Traveln

Published on August 10th, 2014

13

1,000 Days of Roaming the Globe!

29 October 2011 – 24 July 2014

The date crept up on me unexpectedly. A stray question in one of my travel blogging groups: What’s the longest you’ve been on the road?

So I checked. Added up the stray days, the months, the years. By golly, it was a nice round one, zero, zero, zero – days since I hopped on that plane in Seattle and first stepped toes in Vietnam.

Now I’m not one to bother (boast?) with counting countries, nor do I check this and that off on a bucket list (much less make one to begin with). But I’ve always been big on marking milestones in my life – even if only as an excuse to buy a bottle of bubbly… 😉

Ah but how to mark the dizzying goose eggs of 1,000 days roaming the globe?

I truly enjoyed cobbling together my 7 minute “Looking Back on 2012: The Movie” and I still savor watching that first full year in Asia digitally unfold.  Indeed, I’ve said it here before, but it bears repeating – the best reward for all this TravelnLass pecking for the past near 4 years, is that these many posts (nearly 250 and counting!) serve as my own personal diary as I skip from country to country. Without them, I fear the details of my experiences in Asia and now South America, would begin to fade from my dodderin’ brain.

Still… that video took hours and hours to whittle, and I simply don’t have the heart just now to tackle digitally chronicling all 1,000 days in a gazillion photos, video clips, fades and sound.  So what’s a (lazy) girl to do?

Why slice those 1,000 days into more manageable 3 month chunks and create a series of 11 collages – each depicting about a 90 day wedge of this 1,000 day odyssey.

Even then, it proved exceedingly tough to choose but a scant sample of images to define a thousand days of dazzling sights and memorable experiences. Nonetheless, I think I’ve managed to capture the essence of my life as an expat these past few years.

Ladies and Gentlemen (Lads ‘n Lasses), I present you with…

1,000 Days of Skipping ‘Round the Globe:

 
November 2011 – January 2012
01-1000DaysCollage-Nov11-Jan12

Dumping most every last bit of “stuff” I owned and buying a one-way ticket to Hanoi, Vietnam; gawking at the splendor of Ha Long Bay, hiking through picturesque Hilltribe villages amid the mountains of Sapa, flying south to Ho Chi Minh City, getting my first Vietnam apartment, diving head-long into a near sleepless month tackling the CELTA course, treating myself upon graduation to a few idyllic weeks gawking at wild orangutans and relaxing on the isle of Pulau Weh and the serenity of Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia, and celebrating my first ever “Tet” (Vietnamese New Year).
 

February – April 2012
02-1000DaysCollage-Feb-Apr12

Starting my first (ever!) teaching gig, celebrating my birthday on the idyllic isle of Phu Quoc, and exploring the streets and alleyways of my new “home” in Saigon (and sampling the delectable bowls of steaming phở, bánh mỳ, gỏi cuốn, et al).
 

May – July 2012
03-1000DaysCollage-May-July12

Taking advantage of my suh-weet teaching schedule (only Sat/Sun classes – with week days completely free!), a quickie flight to Cambodia to witness the stunning splendor of Angkor Wat; along with a dash to both Nha Trang and Mui Ne, Vietnam for some beach time.
 

August – October 2012
04-1000DaysCollage-Aug-Oct12

Completing my 6 month ILA teaching contract, I was eager to tuck some serious Asian travel under my belt. First a quick trip to check out the cool, green French hilltown of Dalat, and then a whiz to Chiang Mai, Thailand (both possible relocation options after…) The BIG trip: a full month bouncing around MONGOLIA!
 

November 2012 – January 2013
05-1000DaysCollage-Nov12-Jan13

Upon my return from Mongolia, a blissful move to Dalat (and a new home at my beloved L’Auberge Ami), plus a quick dash to Singapore and 3 weeks trying to make a dent in the humongous land of Oz. Then back to dear Dalat for my 2nd Christmas abroad and another Vietnam “Tet”.
 

February – April 2013
06-1000DaysCollage-Feb-Apr13

Another 6 month teaching contract, this time at the American Academy in Dalat (with my favorite class of “G4’s” plus a cooking class with my Juniors), another birthday in Vietnam (amid the wondrous garden at L’Auberge Ami), topped off with a FABulous trip to Laos for the annual Elephant Festival.
 

May – July 2013
07-1000DaysCollage-May-July13

In the last few months of living and teaching in Vietnam, I enjoyed not one, but two wonderful photography courses in the picturesque coastal town of Hoi An. And on my final morning in Dalat, I rose at dawn to bid adieu to the sunrise view from my window at my beloved L’Auberge Ami.
 

August – October 2013
08-1000DaysCollage-Aug-Oct13

Finishing up my teaching contract, I was once again free to wander as wide and long as I pleased. And wander I did – first to the Land of Everest (Nepal), then down to Malaysian Borneo to track down those cute little Pygmy elephants, a dash by boat into the land of Brunei, and finally I resettled into the Land of Smiles (Thailand) – just in time for the legendary Yi Peng lantern festival (plus the annual gathering of 1,000 monks).
 

November 2013 – January 2014
09-1000DaysCollageNov13-Jan14

Sooo many wonderful memories of my final adventure in Asia:  Myanmar. Ever so hard to choose just a handful of pics for the collage – I STILL haven’t managed to write a post or twelve about my many extraordinary experiences there:  the tanaka patches on every cheek, trepidatiously sucking a mouthful of betel nut concoction, gambling in the streets of Rangon, whizzing on the back of a motorbike through the Hilltribe back-roads from Kalaw to Inle Lake, the THOUSANDS of temples at Bagan, bouncing 2 feet in the air on a rickety train to Manadaly, the candlelit pre-dawn market at Hsipaw, and on and on. Stay tuned, I promise to catch up on all the tales. But meanwhile…
 

February – April 2014
10-1000DaysCollage-Feb-Apr14

After more than 2 incredible years bouncing around Asia I opted to move on to explore a whole new continent: South America

Settling into the tippy-top of the Andes mountains in Cuenca, Ecuador, I fell in love with the red-tiled roofs and cobbled streets of “El Centro” (a World Heritage site).  The temperate climate, the beauty of the Rio Tomebamba (one of four gurgling rivers that run through Cuenca), along with the language (I already had a rusty base in Spanish from working as a tour operator in Costa Rica for 20+ years) – all combined to make me decide to hang around this charming spot on the Planet for a spell.

Needless to say, words utterly fail to describe my delight in having a KITCHEN again, and I arrived just in time for Carnival, my birthday, and – I even managed to organize the (the first annual) Easter Egg Hunt (Búsqueda de Huevos de Pascua) in Cuenca!
 

May – July 2014
11-1000DaysCollage-May-July14

Now bringing us up to the present… Seriously settling in here atop this mountain, and relishing staying put for awhile. A new apartment (TWO bedrooms, so your bed is waiting, friends!), face-painting for the Word Cup Ecuador game (inspired by my fond memories of face-painting for the SAFF Semi-final game against Afganistan in Nepal), celebrating the solstice “Inti Raymi” festival at the nearby Inca Temple of the Sun, and *finally* (after nearly FOUR months of acky dawdle) my Ecuador PERMANENT RESIDENT visa!

I’ve also been diligently working on improving my Spanish – jabbering with any local who will listen to my inelegant hacking of their native language, have hired a great private tutor who comes to my place twice each week, and am slowly making a few Ecuadorian friends like Martha, an “abogada” (attorney) with her many nephews and the family’s beloved “caballo” pictured above.

Oh and… further proof that the TravelnLass is slowwwing waaay down in her wanderings – I’ve even gone so far as to – OMG, adopt a pet KITTY!  Seriously, “Dulce” (“sweet” in Spanish) truly is a doll, and adds such a comforting touch of “home” for a nomadic expat like me.

So, Does This Mean…???

…the TravelnLass is turning in her gypsy slippers in favor of homesteading here at 8,000+ feet forever? Plowing a potato field, cobbling together a chicken coop, penning up a pig or two?

NOT.A.CHANCE.

Though it’s mighty nice to be somewhat settled in one place for a spell (and bear in mind, my apartment is fully furnished, so I’m still pretty much packing but a single rollie and a backpack), the “plan” is for Ecuador to serve as a base for slowly exploring the vast South American continent. Indeed, I still hyper-ventilate at even the THOUGHT of purchasing any “stuff” bigger than a scarf or a pair of earrings.

For starters, I’ve got my baby-blues fixed on those luscious Galapagos Islands off the coast, along with neighboring Columbia and of course that legendary icon in Peru (Machu Picchu). Oh and Cuba, as long as I’m now in the neighborhood. And Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, heck… with any luck, I’ll even make it all the way down to Antarctica!

In short, if I have my way (and these dodderin’ legs hold out) I can’t WAIT to see what new and exotic adventures await – among the next 1,000 days!

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About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!



13 Responses to 1,000 Days of Roaming the Globe!

  1. It sounds like it has been quite a ride! Are you liking South America as much as Asia or is it just different, but still wonderful?
    Suzanne Fluhr kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Montecristo (and His People) Visit Brigantine and PhiladelphiaMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      I’m loving Ecuador Suzanne, but I must admit – dwelling lately on all these past pics from so many wondrous corners of Asia… let’s just say I wish I could be in two places at once!

      That said, yes – the two continents/cultures are vastly different. Neither better nor worse than the other – just different. And for me, that’s very refreshing, and the primary reason I travel at all. 😉

  2. Congrats on the momentous milestone, Dyanne! It’s lovely to see how your adventure has evolved over the past 1000 days and to hear that even though you’re embracing the slooooow life right now, you have no plans to stop your peripatetic lifestyle any time soon! As someone who has just hit 2 years on the road (albeit with a current prolonged stint back home as we lay the foundation for our next big trip), it’s always great to read “success stories” from other worldwide wanderers who are out there making this unconventional lifestyle work.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Two Years Later: Keep Calm & Travel OnMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Yes Steph, I think each of us has our own peculiar “balance” of travel speed. I could no more perpetually move from hostel to hostel (or even – perhaps especially, 5-star to 5-star) than skip to the moon. Then again, if I stay in one place (which btw, I believe offers its own unique rewards in truly getting to know the culture, the people, etc. of a country) too long… sooner or later I get the “itch” again, and off I happily go! 😉

  3. Loved reading your recap and seeing your photos of what 1000 days of travel actually represents. Your comment about CELTA brought back a lot of memories of sleepless nights and stressful days as we started out our travels with a month long course in Playa del Carmen. The only reason we hung in there and successfully completed the course was because it was too hard to write our friends and family back home telling them we’d quit (also called “negative motivation”!) So far we’ve volunteered in a public school for 2 months in Guatemala and 3 months in Nicaragua and it’s great to know we have a back-up plan if we want or need a real job while we’re traveling.
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Some Sun, More Rain and the Journey to Bocas Del ToroMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Oh my yes Antia, the CELTA is surely no walk-in-the-park. But yes too, oh so handy to have that sweet little credential in your hip-pocket. Alas, not so much in Latin America (as the pay here is hardly worth the commitment to tie yourself down to a contract), but if you ever head to Asia (especially Vietnam) it can prove mighty sweet indeed.

  4. Mary Moss says:

    What a fabulous post – I believe this is my very favorite one. I’ll be begging you in the next couple of weeks for help to set up my own.

    Almost 2 weeks in my new home country. 1 week of orientation done. Today was my first day of teaching a second grade class. The kids are darling, but the teacher is now sipping a nice cold sauvignon blanc:-)

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks Mary, glad you enjoyed my little walk-down-1,000 days-lane. 😉 Choosing and whittling the many pics for each collage actually turned out to be almost as much fiddle as the 2012 “Looking Back” video. Ah but both, ever so personally lovely to remind me of my many adventures.

      And yes, yes, as I’ve often nudged you – starting a little blog is quite easy, and documenting your expat experiences is oh so satisfying. You needn’t stress yourself out with long, blathery posts (like… uh someone we know here) 😉 Nor set some impossible schedule of posts – it’s YOUR blog, so what you choose to post and how often is entirely up to you. Not only is it a great record of your travels, but I find it actually saves me time ‘cuz my friends and family can keep up to date on where and what I’m up to – all in one place.

      Congrats on your new job and “home” in Myanmar. Do let’s schedule a time to Skype and I can give you some pointers on your new blog.

  5. Congratulations on 1000 days! It’s good to reflect back every now and then. Although I didn’t keep up my travel blog I’m glad I did document some of the highlights for the same reason you mentioned. Maybe I should go have and a look back through them…

    Hope your next 1000 days are just as amazing!
    Ruth Elisabeth kindly contributed to world literature by posting…How learning styles affect language learningMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Oh yes Ruth, do go back and review your travel blog (I forget, what was it called/does it still exist since you started your Vietnamese language blog?)

      I may well be a bit overly sentimental, but I frequently reread some of my long ago tales here, and the memories all come flooding happily back to me.

  6. Sue Pearson says:

    So many stories to tell, I can’t imagine trying to whittle out a few photos from all the wonderful ones you must have! I like the links within your stories so we can check things out in more depth! So the stories continue on…
    Sue Pearson kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Heart gift box Paper Mache by mosaicmacheMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Yes Sue, choosing but a handful of photos to represent my many, many adventures in the past few years was tough. Indeed, many of the most memorable moments were tiny little interactions with stray locals with alas no photo to share.

      Nonetheless, at least these here serve to share the highlights, and folks can delve further into the site to read the details.

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