I’ve been struggling to write a blog on a focused topic. I need to write a blog, but I’m lagging, and not just jet so. My life is so much chaos. The way I’ve thought things would happen in my life is not so accurate. The way things have happened? It leaves me…stunned.
How have I been able to go so many places, meet so many people, and do so much this year? I don’t really know the answer to that. My strategy has been that I write down places I want to visit and when I want to visit them, and somehow it happens. Honestly, when I read over my list, I mock myself thinking, “Really, Kara? Good luck with that. I think you aimed a bit high.”
But, somehow it happens!!!
The Universe must be conspiring with or against me because, when I was trying to get from Paris to Los Angeles, the flight was full, so I had to go to Ljubljana. Funny that Slovenia was on my list for September of this year. And that not making it to Los Angeles was September 28-Ocober 1. Yes, funny how that works. And, when I wanted to be based, working and living in Hawaii for the month of December, I wasn’t chosen. Plan B was Vietnam and Thailand. I had said I was going to Vietnam and Thailand this year, but I didn’t really think that it would actually happen. I did buy a Lonely Planet Guidebook all the way back in August, but I thought that I would have to eat that expense instead of Pad Thai and a bowl of Tom Kha. Did I already mention life is crazy?
Chiang Mai, Thailand and Elephant Nature Park
And, the craziest part of it all is that Daddy Dearest went with me. It seems like my life has been one big blur of, “Is this REALLY happening?” I was so excited for my Dad to finally experience my fascination and devotion to exploring new places. Actually, I think that he was more comfortable with Vietnam than I was. I felt like I failed, as he hates big, nosiy cities, and he and I spent the majority of our time in big, noisy cities. I wanted him to catch the spark and love travel too, but when he was pick pocketed, I doubted if that would ever happen. When we were somewhat lost, I never want to backtrack, and instead I like continue to another metro station, upcoming street, or ferry stop. He only wanted to return to what he knew, the place we already had passed. When I was anxious over the honking horns and crossing a street, he said he loved it. He would try and make me laugh. I would tell him he was ridiculous. He would advise me to throw things at him when he was snoring. After throwing a scarf, I realized I had nothing left to throw. He continued to snore. I thanked him for coming with me. I cried to him about the tortilla business and how dating sucks. He just listened. He would order enchiladas and they would be terrible, and I continually ordered Pad Thai that was too spicy to eat. He played Dad much too often; “Kara, did you get enough to eat? We need to go back this way. I think we should get a taxi. This area is not safe.” He cried when I flew to Chiang Mai to spend over a week traveling alone. I was still excited to be going to the places I had been dreaming about.
Cat Ba, Island Vietnam
Yep. Just a little Cat Nap. Snoring Again:)
I love that he is so sensitive. I admire who is as my father, as a husband to my mom, and the funny, fun loving man he is. I appreciate his Christian faith and character. I am SO blessed to have a dad that would take the time and have the option to spend twelve days traveling with his daughter, to a country that isn’t exactly known for easy travel. He may not get what it’s like to be twenty-six years old in 2012, and understand the fears and frustrations that I face, but he loves me. I was so jealous of Emily when we were in Istanbul, and she would email her mom, dad, brother, and whoever else on the list, because they were worried about her. That’s wasn’t my story. When I got back to Los Angeles, I called my Dad, and his response was a nonchalant, “Oh you’re back already?” The story is different now, and I’m glad that Dad was with me in Vietnam because he understands. Once Daddy left, and I was still in Thailand, I would be awakened to text messages: “U there Kara? Where are you? Are u ok? Call me on FaceTime!” Dad! It’s 3am my time. Let me sleep!
On the riverboat in Bangkok, Thailand
I never felt unsafe or threatened during my travels in Vietnam or in Thailand. I was only uncomfortable as the places were so different from what I am used to in my daily life. My dad witnessed not the most relaxed and savvy travel version of me, but now knows firsthand that travel can be hard work, while also simultaneously, rewarding. That as much can happen in one day as happens to most people in one week.
Worth the long, overnight train ride: Sapa, Vietnam
Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand
A moment of utter travel accomplishment for me occurred after arriving to Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. We had to find the way to the guesthouse that I had booked. After guiding us, if somewhat un-confidently to the correct address, I looked back at him, smiled broadly, saying, “SEE!!! It’s right there!” “Girl!” he had said with relief and a sliver of awe, “How did you find this place?!” I smiled. Oh Daddy! You know all those trips I go on alone? I’ve made myself dizzy more times than I can count from all the circles I’ve walked trying to find a stupid hostel or hotel.
The story of my life may be the constant status of lost:)
What I feel right now isn’t necessarily lost. I actually am confident in my penciled in blueprint, a descent idea of where my life is going, it’s just not it in detailed form. Like, I can’t tell you where I will be living, or what job I will be working in five years time, but I imagine I will have been to Australia by then, and hope to have learned Spanish. And maybe that foreign country? Yeah, I will call it my home. I know that I want to continue to see the world. I know I desperately want to learn languages. I would love to get married, with munchkins and all. I’ve been probably more surprised than anyone with my whirlwind travel romance. I never thought I would fall so in love. I thought this was just a fling, a moment that would trend itself into the next, yielding to something new. But, I’m finally accepting that I don’t believe this is fleeting. This is me. I bubble when I talk about anything travel. And as I grow up and get older, my travels and journeys may mature and change ever so slightly. I hope that as I get older and experience more, I can find answers to my questions. Where do I belong? Who is this God guy and what does he want me to be? Will I ever be able to study in Argentina? How am I ever supposed to know who is meant to stay in my life?
I’m getting the idea that people view me as somewhat of a travel expert, and really, I’m not sure if I know what the hell I am doing. I do believe I’ve learned an awful lot through trial and error, and I’d venture to guess that if you asked me about which airline travels where, I could tell you without even blinking, “That one travels there.”
Another Airport; LAX
What I would really like is a bit of focus, but I don’t seem to have any. My writing recently is proof of that. I have so many immediate responsibilities. Moving. Paying a ridiculously expensive parking ticket. Cleaning my room. Packing my life. All of my life. All of my life doesn’t fit in a carry-on. Telling all the interesting adventures from the last twenty days. I’ve racked up so many topics; travel tips, advice, destinations, things to do, stories, and thoughts. I want to go on that third date, and then there’s that first date I was hoping for, but there is just no time. Oh, and my baby blog needs a babysitter. I have a lot going on. A lot too much.
If I review 2012, I’ve been to Hawaii, Barcelona, Paris, Iceland, Sweden, Estonia, Istanbul, Denmark, Portugal, Alaska, Munich, Ljubljana, New York, San Francisco, lived in Florida for a month, and then the other places that I’ve bounced around in the United States and elsewhere. Three separate trips to Europe, one to Iceland, and then Southeast Asia. That’s significant. And I work full time. Yes. I truly have the best job ever.
Maybe I am living in a dream: Stockholm, Sweden. May 2012
Finally, I’m home now, if only for a little while. And I am good. I slept eighteen hours last night. Or should I say that I slept yesterday afternoon, last night, AND this morning? After twenty days on the other side of the world, with not even a day to rest before my first day back to work, my body was about to collapse. I needed rest. I needed to be home. I have only fifteen more days until Hermosa Beach and Los Angeles will no longer be my home. I’ve been telling everyone I’m moving to San Francisco area, because that’s what I also thought. Well, I was going to do that, but today, the forecast looks different. There’s been a change in the weather. What’s that you ask? Well, throw on the bikini and say, Aloha🙂
Pay attention, cause blink and I’ll be gone.