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I still wasn't quite sure where I wanted to stay when my minibus pulled up in Pai. I knew that I kind of didn't want to stay at the big party hostel. I wanted to drink when I wanted to drink and sleep when I wanted to sleep, so I avoided Spicy, where many of the other backpackers seem to end up. The guys at my hostel in Chiang Mai had recommended crossing the river and finding a bungalow, but I felt like maybe that would be too quiet, that I might not meet as many people. So I settled...

Almost every day in Chiang Mai I said, "tomorrow I'm going to Pai." It was the same thing that happened last time I got there five months ago. It seems to be where I end up going, and staying, when I need to recover. The first time I was there I secluded myself in a private room living off of Coca-Cola and peanut M&Ms as rehab from a ridiculous time in Vang Vieng. This time it was to rehab from India....

In 2009, I mounted a motorcycle for the first time. I made Mat take me. I was screaming before I even got on. 40 feet later I yelled at him to pull over, jumped off, and ran away. Jenny remarked the other day that I seemed way more comfortable on the back of her bike than I had last time I was here in January. She wondered if I had ridden them a lot in India, but I hadn't. Not once. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the last time I had been on the back of anyone's motorbike it had...

I want to throw out there this idiom (or whatever it is, The Google seems to think it's an idiom) that I'm sure you're all familiar with: "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free." Really, I never understood the quote. Because who the fuck wants to buy a cow even if they're not getting free milk? Cows are big and they smell and milking them is a bitch (OK, I've never actually milked a cow, but I've milked a goat, and it was a bitch). Shouldn't it rather be "why buy the carton when you...

We kept getting lost on the way, wherever the way was, to watch some Chiang Mai Muay Thai in, seemingly, the middle of nowhere Thailand. Jenny and I were piled in the back of a pick up truck with about 10 other people. We were following two motorbikes and had to keep pulling over to ask for directions. After a few too many wrong turns we found the right road, passing a giant golden Buddah that reminded me of passing roadside attractions when I road tripped back home. Except this was religious. Though, I suppose, the Effingham cross is too. When we...

I am afraid of heights. No, that's not quite true. I am afraid of plummeting from heights. I held on for dear life and cried excessively every time a child bumped into me at the top of the Eiffel Tower for god's sake. So, how, exactly, I got roped into going bungee jumping in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and got myself 50 meters in the air, sitting on a crane, with a bungee chord strapped to my legs, is beyond me. No, that's not quite true. It involved, as such things often do, a cute boy and a couple of beers...

There's a particular phenomenon that travelers often allude to: "reverse culture shock." It happens when you return home from long term travel. You get so used to being immersed a different cultures that when you arrive back home it no longer feels right. It feels different. You feel different being there. That's how I felt when I arrived back back in Bangkok after three months in India. True, Bangkok wasn't home. But Thailand had become the closest thing before I had left for India. I'd spent two months in the country in total. It was easy, familiar, and, with no real...

I wish my Thailand, and my Southeast Asia, journey ended there. It would have been a nice little final note, a nice little end to this chapter of my trip. It shows a lot of how this lifestyle works, of how I've grown, to sit back on one of the hardest travel days I've had and still be able to think "my life is pretty amazing right now." But I had five more days until my flight. So I went back to Bangkok where I hardly did much of anything. I bought and read a guidebook. Did some shopping. Mailed another package...

I'm not going to lie. I spent the entire next morning in Koh Tao crying. It was one of my hardest goodbyes yet. I had to turn around as I watched everyone ride off because I knew the tears were coming. And then I sat around all morning trying to find Dave, an Irishman who was the only other staying behind, so I'd have someone to console in. I was sad for losing Josh, who I'd liked more than I thought I would or ever wanted to. Who I felt comfortable and myself with, something that doesn't happen often for me. Who...