Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Why I don’t travel for fun - a recap of my 2017 SEA trip.

You know, when you are back from a long travel, people always say, “OMG, your trip looks so fun”. I just find it low-key annoying. Ok, I understand that the person has all the good intentions, but I could not help but to think, “wow, (name here) hasn’t really backpacked around, huh?” Having fun, well at least for me, is being able to sit at a VIP section of a Beyonce concert, being able to eat uni to my heart content while still being able to afford this month rent, or sitting through a full tasting menu at Noma. Backpacking in hot wet Southeast Asian countries with limited money and Internet access, or trekking among cold-ass mountains where I have to literally take sleeping pills to sleep through the cold at night is not my idea of fun. And, I honestly believe nobody should really do these things for fun. I mean, why would you?

Smoked Shrimp and Fried Meatballs from my aunt




However, after having said that, I am still a junkie for backpacking around random countries, but I do it to not only see new and colorful things, but also feel in ways I have never felt before. Fear and loneliness so great that you started crying at a corner – I have felt it while farming alone in Turkey. Total helplessness and blind trust in strangers – I have felt it while I lost my backpack in Thailand.  Muscle pain so strong that you have to take Nyquil to sleep at night – I have felt it while trekking in Vietnam. But, these are the real beauty and boiled-down essence of traveling. These experiences made me see the innate goodness in people, allowed me to sort out things what I considered important in my life, and shrunk my biases by being able to spend time with people from different walks of life. In a way, it made me realize that just as you cannot state the bitter flavor is bad and the sweet flavor is good, there is no such thing as bad experiences in life, just different ones. 

Two things I go crazy for in Myanmar - Pork offals and sweet tea.



I used to think that life is all about maintaining that state of happiness as long as possible. In retrospect, what a stupid-ass idea that was. I mean, just think about it. If you have a static emotion (let’s say happiness) regardless of any situations you are in, then something is very wrong. Emotions change to guide us and lead us. The real satisfaction in life, at least for me right now, is to embrace all the experiences and, sheepishly hope that when I crave uni, I have enough money to get uni.

I love markets because there is literally so much life.


Markets have stories, waiting to be discovered. If I have time I want to have a long conversation with every single one of them.


Lay Har Pyin Market at Kyee Myin Tai District, Yangon


Hpa-An



In Myanmar, there is a culture of a group of people cooking up storms to feed the community. It is all free, and I felt so blessed during this trip to be able to capture as well as enjoy this moment.



HANOI/ SAPA




These cost slightly above a dollar per bowl.


Egg Coffee from Cafe Giang in Hanoi and Weasel poop coffee from Trung Nguyen. Honestly, both of these amazing cups of coffee are ridiculously strong that I started having palpitations. 


In SAPA, my host’s husband helped me clean a salmon I bought from a farm. SAPA is famous for its salmon farms.


My SAPA host’s son and her sister, who is looking at her smoked pork.

Temple near West Lake.
These grilled clams are so good. If I die, feed me these and I will resurrect.


Clams cooked in pungent turmeric broth.


These road vendors are everywhere in Hanoi. Some vietnamese lesson, Bo = beef, Ga = Chicken, Ca = fish, Pho = flat rice noodle

Singapore

These are actually solar panels.


Two of the best things I have eaten in Singapore.


Best Chai tea and golden milk I have ever had.


Astscience museum in Singapore - very underrated.


Soon-to-be the infamous dish - Singaporean chili crab




Inside the artscience museum


Kaya toast and tea - a typical Singaporean breakfast


Biryani at Little India. The whole Singapore is sparkly clean and the Chinatown looks super fake. If you want to see real unfiltered life, the little India is where is at. I got this amazing meal at Tamil Nadu Special Kudal Kitchen.

26 comments:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful story to share. I like this very much and all the images are very attractive. This Southeast Asian countries trip looks so fun. This is one of the real satisfaction in life.

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    1. Aww thank you for your encouraging remarks ❤️

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  2. It's so true that it's essential and almost delightful to be able to welcome, and perhaps even embrace, all kinds of emotions and experiences in life. I always try to live by JOY rather than happiness. The former--a state of steadfast gratitude and a wholesome outlook on anything, not based off on circumstance. :) and I love your stark contrast photos the most! I think they're so unique and ooze with character. They have this journalistic vibe to them....not sure if you wanted an opinion haha

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    1. Oh wow Ellie. I reallly appreciate this comment. I never knew the difference between joy and happiness. I am pretty sure that I was attempting to explain in this post but failing miserably.

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  3. Loving the story and beautiful raw captures. I love market the most too. So many things going on there. You are making me missing home

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    1. Aww thank you so much marv. Let's go visit Indonesia together. I have never been :)

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  4. These photos are truly wonderful - and wow, I had no idea you were backpacking. What a journey that must've been (and seems like it was!!). Travel is definitely more than just a "fun trip" - I remember when I was in Paris three? years ago and my phone got stolen - I wasn't careless or anything, but right when I got onto the uncrowded subway, I was suddenly crowded in on all sides and then when I was on the train and the doors closed... my phone was gone. Anyway needless to say that kind of tainted my travels, but still, a meaningful experience. These photos are stunning Soe - I'm loving the new look!

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    1. Thank you so much Betty. I am glad you get the idea of what I am trying (but probably failing to convey).

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  5. It also means that business travel can be more affordable, less time-consuming, and more manageable than ever before enabling you to focus on gaining return on investment from the opportunities presented to your business. visa for france

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  6. I love your blog/pictures/food and travelling theme. Keep up with the great work!!

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  7. I appreciate your thoughts and the fact that you share your travels with us. I have not been to the places you have been, so it is magical to me!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Dorothy. Southeast Asia is indeed a magical place. My heart will always be there :)

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  8. What an amazing journey! I have to put Weasel poop coffee on my culinary bucket list.

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    1. Haha yes. It's so strong and aromatic. Also try egg coffee. It's weird but so good.

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  9. I love seeing these countries through your eyes! Definitely wishing there were more!

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    1. Thank you Vy...yes I lost all the pictures :(

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  10. Excellent photos, very beautiful. I was there once, it is very far. I was on a journey https://poseidonexpeditions.com/ and we drifted close to the island while waiting for a helicopter with provisions. It was unforgettable and cool, I advise everyone to go there.

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  11. We are never guaranteed old age, so enjoy life's experiences now! A lot of young people put off traveling because they want to be responsible, work hard, get married, have kids, and build up a life. Life in beirut

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    1. I agree with you Hadon..everything should be in moderation :D Work hard, but play (or travel) even harder

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