Travel. I am in love with it.

We all have our own reasons related to the word “Travel”.

Mine is to learn new things, try new foods, meet new people, drink delicious coffee, make meaningful connections, visit places that I think are extraordinary, manage everything from planning to expenses, food, accommodation and so on, and most importantly, enjoy the freedom to be myself.

In 8 months (and counting), I managed to travel to 7 countries in South East Asia and have had amazing experiences along the way.

Traveling to different places has a deep impact on me. There are some important things I learned about myself and especially how I want to approach my career and life in general. However, what’s most essential to the places I visited are the people I have met along the way.

When traveling, if lucky enough, you encounter spontaneous moments where locals show signs of hospitality and want to share a special experience with you. These are the moments that are going to stick with me longer than any other hike, night out, or site seeing experience.

I will be updating this article as I come across these moments. These are the ones that I have remembered to date that I would love to briefly share.

Malaysia 🇲🇾

Wedding in Dabong

Fun times and good food at this small neighborhood wedding.

Hitchhiking to Ipoh

After about an hour of waving cars down, our hope of getting picked up started to fade. Eventually, I stumbled across a nice family at a nearby restaurant that offered us a ride! They are some of the nicest people I have ever met and were genuinely interested in learning about other cultures.

Fast forward one week, we kept in touch met up with them a couple of times in their hometown of Penang (one of the food capitals of the world). They picked us up and took us out to a local spot for some Laksa (a popular Malaysian spicy noodle soup). Fun times!

Anwar, Sri and their family taking us out to local eats.

Abe Din’s House

Breaking Raya at the Fisherman Village

Amazing food and desserts at a packed house of hungry Malaysians!

Lunabar Friends

Lunabar Cafe, my happy place in Penang, Malaysia.

Vietnam 🇻🇳

A Cup of Coffee Brewed into Friendship

I happened to be sitting by 2 other Americans so I struck a conversation with them. Maria was an English teacher living in Hanoi showing around her friend Kyle, an English teacher living in Saigon. Kyle happened to be with one of his Vietnamese students Tam aka Tristian. Long story short, we hit it off and I hung out with them for the day and was invited to a delicious home-cooked meal at Maria’s place. I stayed in touch with Kyle and Tam and hung out with them multiple times throughout Vietnam! More about that to come!

Cafe Dinh followed by dinner at Maria’s house with Tam and Kyle.

Staying at Tam’s House for Tet Holiday

My days in Phan Rang were relaxing and consisted of waking up early for sunrises at the beach, where everyone was starting their day by stretching and swimming. We spent hours drinking coffee at various cafes, eating home cooked lunches prepared by Tam’s mom, eating delicious Banh Xeo for dinner, hanging out with tam’s friends, and playing basketball and soccer!

Phuc Nation

One of the many memorable days I had with Phuc was when we visited a family-owned farm that was about one hour outside Da Nang. We spent the day on this beautiful farm next to a lake. The owner of the farm was very welcoming and cooked us a meal by preparing one of his chickens. We spent the entire day eating and drinking beers until the sun went down.

I gave him the nickname Phuc Nation b/c this guy Phucs.

Soccer — Futbol — đá bóng

A beautiful game.

Paddle Boarding in Ma Pi Leng

At Huy’s house on the water in between the Gorge of Ma Pi Leng.

Cambodia 🇰🇭

Cooking in Koh Rong Sanloem

Myanmar 🇲🇲

Visiting Villages During Kalaw Trek

Thailand 🇹🇭

Jungle Trekking with Sapee

Sappe is a friend and a great guide to the Northern Thai jungle, check out the website I made for him at thailandjungletrek.com

Taiwan 🇹🇼

First Time Couchsurfer

Like myself, Jerry works in the tech space and builds a travel-related product on the side. Jerry set up an awesome event for me. I got to speak to Taiwanese people about my trip and gave some pointers for those looking to travel. It was very fun and informative!

(Left)With my hosts Jerry & Kelly at a night market. (center/right) Event set up where I got to speak to the people of Taiwan about my journey abroad.

Japan 🇯🇵

A Hitch-Hikers Guide to Friendship

I decided to give hitchhiking a try when leaving Shizouka heading to Nagoya. A local by the name of Hiro saw I needed a lift and gave me a hand. He ended up being one of the coolest people I met. 5 minutes into the ride we started freestyle rapping and having a great convo. I ended up going with him to his small countryside hometown called Kikugawa and spent the day hanging with Hiro and his friends. I had a great connection with them instantly and was given gifts when I had to part to my next destination.

With Hiro and Kito from Kikugawa, Japan

Ramen Family

With the Hara family who has been running their ramen shop since 1958!

Countryside Log Cabin

The log cabin I got to sleep in. Nodoka, Kieta and baby Mayu in Gokase, Japan.

Traveler who loves doing nothing and drinking coffee.

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