Travel Without Anticipation

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I bet you’re anticipating Christmas tomorrow, right? Oh, you’re Jewish. Happy Yom Kippur. But how can one not anticipate travel, you ask? Easy! You go on an international trip with very little warning, or something otherwise known as 3 hours to pack for a 29-hour flight halfway across the world.

Fact: Halfway around the world from where I live is actually in the Indian ocean near Australia. But you get the picture.

As I wrote back in August, I was in the car with my good friend on the way to work when this happened:

My friend to me, yesterday: “Well, you and I both like adventures and travel and exciting everything.”

Me: “Exactly. I LOVE finding random adventures and just going somewhere at the drop of a hat.”

Him: [Pause] “Right, so come with us tomorrow to Indonesia.”

Tonight I am leaving for Indonesia.

Yes, so that’s how it happened. Four of us, all friends (though they’ve all known each other for years and I’m just a newbie to the gang), all met at the airport and were off to Japan. Boom! No anticipation! I mean, except for the time it took to process my friend’s invitation, buy the ticket, get to the plane, and fly the first 14-hour leg.

Things I did not anticipate in Japan:

-Eating four lunches. I didn’t eat that much, but I did have the best ramen of my life, egg with mini shrimp sushi (I’m allergic to seafood, dontcha know), mango milk (pretty sure it came from a camel), and some cool snacks like carbonated hard candies.
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-How quiet, neat, and orderly everything is.

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-How beautiful, green, and peaceful it is—but with an overwhelming feeling of sadness everywhere I went. It wasn’t just the grey sky—it was a mood.

Green but somber

 

Things I did not anticipate in Bali:

-How touristy most of the island is. You can be walking in a field you think is just a beautiful field, and a local will ask you for a “donation” in order to pass. I’m not blaming anyone, but I am saying this is the kind of place I can’t stand to be in. If I’m traveling internationally to underdeveloped countries, I like going where I am the only foreigner, and where I can work and live like a local. This is probably why I should never travel with anyone ever again. There were at least two sets of mandatory donations to get to the beautiful fields below. Which is fine. But they’re not donations. What are you, the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

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-How happy everyone on the island seems to be.

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-Except her. She wanted money and she wasn’t even doing my laundry.

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-How much the masseuses would giggle each time I started giggling because of my ticklish tendencies. But when massages cost $6 for an hour, you go get them every other day anyhow.

-How monkeys make for the best photos. Seriously, I just haven’t gotten bored taking monkey photos in years.

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-How I support no artificial colors or dies in my food, drink, and animals.

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-How I’d actually convince a friend to go dive a shipwreck with me. The oceanlife was fantastic.

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-That I was going to walk into an M.C. Escher painting at Tanah Lot. The sunset was disappointing, but the angle of these mind-tricking wave-waterfalls were not.

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-That the engagement/styled wedding shoot I did with this lovely Swiss couple (for a photography company I work for, The Lilypad Agency) would be one of my absolute favorites of the year. And we did part of it at our own incredible villa, which featured swim-from-the-bathroom pools and hidden rooms. Not lying.
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Things I did not anticipate in Jakarta:

-That I wouldn’t be staying in Jakarta, but outside of it with a new friend, and then traveling to a pretty untraveled area out in Indonesian villages.

-How awesome it would be eating street food, food court food, and mini restaurant food around Indonesia’s capital city. No, I did know that. There was the pandan man who served three different types of green pancakes rolled in sugar, the fried foods person, the baby pineapple boys, the cut up unripe fruits and veggies in some pepper peanut sauce I did not understand guy, the what are these jellies floating in some kind of palm milk substance drink man, and so much more.

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-That I might enjoy making these adorable kiddies hanging out with us for the day giggle a lot. My face is amusing in many all countries.

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-That my friend Lydia was not going to be able to keep a straight face in any of the photos with her family–and said photos now hang in her aunt’s living room.

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-That I was going to come across a very hairy giant martian blockhead baby costume while riding on the back of a motorcycle, and still have no idea what it was months after the fact.

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-How much I would love it, especially after touristy Bali. I didn’t see a single tourist the entire day!

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A few other photos from Indonesia and Japan are below for entertainment purposes only. Heck, I bet you didn’t even anticipate making it through this entire post, but congrats on the accomplishment. The next post will be the last of the year, and considering I’m writing about this trip 4 months after the fact, I’ll probably see you in April 2017.

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