Wheels Up

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Hello, friends and family! I really appreciate all three of you guys visiting this page. Welcome to my rambling chronicle of my year abroad, during which I’ll be taking my one-woman circus around the world in an attempt to significantly whittle down my bucket list, eat a lot of great food, and most importantly, eschew any kind of spiritual awakening. I promise not to be that person at your next dinner party spouting Burmese proverbs in the middle of an anecdote about her intense moment of personal rebirth deep in a forest somewhere in the Golden Triangle.

Of all the blogs in the world, no theme is more prevalent than travel (which I quickly discovered when trying to register a clever domain name). So why you should read this one? First, the bragging rights. I’ve traveled pretty extensively in my life already, so I feel moderately qualified to impart what little wisdom I have about traveling in general and think I am in a good position to talk about the places I visit, even as a first-time visitor. I’ve done my homework and this won’t be my first rodeo.

Second, a humble appeal. I’ve found a lot of first-person travel writing is often about the writer, not the people or the places he visits. That’s not what this is about. As much as possible, I hope this blogs showcases the unique and wonderful places I visit with as little editorializing on my part as possible.

Traveling can be both mind-numbingly frustrating and incredibly rewarding; I plan to chronicle both in colorful detail. I know this trip will be a lot of fun and I want that to come through. Visiting other countries inevitably results in some hilarious instances of confusion and general WTF, and that’s what makes the experience so memorable. That said, traveling to other places and learning about other people and cultures is not a joke, and my other goal is to give every place its full and proper due, free from my poor attempts at comedy.

I’ll begin my year-long excursion in Asia, where I’ll visit 12 countries in just under four months (you can see a more detailed itinerary here). After the holidays, I’ll head to the Southern Hemisphere–Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Southern and Eastern Africa–and to the Middle East in late March, before the final leg of my trip in the spring and summer: an itinerary-free road trip around Europe, which will likely resemble an episode of Top Gear more than anything and be a rollocking good time.

I’m beginning in Asia, as this is the part of the world that I’ve traveled to the least and because I’m foolish enough to visit during the oppressively hot and rainy summer months. I was 12 the first and only time I went to Asia, on a family vacation to Beijing in 2005.

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Like all wise seventh-graders, I was a big fan of head-to-toe Abercrombie, seen here at the Forbidden City.

As far as I was concerned, the highlight of the trip was the pool at the hotel (to be fair, this pool is amazing). I’d like to flatter myself by thinking I’ve matured somewhat since then, so I’m looking forward to much more than the aquatic offerings this time around.

My cousin Emily and I chuffed to bits about our visit to the Great Wall.

I’ll be visiting a lot of different places on this trip: world-famous cities, small towns I still have trouble finding on a map, beaches, mountains, jungles, and everything in between. Check back later this week as I explore my first stop: Tokyo.

Right now, I’m on the eternal journey from Los Angeles to the Japanese capital. See you on the other side.

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