Upcoming Plans

It’s Wednesday morning. I’m wearing my pajamas and listening to the Constantines. Yesterday, the weather hit a record high temperature for that November date. Today, the Chinook bringing that warm air will still be hovering over the city. Orange juice and a muffin are happily digesting in my warm belly. Home is an okay place to be.

But, such simple pleasures are soon to be usurped by a wholly different set of pleasures. Morning music will be replaced by the noises of Asian markets. Unseasonable warmth will give way to consistent heat and humidity. Breakfast will probably include rice. And these are pleasures to be treasured too.

In January, I will be leaving the comforts of my familiar home for unfamiliar Asian lands. As of right now, my plans are not entirely sorted, but a few destinations have been planned. My journey to Southeast Asia will be interrupted by a couple stops.

First: Vancouver. For a few days, I have been granted the opportunity to catch up with an old friend and stay with him on my way out of North America.

Next, Taiwan. Originally, my flight was going to stop there for one night, but I think nine or ten days would make for a more fun exploration of that particular island. Changing my ticket only costs me $100 so I’m considering it a nearly-free ticket there.

As a side note, A long time ago, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to have visited as many countries as there are years in my life. Technically, I have already hit that goal because, yes, I did visit Taiwan once already while on my way to Calgary. But one night at a hotel hardly counts. When I return to Taiwan and get a proper chance to see the culture, I will then have hit the mark of 30 countries in 30 years.

After Taiwan, I will finally make it back to Southeast Asia. I will stop in Kuala Lumpur for a couple days before heading off to Siem Reap, Cambodia for a good nine or so days of temple exploration. I’m already looking forward to staying in a guesthouse run by a man named Chum. You just know he’s going to be friendly…

I’ll then be returning to Kuala Lumpur in time for Chinese New Year. At this point, my plans start to get a little hazy. I would like to see more of Malaysia because my last time there was spent mostly in bed with a temperature of about one million degrees and a few gallons of unwanted liquid in my lungs. I’m not interested in doing the medical tour of Malaysia this time, so hopefully I’ll get to see a few more interesting spots like the Cameron Highlands and the rainforests of Taman Negara.

I plan to be back in Kuala Lumpur for the Thaipusam festival on February 11th. At this Hindu celebration, thousands flock to the nearby Batu Caves to be skewered by substantial pieces of metal. This piercing rite should make for some great photos if I can keep myself from passing out. But, given the number of injections I suffered at the hands of my pneumonia, I think I might have raised my tolerance for the sight of flesh being pierced.

The month after Thaipusam is where details get really sketchy. I have a good four weeks to travel in Southeast Asia and I currently have no real itinerary. I might hit Borneo, Vietnam and/or Laos, but all I know at this point is that I need to be in Bangkok, Thailand of March 14th or so. There I will meet a couple friends who will be travelling down there from Japan.

After a few weeks of Thai travel, I’ll be just about ready to begin my next adventure: New Zealand! (Well, I might stop in Singapore first.) I’m planning on heading to another island nation to live and work. Armed with a working holiday visa, I plan on doing whatever I can to support my photography addiction/business.

Speaking of photography, that has been my main focus while here at home. Processing photos, website development and stock agency submissions take up most of my time now.

I know I haven’t written in a while, but that doesn’t mean life has been uneventful. A couple weddings attended (one was a complete surprise), a few great bands seen, scores of zombies photographed, a host of friendships and family relations renewed, and plenty of other good times have kept me happy here in my hometown.

But since it is never a bad time to have a good time, I think I might just get out of these PJs and go enjoy some of that unseasonably warm weather.

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