not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 31, 2011


BFB = Beer. Food. Bed.

BFB...this has been our schedule. After a full day of travel, trekking or adventure, all you want is beer, food, and bed. I can't wait to arrive at our destination so I can BFB.

It is 16:35, and we are currently 6 hours and 15minutes into our 8 hour bus ride to Kompong Cham...the gateway to the northeast. We are heading out for Kratie tomorrow morning to see the nearly extinct Irrawaddy river dolphins and then off to Ratanikiri for some serious trekking. if i haven't said it already, I'm hollering it from the rooftops now-- Gillian is a great traveling partner, I couldn't ask for a better fit. I'm so excited to be on this journey with her- she is enhancing each day of the trip.

Cambodian Cabernet

Leave it to me to sniff out the one winery in all of southeast Asia!! I was delighted to discovery this adorable winery that made one red wine, a rose, grape juice, Ginger honey juice, and hands down the best brandy I've ever had. Gillian and I had a good laugh at the vineyard and enjoyed our tasting, which ran us $1 a piece. We particularly enjoyed the brandy and decided to purchase one bottle to bring along on our travels! It was $12 well spent. The wine actually wasn't half bad, but we didn't like it enough to spend $15 on it. 10 people work the vineyard and they produce 10,000 bottles a year total. It was a hoot, and chatting (rather, attempting to chat) with the owner was great.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Phnom Sampoeuv

One of our stops today in Battambang was Phnom Sampoeuv. Half way up the mountain is the killing fields - where the Khmer Rouge bludgeoned people to death before throwing them down an overhead skylight into a deep dark cave below. It was equally sad and beautiful. This is one of the temples atop the very high mountain (which took us a Very long time to hike up).


Found a lovely place to eat in Battambang, the White Rose. $0.30 for hot tea, $0.50 fresh coconut, and $1.75 for a big bowl of soup. Had dinner there last night then headed straight to bed. Gillian and I are sharing a double room which costs $5/night (so $2.50 each). It has a CLEAN mosquito free bathroom, two glorious comfortable beds, a strong fan and even a minifridge. Its in the heart of town. This morning we woke up, has breakfast at the White Rose and then hired a TukTuk for the day. Our drivers name was Sual. He was wonderful ( or in Khmer, "a-cha"). For $14(7ea) we covered some serious ground- leaving our hotel at 930am and returning at 3pm! We hit a vineyard, two temples, a very old guesthouse and the killing caves. This was our guide through the killing caves, sardah. He was such a delight, spoke great English and always had a smile on his face.

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year everyone. Celebrations are beginning here in Cambodia. This handpainted tapestry hung in the temple at the Killing Caves in Battambang. You could make a donation under your flag for "good luck".

I'm the year of the rabbit.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Town, New Friend, New Plans

Today I met Jillian within the first 20minutes aboard our 9 hour boat trip to Battambang. We hit it off instantly. Jillian has been traveling through India the past 5 months, and has done extensive traveling most of her life. To be described in one word, she is lovely. Shes from the Shetland Islands and doesnt plan to return to her job as an educator anytime soon She heard me telling another passenger that I hoped to make it up to northeast Cambodia. I have met many travelers in my short time here- none have been to the northeast, and none planned to go- opting to keep it simple at the beach or in user-friendly Siem Reap. Jill was delighted to hear of another person headed that way, so now here I am- in battambang, sharing a hotel room with my new travel partner. My plans have pretty much completely changed, which is the beauty of never having a plan to begin with! We leave Battambang first thing monday morning for Kompong Cham for 2 days. Then to Kratie and then into the wild east (Ratanakiri) for some serious trekking, secluded waterfalls, a swim in the volcanic crater lake and genuine locals! Then well steady head back south, only stopping in phnom penh for a day, heading all the way south to the beach. This is where we may part ways. She'll be doing some diving and I'll be visiti Scott van pelts buddy in Sihanoukville. Turns out I WILL be heading into Thailand afterall. Head all the way up through Thailand, entering northern Laos and spending one month heading south, then crossing into Vietnam just for a week. Flying out of Ho Chi Minh and into indonesia. Boom. That's the plan....for now.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Life of Luxury.

I've decided that after Siem Reap, I'm going to keep to a strict budget until my final month, May in Bali. So, to celebrate my final day in Siem Reap I fully indulged. Woke this morning and had the whole dorm room to myself. I did just about 2 hours of restorative and Yin yoga. Then headed to my regular breakfast spot for iced coffee, rice with vegetables and a Skype session with my parents. Got back to the dorm and practiced my Khmer with the girl that works the front desk. She laughed at my Spanish pronunciation but was impressed with my progress and desire to learn. I packed my bags and prepped for my departure. Lucky me, the boat tickets which are usually 20$ only cost me $12, and that includes my 30min TukTuk ride to the boat! After packing I headed to my afternoon beer spot, the Soup Dragon. They have 0.50$ beers and their wifi connection is great, so this is when I call Julia. She is usually just finishing up work at the restaurant when I call. We chatted for a long while and then afterwards I finally finished my book! Walked across the street and for $16 I got a bikini wax and a pedicure. Now I'm enjoying happy hour @ VIVA, a Mexican place in town. $1 tacos, $1 margaritas. My margarita is on the rocks with salt. My chicken taco is the best damn chicken taco I've ever had in my life. The fresh corn tortilla is better than those I've had in Mexico! The chicken was slow roasted and shredded, seasoned to perfection. Not sure what the rest of the day holds for me, but I'm pretty sure that it's gonna be great.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Music is such an essential part of life, and I find it particularly essential while traveling. I listen to Bonobo while doing my daily yoga flow, and I start my mornings with iced coffee and Alexi Murdoch. Here are some songs that are heavy in my current iPod rotation:

Gotye - hearts a mess
Glasser - apply
Florence & The Machine - heavy in your arms, my boy builds coffins
French Kicks - abandon
Bob marley - them belly full

Lia Hao Aussie's!

This is a onesie jumper that Mon (aka Mooch) gave to me.

Tonight I had to say goodbye to my (new) good friends, the Australian Girls. Monica, Mel, Kristin and Amber have made my stay in Siem Reap a fun and enjoyable one. As I expressed to them, the temples would have been just as beautiful if I was there alone, but the whole experience was memorable because it was shared with them. When traveling solo I usually connect with and end up traveling with one other person, two at most: always solo travelers. This was the first time that I was absorbed into such a large tight-knit group. We had a "fancy dinner" tonight at an adorable vegetarian restaurant in one of the towns back alleys tonight. My dinner was $5, but I figured that I'd break the budget for this farewell dinner. Our meal, at a place like this, back in the states would run you about 25-35$ an entree. SO, I guess that $5 wasn't really all that bad. After dinner we indulged a bit more with some shopping! It was a good time and I was glad to have a team in tow to help me barter down the prices (thanks Mel), pick out the cutest gear (thanks Mon) and help to regulate my purchases (thanks Kristen!).

Best of wishes to my new friends as they journey to malaysia, Singapore and ultimately - Australia. I look forward to visiting OZ, and to showing you around Costa Rica. Pura Vida.

Final Days in Siem Reap

Another lovely day in Cambodia. Miguel and lyndsay left today which is sad, but last night "Joe from England" joined the tribe. Woke up freakishly early again today, headed to town to my favorite morning spot for an iced coffee and some Skype. Talked to y mom and dad for a while and got a little tear in my eye. After breakfast I met up with the Australian girls at their hotel up he street. Amber and Kristen were feeling under the weather so they stayed home, while Mel, Mooch and I rented a TukTuk and cruised around town. The highlight of our daytrip was actually the restaurant we stopped at for lunch, which is only just down the street from where we are staying. The butterfly garden restaurant is exactly that- a gorgeous meditation garden filled with butterflies. We all agreed that we could have sat there all afternoon. The menu was a bit pricier, but the restauran supports good causes including Cambodian living arts an communities affected by hIV/AIDS. My delightful burger and French fries cost me $5. Came back to our empty dorm a took a nap. Woke up refreshed and soon I'm headed out to meet te girls for their 'last dinner'...they leave first thing tomorrow morning.

Just bought my boat ticket for Battambang, leaving from Siem Reap. I leave first thing Saturday morning. I was going to cut Battambang out, but I'd enjoy a quiet town for a few days, and I hear that they have the best Buddhist temples there, with lots of monks eager to learn English. Also, there is a winery there that I'd like to check out- it just seems so random. I'm looking forward to the boat trip there too. It's about 8 hours but everyone says it's the most beautiful boat ride in Cambodia. Gonna stay in Battambang only for about two days before heading to phnom penh. I'm going to see the killing fields and the royal palace, but the busy stinky city doesn't hold much appeal to me so this too will only be about a 2 day visit. Then I'm headed to the beach...Sihanoukville. My buddy Scott Van Pelt has a good friend hat lives here, Austin Fry, so it'll be nice to have a contact upon my arrival. I think I may hang here about 5 days or so- relax on the beach and eat seafood. Mmmm! In order to reach Kratie I'll have to go back to phnom penh to catch a boat. Two days in Kratie seeing freshwater dolphins and hanging with the local Mekong people before setting off into the jungle to Ratanakiri to swim in volcanic crater, hike up waterfalls and enjoy the 'wild east'. Then: LAOS. Yeeew!!

Tomorrow is my final day in Siem Reap. I'm going to rent a bike and cruise around, get a massage, and hit up a meditation class @ Raja Yoga which is just up the street.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Khmer Kindness

This picture of our dorms' pets pretty much sums up the Khmer people. They are totally comfortable with sharing their personal space with people who are completely different than them. I don't want to jinx myself, but I have never felt so comfortable and safe in any other country I've visited. The Khmer people have been patient, kind and genuine. I am grateful to be here.

My stomach wasn't feeling topnotch, so when I joined Lyndsay and Yenz to the market for breakfast, I opted to keep it simple. The very strong smell (combined with the sight) of dead fish, chickens, frogs and other assorted animals forced me to supplement fresh fruit instead of my morning Pho. The pineapples here are super cute and super tiny...the perfect size for a midget like me. I studied my Khmer cheat sheet for a minute before askin the woman for a pineapple. She was impressed and ben sliced up the pineapple for me!! The worked swift and smooth, slicing the pineapple in a spiral all the way up and down, maligned it easy to eat by just biting into it! It was so good, but he lack of napkins had me wearing some of the sweet fruit on my face!!!


I'm tired of being single. Yep, I said it. I have no problem being on my own, but it seems like everybody in this damn town is traveling with their significant other. And if for some reason they are traveling alone, their lover couldn't make it because of work or something like that. Where are all the real men at? Did I miss the memo or something?
Sent from my iPhone


You should just write sucker on my forehead. This girl came up trying to sell me bootleg books and postcards. I declined, "otay ah kuhn". She returned. This time with a sad face saying that she was hungry. Well, I folded. She asked for the menu and sat down. Her name, Pan. She ordered the frog, $3- the most expensive thing on the menu. I know it's only $3, but everything else is a buck. Then she wanted a smoothies, but I put my foot down there. Shortly thereafter I got the feeling that she was related to the owner, and that I was a total sucker. Hey, atleast she let me try a bite of her frog....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Khmer Vocab

So stoked that I've been picking up some of the language. Here's some vocab I now know, written phonetically so that I will remember how to say it....

Su-Su-Day: Hello
Ah Kuhn: Thank You
Ah Kuhn Jaran: Thank You Very Much
Otay Ah Kuhn: No Thank You
Klein-Na: Too Expensive
Som Du: Sorry/Excuse Me
La'Or Ah Kuhn: Good, Thank You
Kanai La-Or: Have A Good Day
Sa-At Na: Very Beautiful
Nach More Way: What's Your Name
Knom Cha More...: My Name Is....
Som Manoi: Menu Please
Som Kaut Loi: Bill Please
Na-At LeeAy Barn: Do You Speak English?
Lao-wee: Cool
Chop: Stop
La'Or: Good
Chinang: Delicious

Banana Chocolate Pancake Goodness

I only have 3 words for you:

1. Banana
2. Chocolate
3. Pancake

Epic. Crepe stuffed with bananas, nutella, and sweetened condensed milk. Holy Christ. $1, 1000 calories, and officially my new favorite street food.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mad Rambling 5,6,7,8,9

I realize that the blogs have been short and sweet, but I've neglected to fill you in on some key details.

Ramble #5:
I took a cooking class the other day. It was a super fun way to spend my afternoon, and I made some friends! Four young Australian girls, who offered to let me hop on their TukTuk and join them at the temples for the following three days. Monica, Mel, Amber and Kristin. They are very sweet and I'm thankful to have some
company for the 3 long temple treks.

Ramble #6:
I'm pretty easy and fuss-free concerning my living quarters while abroad. I love my $2/night dorm...we have nicknamed it "the aquarium" because the wall goes up about a foot and then it's all glass. Anyways, the aquarium is a great, clean place for the price I'm paying. BUT, the bathroom. Oh me oh my, the awful bathroom. The showerhead is next to the toilet, which is next to a big tub of water that just sits- collectively they make for a perfect mosquito breeding ground. The first time I opened the door to go pee a swarm of skeeters came charging at me, super excited about my sweet sissy skin. Bah!! Run!! After this trip I will probably die of DEET overdose! I've been bathing myself in it, and last night the German gave me a bottle that he brought from Germany...feeling bad for the poor lil girl covered in bites. So, I like my dorm too much to leave. I made two friends there, it's centrally located, safe and cheap. Plus- I've really been digging the big spare open room that I do yoga in every morning. So, since I won't leave- I've simply chosen to boycott the shower, and holding my pee until I can run into town for a drink. I brush my teeth with a waterbottle on the balcony, and I wash my face there as well.

Ramble #7:
"When in Rome" has been my motto for a long while. So, I've been eating food from all of the street vendors, staying far away from the nicer places that are full of foreigners. Most of my meals cost $1, I haven't paid more than $2 yet. The beverages are actually the same price as the food most time. Angkor Beer on tap is $0.50, but after a long hot day I just want water, a fresh coconut, and an iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk. I've been taking my acidophilus and vitamin c everyday, and drinking clean bottled water- so knock on wood, hopefully I continue to stay healthy.

Ramble #8:
As each day passes I feel more and more comfortable in my surroudings, and less and less alone. I've begun to pick up a few Khmer words, which the locals appreciate, even if I'm pronouncing them with a Spanish accent! Everyday I get less scared and anxious, but more excited about the upcoming months. It's a good feeling. I've found my rhythm; going to bed early, waking before sunrise and doing yoga, and having my coffee in the same place every morning.

Ramble #9:
the beauty of staying in a place that is $2, and eating for 3 meals a day for less than $5, is that you have lots of money left over for FUN shopping and massages! The shopping here is incredible and the massages are about $6/hr. Got one last night and it hit the spot after a long day walking around the temples.

Headed to some temples today and then I'm going to sit down and try to figure out a game plan for the upcoming week. Battambang or caramom mountains on the south coast? Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sweet Sunrise

I woke up at 4am today, did yoga for an hour, and then quickly changed- and met the Aussie Girls outside my hostel for our 5:15am TukTuk. We arrived at the most reknown of all the temples, Angkor Wat, by 5:30. We made our way through the dark to the banks of the pond by the temple. It quickly began to fill up and by 6:20 the sky began to brighten. The sun officially rose at 6:47am - and despite being surrounded by hundreds of other tourists, it was magical. I usually refrain from joining in on the whole tourist bandwagon, but today it felt good to join in on the fun.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sleeping in Siemp Reap

8 sleeping pads, laid on a concrete floor. Boom. This is my new home for the next few days.

Cambodia: Day 1

Mad Ramblings 1,2,3,4

Korea 7:09pm, Cambodia 5:09pm, New Jersey 5:10am, Seattle 2:10am

Ramble #1:
Korea Airs food doesn't hold a candle to that of Asiana Airlines, though it's still better than the crap you can purchase on any airlines from the states. Drank a CASS beer with my dinner, which tasted like a watered down Miller Lite. It was about ad enjoyable as a flat club soda...but it was free, which is totally awesome in my book. Two things I love in Korean cuisine (aside from their epic Kimchi) is the Gochuchang and Brown Rice Green Tea. Gochuchang is Korean Red Pepper Paste. It's nearly identical in appearance, texture and taste to jamD's beloved Sriracha- but it's a bit more mild, an with a smoky hint to it. I LOOOOVE it. Delicious. Put it on vegetables, bathe your rice in it, or use it to spruce up your protein. My other favorite is their brown rice green tea, genmai cha. I do not enjoy regular green tea, but the heartiness of genmai cha is much more friendly only stomach. I love that when you order "green tea" in Korea, that this is what you get.

Ramble #2:
We're about halfway through the flight now, and I'm just about finished "the dirty life". This is good because everyone reads the spine of the book, seeing the title, and then they give me a sour look like I'm some kind of perv. Its about FARMING, people!! Jeez!

Ramble #3:
Since takeoff my mid has shifted from tall, funloving butcher of the northwest, to handsome, charming map maker from LA....whom I met in Korea and who is also traveling through southeast Asia. Ha. Is it really that obvious that I've been single for a long while now...?!?

Ramble #4:
As always, my very loose plans have evolved. JamD might be joining me in Cambodia, probably sometime around when I reach phnom penh. She will probably cruise with me for about a month if she comes. Also, talked to my great friend Misel today. She's been living in northern Thailand for almost 2years now, as a dive instructor. She plans to be in Indonesia, her old stomping grounds, for all of April. SO: I'm goin to cut y Vietnam jaunt a bit short, only staying for about two weeks, and then I'm going to meet Misel in Indo for a few weeks before settin some roots in Bali in May. Misel is an amazing artist from Switzerland, whom I met in costa rica years ago and did some traveling with. She's amazing, and she is quite the Indo Affecianado.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, January 21, 2011


I just paid the equivalent of $5 USD for a small iced latte from Starbucks in the Korean airport. Tonight in Cambodia, for $5 USD I will get a ride from the airport in a TukTuk to a clean bed in a shared room that has a shower and free WiFi, and I'll still have enough money leftover to get myself a snack or modest dinner.


"Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it." - Groucho Marx

thanks laura johnson!

Expect the Unexpected.

Jan 20th, 2010.

(written on the airplane, in my notebook)

The tears began when Juila and I said our farewell at the Seattle Airport....and they haven't really stopped since. My mother had me crying as I called her from the plane while we were all boarding. I weeped through the takeoff, and with nothing but 12 hours of free time and a quiet plane - I've been crying most of my time in the air. I'm not talking 'wailing sobs' or anything crazy like that, but every so often a few tears just start to stream down my face. One of the only caucasions onboard, all of these Asians probably think that the little blonde girl is a looney. At first I attempted to choke back the tears- but now I've just accepted it and allow it to hit me in waves. And the crazy thing is that I'm not even exactly sure why I'm crying. Obviously most of it comes back to my parents....intense emotions, good or bad, will make even the strongest of us breakdown. I feel such an infinite gratitude towards them. An overwhelming love. They support my good ideas, my bad ideas, and all the inbetween. I'm feeling slightly anxious about the approaching months, but i KNOW that they have given me any and all tools that I need - this unnecessary worry is...simply unnesessary. I know I've writen about this several times now - but the miracle that my Dad is still living continues to blow my mind. What a crazy fucking year. So many ups and downs - and now to be on a plane headed across the globe, so far away from him, well it scares me a little bit. Whoever is responsible for his retreat from his death bed - THANK YOU. Bah. And then my mother. Mama - you are the toughest bitch that I have ever met - the most stubborn, hardheaded and AMAzing person know. Sometimes we don't always communicate that well, but I know that there is nobody on the planet that loves me as fiercely as you do. Then...there's Julia. My other half, whom without I would simply be incomplete. I'm on the plane crying because I miss you already - and because I wish that you could be here - and because I know that a friendship like ours is so goddamn special. I didn't know that something like this even existed, and I feel so blessed to experience something this profound and special in my lifetime. And finally, my readers. Yep - I said it, "My Readers". It seems a bit silly and a smidge egotistical, but I know that there is a dedicated community of individuals scattered across the globe that regularly reads my ramblings - and I gotta say, it's pretty damn flattering. Over the past few months I have been receiving emails and facebook messages - people reaching out to express their love, support and admiration. This is my fuel. Not that I need someones encouragement or approval - but it gives me strength and reassurance to continue along this path: a path that feels so very right to me. A path that is no always accepted or understood. So...when moments occur {ie Earlier in the day} when I think to myself "Holy Shit CAILIN, what the fuck are you thinking?! Southeast ASIA? Solo? You don't even know how to say 'Hello' in that language, or more importantly "I'll have a beer please". SHIT SHIT SHIT. You are totally unprepared. You are going to be lonely. And lost." I was having this exact min internal meltdown this morning, moments before leaving for the airport. I decided to do one last quick FB check. I had a message from Laura, a fellow classmate from my brief stint in high school. Though we haven't spoken in years, she regularly follows the blog. She'd been praying for my Dad and keeps up to date with my travels....she claimed the blog to be an inspiration. At that moment, I relaxed, took a deep breath and became aware that Asia is going to be an amazing experience.

"Lay & Love" by Bonnie Prince Billy is playing through my headphones now - so of course I'm crying...again. But HAPPY tears, I'm pretty sure. Thanks everyone - Mom, Dad, Julia, Laura, and my "readers", for fueling my fire.

Okay, off the sappy shit and onto the good stuff, the reason that I live and breathe....FOOD. I gotta say, so far so good...and I'm still on the plane! I drink a ton of fluids, and I consume my fair share of food, so my 12 hour flight has me a tad worried. Well, worry not chubby gal! Someone is constantly walking past with a tray of H2O & OJ, which I never refuse. We were given two meal choices: beef or BiBimBab...well, obviously I opted for the traditional Korean fare and I was totally blown away. It even came with a "How To Enjoy Bi-Bim-Bab" miniature instruction packet, which just made me smile from ear to ear. We got real silverware and real dishware. I had a fresh fruit cup, kimchi, a type of scallion pancake, some kind of delicious asian soup and Bi Bim Bab: a howl of julienned, steamed carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers and minced beef, with a side of steamed rice. It's served with sides of sweet & spicy pepper paste along with sesame seed oil. Mix it all together and it's delicious. Washed that down with 3 cups of decent coffee that were served in a mug, NOT styrfoam. Been drifting in and out of sleep ever since, crying here and there, writing, listening to music, and hydrating. Just watched "The Social Network" then chatted with my 'neighbor', Thom. Life is good, now let's just hope I make my connection in Seoul, Korea to my final destination....


(Friday, Jan 21)

Go figure.

Our delay in Seattle had us landing an hour behind schedule in South Korea. As we were landing and pulling up to our gate, I watched the flight that I was supposed to be on make it's final preparations and then pull out for takeoff. "Fuck. Goddamnit. Shit. REALLY?!" Way to start off my trip to Southeast Asia, one that already had me with a bit of a pit in my stomach. When I approached the transit counter I already knew what they were going to say - the next flight wasn't for another 23 hours. WhoopdeFrigginDo. Anxiousness began to hit again, I felt my throat tighten and my chest get heavy. My eyes were fighting back tears of frustration. "Hurry", I thought, "Think of something funny. Quick. Smile, laugh. Something ridiculous." Well, it didn't take much and then I began laughing out loud - thinking about my final night in Seattle, rambling on about a butcher that I don't even know...vowing to have his babies and live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps I sleep deprived or just on the brink of hysteria, because I laughed - very loudly, aloud -for quite some time. Again - everyone around me {all Asian} wondering what the hell is wrong with the little blonde white girl. I took a few deep breaths, calmed down, and then was totally at peace with the situation. That's the thing about traveling...things NEVER go as planned, so you must expect the unexpected. Don't fight it, just flow with it. I got hotel and food vouchers and then a taxi ride to the place where I'd be staying. Also in my boat was a nice Chinese man of about 60....Pol. We had dinner together but then I called it a night - I'd been up for a looooong time, and I wasn't quite sure what time or date it was: here, there or anywhere for that matter. I woke up throughout the night, but finally couldn't sleep anymore. It was 4:58am current time here in Seoul, Korea. That's 2:58am at my final destination, Cambodia. In New Jersey it was 2:58pm the following day, and it was 11:58am the following day in Seattle. Huh? What? Yep, I know. Tell me about it. Today, Saturday Jan 22nd (well, atleast thats the date right HERE right now) I woke up totally optimistic about my day, and glad to have a full day to adjust a bit to the time change as well as doing some readingup about Cambodia. I laid in bed, watched SHALLOW HAL on TV, Skyped with my Mom + Dad, and then headed downstairs for the most random, eccentric breakfast buffet that I've ever encountered. I sat in the dining room for a long time, sucking down cups of coffee and avidly reading my new book that Jer and Janice got me, THE DIRTY LIFE: on farming, food and love. I was delighted at the discovery that the toilet seats here are HEATED, that they have an internet "office" cafe down by the dining hall, and that the front desk had a spare outlet attachment so that I could charge my dead ipod and iphone. Hallelujah. I'm still trying to figure out the elevator, how to turn on and off the lights in my room, and how the hell you work the shower. All of adventure. After battling with the showerhead for a while, I gave it a rest and reorganized my bag. Out of it fell a chinese fortune, one that I don't ever remember getting or keeping, that read "Now is the time to try something new." Let's do this. Only a few more hours now til my flight to Cambodia, lets hope that the second attempt is a success.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Four Ziploc's, Four Months.

I cried when Julia dropped me at the airport today. The past two weeks have been amazing, and as sad as I was to be leaving today I am equally excited for my next adventure. This is a first for me- completely solo in a country where I don't speak the language, in a completely unfamiliar culture and I don't know a single soul. I have butterflies in my stomach, but a smile on my face. I'm looking forward to the unknown...I just have a good feeling....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Loves Me, Loves Me Not.

Woke up today and taught a yoga class to Erin Miller and Julia @ Er's house. It was deeelightful and it felt good to get back into the groove of teaching - it's something that just feels good to me. Julia had to jet to work, but thankfully my new friend {the goddess} Miller ran me around so that I could do some important "last minute" errands. She dropped me at Safeway a few hours later as she made her way to work, and I picked up some of this and some of that necessary for my upcoming months. As I was waiting outside of the supermarket for the bus, I decided to check my FB account on my crackphone, I mean "iPhone". Well, well, well...JOEL {the handsome butcher} had messaged me! yeeewww! Granted, I had messaged him first, but none-the-less, he replied! He told me that he was still in town and that he was having drinks at Melrose Market. WELL - I hurried back to Julia and Gordons and QUICKLY packed my bag {the ONE bag that I'll be living out of for the next 4 months...the ONE bag that probably needed a little bit of consideration while being packed}. Anyways, I grab the bus and was in downtown Seattle by around 5:30. I decided against popping into Melrose to see Joel, he'd probably think I was a looney. I walk down the many flights of stairs to the Light Rail, buy my ticket, wait for a minute or two - and then decide that I genuinely want to see the handsome butcher, and I was pretty damn thirsty for a Gin & Tonic. SO I make my way BACK up the large flight of stairs and walk well over a mile to Melrose Market. A block away from my destination and I think, "God, you crazy bitch. What are you going to do? You have no wingman, no mojo - and you're wearing a hooded sweatshirt for christ sake." I attempted a "driveby" {aka takin a gander in the window} and then decided that I was a chicken shit. I turned around and walked a mile and a half back to the light rail - muttering to myself the whole way back...the crazies thought that I was crazy, and no one asked me for some 'spare change'. As someone who always takes charge {I've asked out EVERY one of my past boyfriends}, I was totally ashamed at my lack of courage. Oh well, better luck next time {aka when I visit Jackson Hole}. So instead of being a babbling idiot with the handsome butcher, I opted for an OUTSTANDING dinner at LA MEDUSA in Columbia City. Thankfully it was slow, so I got to spend some Q.T. with my darling Julia. I had THE BEST spagghetti and meatballs OF MY LIFE, along with a repeat of the endive salad {and several glasses of wine, and a gin&tonic, and a glass of bubbles}. more.
Aside from missing out on Mr. Dreamy, it was an epic evening. The icing on the cake was my new Seattle fave's: JANICE & JEREMY. Jeremy rips on me pretty hard - for pretty much everything, though he focuses mostly on Twilight. BUT, I don't mind. I think that Jer likes me. He's alot like my Dad...if he's not ripping on you, it means that he doesn't care. His wife Janice is as sweet as hooooooney. Delightful. I was so glad to spend my last night in their company, laughing and debating and rambling with these fine people. They gifted me the novel, "The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love". I'm sure it's not winning any literary awards, but it's cute to boot - and it's about a city girl falling in love with a real man, a farming man. Ha. Well, I'm no city girl - but I understand the pull towards a man that knows his way around meat, dirt, and a kitchen.

Okay, going to give my mad rambling and trash talking a bit of a break. I leave tomorrow morning for Asia and don't think that I'll be able to blog for a few more days. As I always do in my travels, I'll be keeping a notebook and then posting my dated blogs whenever I'm near a computer. For the first time ever I'm a bit nervous about my trip....Asia is pretty foreign, and I don't speak the language. BUT - I'm optimistic because no matter where I go I encounter intelligent, vibrant, amazing human beings....and I'm sure that this trip will be the same in that sense!

Seize the day my friends.

Solo in Seattle

Today is my first day flying solo in Seattle. I got lucky this trip- Julia and Gordon only have off 2 weeks out of the WHOLE year, so I planned this trip with that in mind. Did they really wanna spend 10 of their 14 days off with me.....honestly, Yes, I believe so. We have had such an amazing time and I feel so very blessed to get in some quality time with my best friend. Today though they both had to go back to work. So here I am, sitting in Starbucks, about to head into my second yoga class of the day.

Woke up this morning and had coffee with Julia before setting off to run some last minute errands (for my trip). Jules dropped me at the light rail in Columbia City and I took it into the heart of Seattle. Started out with a power yoga class @ BeLuminous and followed that up by rewarding myself with a pizza @ the well-known Serious Pie. Sipping some tea now and about to take a Restorative Yoga class @ BeLuminous. I'm gonna shower there (they have a ton of great Aveda products!) and then I'm cruising to catch Kurt Timmermeister for a book reading/signing @ Elliott Bay Books. forward. It's now past midnight as I finish this blog that I began several hours ago. The reading was delightful- Kurt is an amazing person with a contagious love for the farm life. His book "Growing A Farmer" is going to be a great read, one that I'm particularly excited to share with my dad. Along with purchasing his book, I also got Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, 2 purple Moleskin notebooks for my trip, and a very special pocket sized collection of my favorite, RUMI. I figure on days when I'm down or in need of some inspiration, I'll just crack it open and read a bit of his wisdom. Anywho- the reading was packed and unfortunately I didn't have enough rime to wait in line and get my book signed :( BUT that's okay because I was rung to catch the light rail so I'd be in Columbia City before 9!! La Medusas kitchen closes right around this time, but I made it!!! I dined on some fabbbbbbulous endive salad and homemade gnocchis that were like little pillows of heaven. Amazing. Ammmazing. Gordon is a GOD in the kitchen. Came home and snuggled on the couch with Jules an Gordon- sipped some wine- and debated about homeschooling vs public school. Twas another great day. Tomorrow I NEED to pack for Asia, because I leave the next day! Bah.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gordon Wishard.

also known as
"G - Breezy", "G-Unit", my best friends Fiance
...and the Head Chef @ La Medusa.

Gordon is the KING of meat. He's an amazing butcher, and the charcuterie that he produces is made with loads of love and attention that you can taste. He's kinda a quiet guy, pretty simple, and very particular. After years of watching my best friend date men that were not-at-all-up-to-par-for-her-level-of-fabulousness, I'm glad that she's found a life partner in Gordon. While we were busy eating pot cookies and drinking too much up in the mountains for our "Ladies Weekend", Gordon was enjoying his own adventure - picking up his 400lb pig that had been fed a diet of HAZELNUTS for the past month. Yep, hazelnuts. Gordon was working on the pig today at work, he'll use it on the menu in the upcoming months and the charcuterie that he'll make with it will appear on the menu sometime next year. He had me smell the cut of pork belly, and it smelled like freaking Coffee Mate Hazelnut Cream that you use in your coffee. Here's some pictures of Gordon with his pig.

Gordon showing me your average piece of pig - far less exciting than his superior hazelnut piggy.

Sitka & Spruce

Sitka & Spruce.
1531 Melrose Avenue
{East} Seattle, Washington 98122
(206) 324.0662 ,

Sitka & Spruce is adorable and the food was outstanding...on par with our LA BETE experience. Though Gordon and Julia had a busy day prepping for tomorrow {their restaurant, La Medusa, reopens tomorrow after their 2 week winter break}, they managed to squeeze in some time for LUNCH! Afterall, ya gotta eat! Well, eat we did - as we have been since my arrival. I have spent more money on food and wine in my past 10 days here in Seattle than I have collectively this past year. I guess that is partly because I never have a chance to go out when I'm home - busy working around the clock - but still, you get my point. Lots of money, lots of money, has been spent...and I don't regret one cent of it, because these aint no run-o-the-mill meals. Our lunch was so outstanding, it still has me smiling {it also could be the bubbles - we shared a bottle of rose brut, you know - "the usual"}.

Here's what we dined on:

chickpea puree with carrots and a tapenade - OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Kurtwood Farms Cheese + Jam

Columbia City Bakery bread and some freaking oustanding, creamy butter.

Celery Root Soup w/ Hazelnuts & Sage Butter

Poached Chicken Leg with Cannelini Beans, Savoy Cabbage and Carmelized Onions.

King Salmon Lox, Creme Fraiche, Radish & Huckleberries.

gateau Basque with spiced sugar pie pumpkin


Our server {as well as good friend of Gordon and Julia}.

Muy Cute.

The food was better than good, better than great...simply delicious. Tonight we are laying low and cooking some dinner at home. More good times with my best friend and her main man...

"I only drink champagne when I'm happy, and when I'm sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone.
When I have company, I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am.
Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty.
" -Lily Bollinger

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Girls will be Girls...

1 Cabin + 9 Girls + Lots of Booze + Chips and Salsa + Pot Cookies =
...a damn good time.

We arrived, we saw, we conquered, we departed. What happens at the cabin, stays at the cabin. But I will say that we laughed a ton, ate our faces off, and drank even more. We took Leavenworth by storm -- the taxi driver will never forget the 9 ladies from the Cabin @ Eagle Creek. Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Julisa and Me.

Julisa made a vanilla chiffon cake with chocolate genache and chocolate buttercream icing. Holy hell almighty. Epic. Making the buttercream from scratch was a bit stressful, but here is Julia doing her Buttercream Victory Dance.

5 minutes at the bar and I'm onstage singing...for the next hour. We turned that bar upside down and inside out.

Erin Miller the birthday girl, backing me up on the hand percussion as Julia points to me, yelling "That's my BESSST FRIENDD! THATS MY BEST FRIEND!"

After a long night out, we had a big breakfast and then cuddled into bed to watch a DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Beverly Hills marathon.

You can only watch so many Desperate Housewives of Beverly Hills episodes before you start to feel guilty and are in need of an outside jaunt....

The Birthday Girl {aka Courtney Love} and Janice, Sweet as Honey.

Janice, Julisa and Me.

This picture sums up the weekend.

I am drug-free. I like to drink beers and sip on wine, but I don't like to smoke that maryjane stuff, and I've never tried anything. Nothing. Nada. Never. But this trip I decided to eat a pot cookie, or two. At first I didn't think that I was stoned, but in retrospect: I didn't speak more than 3 sentences for the rest of the day, and I just smiled. The smiling part is pretty normal for me, but the lack of ramble? A first.

Beautiful Barn.

Erin Miller, just rocking out - PJ pants and all.

Ugh oh, snowballs. Janice and Donnnnna.

Julie: I'm thirsty.
Erin: Me too!
Juile: Well, we can just eat snowballs!

The very beautiful, so amazing birthday girl.

Robert fell in love with us the first name that he came to pick us up in his old beat-up van. Our driveway was steep and a sheet of ice, so all of us drunkies had literally fallen, slid and stumbled our way down the hill and into the van. Some cut up their palms, others ripped jeans and were bleeding at the knees - but that didn't stop us. The following night that Robert came to get us he told us that he had a "surprise"...a stretch hummer limo. HA. Good times. Arriving to tiny Leavenworth in STYLE.

Poppin' it in 'da limo.

Make it pop.