Back in October I headed back to Burma for another 5 week stint, hiking lush valleys, visiting hilltribes, biking around to monasteries, and talking to the people about their country and democracy. As all of my trips to the country have been, it was quite eye opening, and left me yearning for more and more.
But once again, Burma called my name and I made a return visit for just shy of 3 weeks over xmas and New Years. In typical fashion, what was to be a 7 day trip turned into 10, then 14, and and finally 20 days. I even had a 1 week "vacation" from the Internet during that stretch, which was as awesome as it was necessary.
One of my most incredible travel experiences happened on Boxing Day (Dec 26th, 2012) and I look forward to sharing it with you soon. Here's a sneak peek.
Fast forward to the second week in January, and I had just 5 days back in Chiang Mai to work before boarding the flights I'm now on to Auckland, New Zealand. I'll tell you more about that in the next few days.
It's safe to say that Burma and I have a thing going on. I would even say it's like we're "going steady" by this point. I've spent nearly 4 months of the past year in the the country, and more is likely to come. Unfortunately the poor state of the internet there means it is very difficult for me to work there, a huge catch for a digital nomad. I have done quite a bit of writing on the state of the internet and technology in Burma / Myanmar on Too Many Adapters. While it's getting better, it's still pretty awful.
What Else Has Been Happening?
I Can't Stop Talking About Burma
The odd times when I haven't been actually traveling in Burma (Myanmar), I find I just can't stop talking about it. Hostelbookers interviewed me back in November about the country, and the basics of what you need to know to travel there. Read "9 Burning Questions About Myanmar Travel Answered"
I was also featured on the popular travel podcast "Amateur Traveler" talking about Myanmar, the influx of tourists, and how to avoid them. I also give a sample itinerary to enjoy your own slice of Burma (Myanmar) without a tour bus in sight. You can listen below, or find the podcast on iTunes. You will even see some of my photos from recent trips in the "iTunes Enhanced" podcast.
Published in Vagabundo
I wrote an article for Gillian over at One Giant Step on spending xmas abroad. After spending the past four xmas' on four continents (which I wrote about here on Skinny Backpacker), I thought a lot about what the season meant for me. I wrote the article when I was feeling a bit down, but in the end, heading back to Burma was the answer. It was one of the best xmas' I've had, which just proved to me that it's all about the people you surround yourself with.
Do It In a a Dress Wrapup
The Do In in a Dress campaign that I worked on with my father and brother wrapped up. I'm happy to say that it was a huge success, and well beyond our expectations. Our original goal for "Hike It in a Dress" was $3000, and in the end, we raised north of $7400! (photos)
Our "Hikers Without Pants" team also did marvelously. This is the most exciting part for me, getting others involved. In fact, a friend of mine who I met in Tanzania 5 years ago has already planned his 2013 Do In in a Dress hike, where he'll be hiking an old gold rush route between Alaska and the Yukon... in a dress. Maybe I'll join him...
In late November 2012, I quietly crossed a bit of a milestone. Three years ago I left Canada to travel the world for a year. Fast forward to now, and it's hard to look at living life any other way.
Over time the way I travel has evolved, and I gather experiences in a deeper way. The goal is still the same. Learn from others, learn about myself, and take in all I can.
Stay tuned in the next few days when I present my next big project.