Most travelers have a bucket list. I have been lucky enough to have checked quite a few off my personal list, but one place I have not yet reached is Jakarta. The 13,000 islands of Indonesia are astonishing, and having spent a month in serene Bali, my dreams now turn to city life. Enter Jakarta, the massive capital on Java, the mixes cultural influences from around the world.
Time is always surprising; It seems like just yesterday, not nearly 27 years ago, that I first locked eyes with Jim, in Ken’s living room. Jim, full-bearded and scruffy, just off the boat from Alaska. Myself, fully focused on going to school for international law and moving to Paris. An unlikely pair? Apparently not~ Six days after our first date Jim asked me to marry him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Astonishingly, June 2nd we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. 25 years… it seems unreal, and presents a very literal example of how fast time moves by.
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My traditional krama scarf kept only some of the dust out of my nose and mouth as my motorcycle driver raced along the packed dirt road and I was soon covered from head to foot in the fine, grey powder. Jim and his driver had taken an alternate route out of town and were nowhere to be seen. I was on the back of a moto with a driver who spoke no English somewhere in the countryside of rural Cambodia. And I was having the time of my life!
Hue is the former capital of Vietnam, situated nearly in the center of the country. It is an easy city to get a hang of, split down the middle by the Perfume River, boarded by an appealing boardwalk. The weather is infamously bad, with the Truong Son Mountains seeming to bring in frequent drizzle, but it is a relatively pleasant town with inexpensive lodging, good restaurants, and lots of sightseeing opportunities.
We have been to the mountain temple at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand many times, always eager to take in the view of the city below and admire the magnificent temple. Although a tram exists, it just feels right to climb the 309 steps to the top, where you find such treasures as this gorgeous doorway.
The temple ruins of the Kingdom of Angkor. A dream destination for historians, photographers, and travelers alike. Shrouded in misty, humid jungles, much of the city still buried in the over-growth, the full scale of the size of the city is impossible to fully comprehend from the ground.
My breath fogs the air, mixing with the morning mist, as I climb out of the camper. The morning sun is peeking through the trees, causing flashes of light to reflect off the lake. Jim and the dogs are still asleep and I stand in wonder at the absolute silence surrounding me.
At moments like this I’m always struck by the beauty of the simple things in life, and astonished by our continuing ability to ignore it’s power. We spend our lives fighting a simple life of happiness as we strive for more, bigger, better. As I sit alone in the still of the morning, my mind wanders away from this scenic lake in Oregon to reminisce about some of my favorite memories, all of which had nothing to do with grand monuments or fancy lodging, and everything to do with meeting the locals, good food, and unexpected magic.