Happy Galentine’s Day to my Bali babes. Thank you for your support, stories, advice and love on social media and behind-the-scenes. Please check these ladies out! They’re amazing! @thebornwanderess@lapetitewanderer_@aliceinwandererland@daniellebutler@mssallyng@designinglifeaubroad@thewanderlust_rose@adeiraleesherpa
“The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that’s all there is.” - Carson, the Butler Memory is such a fickle thing. It embroiders moments on the surface of our hearts and demands a new weight is carried or relieved. It pressures our insecurities to look at the clock and count our failures as faults instead of lessons, and dismiss our victories as not amazing enough to warrant any moment of peace or happiness. Memory is half perception and half clarity. Some days the strength is there to fight through the fog, and others, we succumb to the fantasy it offers. And at the end of it all, we stand there with our jumbled, misshapen pile of memories, and offer it up as currency for a ticket to the unknown.
This amazing tree is growing from the several hundred years cooled lava. A volcano erupted in Arizona and the earth is exploding with new life. Sometimes the best thing to do to make it to the next chapter is use the example nature provides us. Pause, take a breath, be thankful for life, and continue to grow.
“What’s the strangest thing you saw in Japan?” I’m asked this a lot when people hear about my travels. I think they expect an anecdote about a souvenir from a vending machine or they want to see my video from the Robot Restaurant. I always answer “The history.” As an Indigenous American, the weirdest thing for me to see is a country celebrating their culture for thousands of years. Still practicing traditions of cooking styles, music, art, language, writing, architecture - all of it. The “oldest” buildings in America are macabre landmarks to me; memorials of the beginning of the end of my ancestors. A History that isn’t celebrated, honored, or revered. Nations of Indigenous tribes wiped out by disease, hate, war, and erasure in history. It was even weirder to see a Native American costume contest on a beach in Bali. Shops selling gawky and poorly replicated ceremonial headdresses for anyone to buy and wear. A beach filled with people dressed up to win $1,000 USD by looking the most ‘Indian’. My culture is available to the masses at their leisure with no thought about the insult. And the insults are given at leisure by the masses when my culture is a barrier. I share a lot of photos from my travels and ask questions to keep conversation light-hearted. But this is what I think about when I travel.
I don’t understand women shaming other women. Growing up, my bullies were mostly my “friends”. And that’s how I thought it was - girls tearing you apart. It’s strange living in my hometown again. After traveling around the US - and world - being back here showcases more ignorance than ever. How women are treated, lack of celebration for the Indigenous community (but that’s more than just my hometown), and the need to bully. To keep women down in a certain place. The only thing I can think of when I see this photo is “How many people would be pissed off if this were a human mother breastfeeding in public? And how many of them would be angered women?” Women shouldn’t be purposeful obstacles for other women. We’ve got enough shit to deal with.
Sometimes, travel doesn’t go as planned. You get lost. You run late. The location is not as awesome as you thought it would be. It’s smaller in real life. The food isn’t appetizing. You get sick. You miss your flight. You’re mysteriously missing five pairs of panties. These shit moments can still lead to extraordinary adventures. Don’t stress, roll with the punches. ( I always keep extra panties in my camera bag, just in case, though.)
I did my best to stand on the edge of the cliff. There are ropes around the edge - not just for your safety - but also to keep the environment safe. When you travel, care about where you are. Read the signs, follow the rules. This isn’t meant to prevent you from having a good time, but doing crazy stuff “for the ‘gram” isn’t worth risking your life, or the environment’s well-being.
It’s free to go here. There are men that hang around telling you to pay for a ticket. They. Will. Follow. You. They’re scamming you. Travel brings so much joy sometimes we forget to remove the rose-colored glasses and treat travel with realistic approaches. Be safe out there. Let family know where you’ll be and how to contact you. Try and connect with people you trust on social media platforms so there’s a contact close by. Get insurance from places like @worldnomads. Know if there are admission prices and how much before you go. How do you prepare for your safety abroad?
I regret not getting on the boat and going around. I really like ferrying around in new places and I didn’t while I was in Kyoto. Instead I was determined to get to the monkey forest that I didn’t really ever get to. It was humid AF and I hurt my foot and leg that I just refused to admit was killing. (Which led to three months out of work and 7 months in physical therapy...) Next time I get to Kyoto, though... I’m getting on that boat. Do you have any regrets from previous trips? Did you ever go back and try to make it right?
Most of you know I’m a huge fan of stumbling upon staircases. When I walked up this handful of steps and made it to the torrii gate barely seen behind the leaves, I turned around and saw Mount Fuji. It’s not as easy to see it in the summer, the moment was quite quick. It’s so humid and there’s so much cloud cover. But for that moment, I soaked it in. Not my camera, not instagram. Just me, Mount Fuji, and a Japanese summer. Sometimes, going through Instagram, I think we lose sight of why travel is important. It’s about experiencing culture, connecting, and sharing - absolutely. But it’s also about allowing yourself to be changed; letting a moment overwhelm you. Does Instagram [still] inspire you to travel?
I spent the night working on the back end of my site (I broke some links - yay!), and noticed this last week is the best week my blog has ever seen. Consistent views every day, lots of people messaging me about my photos, asking after my experiences or tips for their own future travels - I’m touched. My expertise is amateur at best, and yet my goal to inspire others to get out there and do all the things seems more tangible. The ultimate goal to do the unthinkable and chase my dreams seems rather tangible, too. Thank you to all of you out there. What are you all up to on this cold AF Sunday?