Page 2 of Journey of Echoes Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Lake Toba October 16th 2012

Location: Inner Sumatra. Date: Millions of years ago. Event: A catastrophic volcanic blast created basically the largest crater on Earth, which over time with the help of rivers and rain became Lake Toba! A large island rests in the middle of the lake, laced with jungle, and home to the friendly Batak people who possess a mysterious past... And that's exactly where I'm headed. So, hop on the back on my motorbike as I zip around this rock and unveil its secrets. A Brief Batak History The ancestors of the Batak people are known to be from Yunan province in China. Legend has it, they arrived in Indonesia by canoe around a thousand years ago or so, and based the style of their houses on the canoe-like shape. Stone Chairs: Just like it sounds. A bunch ... read more
Stone chairs
Batak style

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Kapas Island October 8th 2012

The buses are honking. A woman on the overhead speaker lists off scheduled departure times. Incomprehensible chatter surrounds me. Noise has taken over the Kuala Lumpur bus station. Luggage wheels scraping, cell phones ringing, loud voices. I crawl onto my bus, pop in my earphones and let my music drown out the chaos. The bus comes to an abrupt halt and spits me out at 5 AM. It's dark, it's quiet. I'm on the Northern East coast of Malaysia and in the distance the silence is interrupted by the Muslim "call to prayer." I walk down the lifeless streets with the haunting prayers echoing off the houses. Exhausted, I find a bench, fall down on it, earplugs in, and I'm out. Two hours later I jolt awake and have one of those, "Where am I, I ... read more
Laying in my hammock

Asia » Malaysia » Penang » George Town September 28th 2012

I'm laying on the concrete at the bus station, watching the clouds roll over the hills. My Malaysian friend, Roy, is on his way to pick us up. It's warm but the breeze keeps the heat at bay. Back in the tropics, the trees look greener, the flowers more vibrant. I see a "Welcome to Penang" sign. Alright, now bring on the food! I was told in Penang you must eat eat eat! So away I chomped! Indian, Chinese, and Malay cuisines all melt together on this island of fusion. The spice combinations will leave your taste buds bewildered and tantalized. If you're feeling adventurous go for the century-old eggs, and the baby octopi. Malay people are very proud of their eclectic food choices and rave about how no where in the world cooks like them. ... read more
Mmmmmm... Food?
Wishing Statue
"Wishing Tree"

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 19th 2012

"I want to go to Amsterdam," my friend explains. I agreed that was fine, considering she had agreed to go to Bruges (my choice). Honestly? I didn't really know anything about A-dam except for hearing about the legalization of marijauna and prostitution. With no desire to smoke and even less desire to pay for an intimate encounter I was starting to wonder what I was going to do with myself in this land of sin. Read on as I try to find the innocence in A-dam and toil a bit with the debaucheries too... *Red Light District (RLD)* Writing about the RLD in a way that's appropriate for all readers presents a challenge. The RLD isn't meant for young eyes. None-the-less, I am going to attempt to say a few words about this area in the ... read more
Near Anne Frank's House
*rolls eyes*
At the cafe...

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges September 13th 2012

I don't typically like writing "beer diaries." The last thing people want to read about is how drunk you were in a foreign country. But, it is Belgium, and what is this country well-known for? Beer, indeed! So, i'm going to talk at least a little about beer. Don't worry though, i'll keep it short and refined. I found myself in a Belgium bar the first evening here in Bruges, and i can't think of a better place to be drinking beer. Period. Melted wax and wood panels surround the bar. The giant clock ticking backwards makes you feel like there isn't a care in the world. People are speaking English, French, Flemish, German, and Spanish. It's an eclectic melting pot of people with a good buzz. Pink elephants (Delirium Beer's mascot) taunt you all over ... read more
Town Center
Delirium Beer

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris September 3rd 2012

From one city of lights to the next! Shanghai to Paris. From modern light spectacles to historic illumination. From the Pearl Tower to the Eiffel Tower. Here I am. So what can I possibly write about Paris that hasn't already been spelled out in plain English, French, and every other language? Well, after spending two years in China, coming to France has me looking at everything from a different perspective. The two countries are like polar opposites, and because I've been deprived of luxuries such as Western dining, low noise-pollution, and Latin-based language, I believe it gives me a more naive and pure perspective of the place. So read along as I treat myself to all I've been deprived of over the last two years and possibly gain some insight on how to not overlook the ... read more
What a view!
Where'd the tip go?

Asia » China » Jiangsu August 16th 2012

I look back at the past year and a half and I'm overwhelmed with all my challenges, feats, and unforgettable moments I've faced here in China. I feel blessed. And I'll tell anyone that moving abroad was the BEST DECISION I've ever made. And now it's time for me to leave this country I've developed such a love-hate relationship with, but not without first offering a tidbit of advice... For those considering coming to China for travel, work, or whatever, I've responded below to some common questions that may arise for those thinking of venturing to the Far East for an extended period of time. What should I bring to China? Before coming to China, I thought it was all about what can't I buy there? Do I have enough clothes? Do I have those candies ... read more
Peace and friends
Li River
Sound good???

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Wuxi August 3rd 2012

Turkey sandwich, check. Cold beer, check. Blanket, check. Some good friends to bring along, check! Picnic in the old town gardens anyone? How have I lived here for over a year and never been to this part of town? I look up at this mountain every day on my way home from work and I'm just now going to check it out? It's amazing how far we're willing to travel to see something new and exhilarating, when we sometimes forget there's a plethora of adventure within a 5-mile radius of us. “Old town” is situated on the outskirts of dusty Wuxi, settled at the bottom of a tree-infested mountain. The gardens, ponds and streams are connected by old courtyards, circular entrance ways, and connecting quaint bridges. We eat our lunch in the garden by one of ... read more
Poker Faces
Pull-up bar

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Wuxi July 31st 2012

As I was walking home this evening I made a detour through a pedestrian square... 8:00 PM Red juicy flesh dripping from their jaws. The sidewalk stained and squishy. I step in some of the discarded pieces. Some sticks to my shoe. It doesn't phase me because the sweet plum scent fills my surrounding, as eveningers continue chewing and chipping away at their fleshy fruits. Tunes glide into my skull while my headphones buzz out the current choice made by my iPod's shuffle mode. Over my music, I can barely here the oriental song alive around me. Those who are not feasting on the ripened reds, gather and swirl about the square; Dozens. A local community appearing to dance in unison to both their own echoing music, and the sounds ringing in my ears. Each of ... read more
rushing reds

Asia » China » Hangzhou July 29th 2012

Prior to the trip, the city was described to me in one word, “lush.” This word kept sweeping through my mind as I partook in the activities around the city of Hangzhou's West Lake. Dense greenery and an abundance of trees isn't usually on the agenda in China's major cities, however, Hangzhou was luckily out to prove it was an exception to the rule. The majority of the West Lake is surrounded by pagoda-topped hills infested with foliage. Trees line the roads around the lake towering even over the buildings and concrete. The air feels fresher. The haze that encompasses most Chinese cities seems to be absent from Hangzhou's skies. It's clean. It's tranquil. It's fantastic! A handful of my friends and I stayed next to the lake at Hangzhou West Lake Youth Hostel located just ... read more
Hard working tea farmers
Baochu Pagoda 2
terraces of tea!

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