian)

The shell-covered beach in Krabi


Khao Sok




I arrived in San Francisco this morning after a 13-hour-plus United flight. Fortunately it was a monstly empty plane (80 seats available!) and I got an entire three seats to myself. This'll be a fun, family-filled stop-over as we get to celebrate my dad's recognition within his professional organization. Me, I'm relishing the chance to be somewhere for more than three days, the luxury of a washer and dryer, and the availability of high-speed internet.

The Last of the Vietnam Pics
The rest of SE Asia and Sydney to come soon.