not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 21, 2011

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.


  1. south east asia is full of generous lovely people who have westerners frequenting their countries all the time. particularly english speaking foreigners who enjoy cheap holidays but hopefully with humility. each country having their own uniqueness. it seems europeans and americans who live faraway from these places don't realise their is nothing to be scared of or that you face minimal difficulties

  2. I am so very proud of you and with you all the way. Spread those wings and fly my beautiful young friend xoxoxoxoxo Pat