Myanmar | U Bein Bridge Don’t Know You’re Beautiful

I didn’t expect to see a pair of monks playing music on an iPhone, but I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined the music would be a song from One Direction, of all possible options. Michael Buble, maybe; Enya, of course; but One Direction? Then again, I’d never imagined myself in Myanmar to begin with, so wasn’t this just part of the experience of being continuously and wonderfully surprised by everything around me?

Myanmar | All That Glitters is Golden Rock

“She believed she could, so she did.” I reread the words engraved in the silver bracelet my sister had given me before I went on my first adventure after quitting my job to travel. The bracelet was just inches away from my face as I clutched the bar in front of me with all my might, knowing I’d have calluses on my palms later. My hands were cold and wet from the rain that was pouring down on top of us. I had a thin rain poncho on that would flap loudly in the wind to hit me in the face at the fastest moments and stick to my skin to make me feel claustrophobic in the slowest moments.

2016 Travel Year in Review

Oh, 2016. What a year it’s been. Like many of my friends (including Katie and Erin), I had an incredible year personally, and while we can’t just ignore everything that’s going on in the world and in our country, that’s not what this post is about. With all the memes showing “me at the start of 2016” and “me at the end of 2016,” my favorite, and my goal, is this one (though the video version communicates the message better):

Myanmar | A Few Days’ Break in Inle Lake

Inle Lake is one of the top tourist destinations in Myanmar, but it still feels untouched and village-y, if we decide I can use that word I just made up. Many make their way into Inle Lake by trekking from the town of Kalaw, staying overnight in a local family’s home and waking up to them preparing the food for the day, in the most traditional way. I made my way in a shared eight-hour taxi (think: van) next to a woman who kept leaning her knee on me and leaving voice messages for her friends and then listening to their messages on speakerphone for all to hear. The next time I go to Myanmar, I’ll try to include some hiking in there, and I’d love to stay with a local family.

Myanmar | What I Was Doing in Myanmar

“Doctor.” “Engineer.” “Swimmer.” “Nurse.” “Teacher.” “Football Player.” After the children warmed up to me a little bit, they took turns answering my question of what they wanted to be when they grow up. They all spoke softly but confidently, in English. I was visiting an orphanage near Insein, a small suburb of Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. It was only my second day in the country, but I knew it would stand out.

September 2016 Recap | Myanmar, NJ, NYC, Nevada, Arizona, Utah

I heard the same thing from a friend who quit her job last year, but I truly don’t even know how I managed a full-time job, a full-time life, and my blog. It’s getting harder and harder to sit down and write. Granted, for the month of September, I was only home for a week in between trips, but I had lofty goals of writing a post a day that I could space out over the upcoming weeks, and well, that didn’t happen. Getting over a 10 1/2 hour time difference and 24 straight hours of traveling isn’t that easy for my body yet. I also had to fit in 5 weeks worth of exciting episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey and New York (“Don’t let it be about Tom”). I’m not ashamed of it, so you shouldn’t be on my behalf either.

Myanmar | Mastering the Art of Burmese Cooking

In my six years in NYC, I used my kitchen maybe three times a month. I didn’t exactly use my oven to store shoes, like SJP’s “Carrie” in Sex & the City, but I did (and d0) like going out to eat. Even if I wasn’t going out, I’d be perfectly fine eating cereal (or Chipotle) for dinner as I’d usually grab a bigger lunch at work to escape my desk.

Even though I don’t cook a lot, when my local Sundara friends mentioned that Thuya’s sister May taught a cooking class {Pennywort Cooking Class} in Bagan, I wanted in on it. I was absolutely LOVING the Burmese cuisine, as I knew I would with my little taste at Cafe Mingala in NYC. During my visit, I was especially obsessed with the green tea leaf salad, a traditional salad that was incredibly delicious but at the same time completely unrecognizable to me. I needed to be able to recreate these tastes for myself and also wanted to share them with my family once I returned back home, even though my dad can be quite picky.

Myanmar | Who Let the Dogs Out?

If you know me at all, you know about my intense obsession with dogs. When I walk around NYC, I wave to them and say “hi, buddy!” without acknowledging the humans walking them. I try to pet them when their owners aren’t looking, as long as they look friendly and fluffy. I follow more dog accounts on Instagram than I do of my actual friends. And I was more excited to see my parents’ dog after coming back home than I was to see them. Just kidding, Mom and Dad!

Because of my obsession, being in Myanmar was interesting for me. In every city I was in, there was a huge population of stray dogs. In most of the areas where I was hanging out in Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan, the dogs were pretty domesticated and used to humans. It was in Inle Lake where the dogs felt completely wild. There was definitely a canine takeover of the city after 11 PM and I was woken up several times each night by their fights. I felt like I was in a revival of West Side Story.

August 2016 Recap | NJ, Malaysia, Myanmar

I’m not even sure where to begin with this month’s recap. It’s the first month that my life has changed in a ginormous way, in quite some time. As you all know by now, I left NYC and the corporate world at the end of July, to try something new. I’m still in the midst of my first big adventure in Southeast Asia.

Global Bites without the Flights | Burmese Food at Cafe Mingala

Before I left New York last month, it was important to me to have one final Global Bites without the Flights (for the time being). I’ve somehow been lucky and loved all my Global Bites so far, but this one was extra special. On my first adventure of this whole “quitting my job to travel” thing I’ve gotten myself into, I’ll be spending the most time in Myanmar. Many people asked, “where?!” when I told them about my plans. It’s a country I admittedly didn’t know much about until recently, in Southeast Asia, bordered by India, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, and Laos. Right now, I’m only an hour away from there in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and heading there tomorrow afternoon.