Backpacking to me is not only about the places you go and the things you do. A huge part of it are all the amazing people you meet along the way. It’s not often that you get to meet people from all over the world, who are seeing the same new things as you, and who are in the same mindset of having fun.
But where exactly does one go to meet these other backpackers? Luckily, most major tourist places have figured this out long ago: hostels. Nothing like the horror scenes depicted in the movie “Hostel”, hostels are actually one of my favorite parts about traveling.
Often times we hear something that sounds too good to be true. Maybe it’s some guy selling a new iPhone on Craigslist for $50, or perhaps a very generous Nigerian prince, or one of those “as seen on TV” products that seems to be God’s gift to earth.
Unfortunately, the majority of these stories end up being a scam or a massive disappointment. But sometimes, just sometimes, you find the unicorn product that actually lives up to it’s calling. A product that claims to do the extraordinary and when used, actually performs as promised.
You’ve saved up for your ticket, got your passport and are ready to go. But then you realize you have absolutely NO idea what to pack. What you can live with and what you can do without? You stare at your pack and wonder how you are going to fit everything you need inside.
As a follow up to my recent post about Japan, here’s a collection of some of the best photos I took on the trip.
Locations include Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo. Camera used was a Nikon D40 paired with a Nikon 35m f/1.8G.
If you like these, you’ll probably like my pictures of San Francisco as well.
To be perfectly honest, Japan has never been on top of my list of places to visit.
A big reason is that it’s a developed country. These countries are expensive and they’ll be more or less the same whether I go now or when I’m older. I want to visit the third-world countries first because they’ll undoubtedly change and their creature comforts are more inclined towards those in who are young and in shape.
Japan has also failed to pique my interest because I’ve always thought of it as somewhat bland: it doesn’t have any spectacular beaches, there are no swathes of jungles, no amazing dive sites, and other than Tokyo, it lacks a big, globally known city. I have heard it does have amazing skiing but flying trans-pacific seems excessive for that alone, especially since I’m so close to Tahoe.
It’s been over two months (yes, I am finally out of my post-vacation funk) since I returned from my latest trip to Thailand so I’ve had some time to reflect and think about the trip. Even though it was not the longest (around 2.5 weeks), we managed to see a good number of places: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui.
Chiang Mai and Koh Samui were both new to me. Nestled up against the northern mountains, Chiang Mai provided some much needed reprieve from the oppressing heat in Bangkok. The city is much smaller and although I wouldn’t necessarily go as far as saying it’s quaint, it does have a certain charm about it.
Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand – Two in the morning. Lights shining and music blaring from every direction. The air hot and humid filled with a thousand aromas. People from all over the world spilling out of bars and onto the streets. Merchants crowded onto the road selling suits, swim wear, tshirts, dresses, and jackets. Food carts packed with fresh pad thai, fried rice, and fruits. Little ladies selling buckets and deep fried scorpions. Kids running around trying to unload their roses and other knick knacks. There’s energy in the air, an indescribable buzz that can only be experienced in person.
A day and a half later…
North Beach, San Francisco, California – Ten at night. Devastatingly cold and cloudy. The streets are quiet and empty. The place is dead.
The miracles of air travel eh?