• Laos

    Dear Jane (America),

    I’m breaking up with you because I have a new woman in my life, her name is Asia…

    I am totally kidding and still do love you America(ns), but if Laos were a girl she’d be one of those secretly beautiful ones like the movie……….thinking………. “She’s All That” (one of those really cheesy Freddy Prince Jr. movies where he’s this stud who transforms the nerd girl into the prom queen) Anyway! Laos is Asia’s best-kept secret beauty and I would’ve never ever ever thought of visiting it (except I just did, and I’m glad I did).

    I think Laos is still off our American radars as a travel destination because:

    1. It is still developing and totally not a part of our first world yet

    2. It doesn’t have any major natural resources that we’ve found a way to exploit (Totally Kidding about the exploit part, I’m all for industry specialization/trade creating wealth/all other global-economization-omics-etrics-ology)

    3. MOST IMPORTANTLY, it is a very humble/mellow place that doesn’t boast of it’s beauty and potential tourist attractions.

    To elaborate on #3, this is seen in it’s happy and laidback people, who may be selling something at the local night-market but don’t hound tourists with “You Buy! Cheap Price! etc.”, but rather sit there content and greet any interested parties with a smile and a hello “Sapaidi”; as well as in the scenery which is beautiful and tranquil but also seemingly humble with careening rivers, perfectly green and peacefully maintained rice paddies, even the egotistical cragged limestone cliffs of Vang Vieng are softened by unique and dense vegitation. Ok, I’m starting to sound like a tour book full of run-on sentences here so I’m going to get on with the happenings….

    The 5 of us (Tai Lai Lai, LBJ, Swoops, iMatt, and Biceps) immigrated from Thailand to Laos via longboat over the Mekong River. From there we caught a 2 day slow-boat that stopped in Pak Beng overnight to the town of Laung Prebang. We bussed from LP to Vang Vieng and then later bussed to Laos capital Vientiene. Highlight reel:

     I found bullets that are Apple icons, iMatt would love this! (if the bullet points don’t show up right, you’re obviously not on a Mac so get hip and buy one now, after saving up for a couple years)

     Boat Trip: Playing guitar on the roof of the boat, being told to get down, acting like we didn’t understand and having our disciplinary take a group photo of us

     Pak Beng: Going to bed at 10pm when all the town’s power (that runs on generators) is shut off

     Laung Prebang: The cruiser bikes with a banana seat over the back tire and pegs. Pegs rock!

     Vang Vieng: Two-way tie, 1a.Water Cave! and 1b.Swiss Family Robinson meets Cabo spring break Swim Bars with mud-pit volleyball, 30 ft water swings, sketchy waterslides, loud music, and the ability to simply tube (or kayak) down river if you want to leave

     Vientiene: Bowling at the LBC (Laos Bowling Club); FYI: Laos people love their recreation and are often seen playing hardcore badminton (seriously, like indoor arenas for badminton serious), bowling, volleyball, and extra difficult small ball giant table billiards.

    For those of you who were lazily and improperly diagnosed with ADD, and should probably just have a little more patience, the pictures are FINALLY here.

    Remember, we love you all and are just as jealous of aspects of your American life as these experiences may make you (weird sentence, good luck diagramming this one).

    Until next blast,

    Ty, Jay, Dubs, , & Benny

    Ps. I love lists (can’t you tell). Realized I can’t even journal, even though many people have recommended it for this trip, so I’ve made a bunch of lists instead. I mean really lists are much more efficient, effective, visually pleasing, reader friendly, and convey a message to a much more broad audience. Go Lists

    Pps. I’m kinda feisty in this email; probably because I had a full night’s sleep last night and am writing this from a full size bed next to a giant window, instead of on a crammed/sweaty/sickening buss ride. I hope I didn’t offend anyone too bad with my crass and immature and super-awesome humor.

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  • Rarotonga, Cook Islands

    Dear Friends/Family,

    As some of you may know I am only a few days into my “trip of a lifetime” touring the South Pacific.  To give a brief introduction… my good friend Jason McNeil and I are embarking on a 4+ month adventure where we are dreaming big and looking to travel to: The Cook Islands (current location), New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, and Japan with the option and possibility (depending on the condition of our wallets and our stomachs) Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Brunei, and whatever else is in the area (this side of the globe).  Our trip is very flexible and open ended, so the adventure is as uncertain and open to us as it is to you who are currently reading this email.

    My plan is to keep the reading material brief in these emails and tell most of our story through pictures which I will post as click-able thumbnails below.

    If you somehow become jealous and bitter because of our current adventures and magnanimous expectations, then feel free to shoot me an email reply stating: “Tyler I hate you and Jason and no longer want to hear anything about your life, current health, or safety”

    Enough intro…  Rarotonga is mind-blowingly (maybe an adverb??) amazing!!!  I’d say it’s how Hawaii was 20 years ago.  The people (and animals) are very friendly and hospitable, the flora is unique and lush, and the water is clear and warm.  You’ll have to get the rest of the story (so far) through the pics.

    I also have to plug Air New Zealand.  Our almost 10 hour flight from 11:15pm (LAX)  to 6:00am (RAR) was a breeze and included what I’d consider a mini computer in the headrest in front of me loaded with movies, music, TV shows, iPod inputs, and of course games (of which we played “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and “Sudoku” for most of the journey).  They also served us a wonderful dinner, and breakfast for free with complementary wine and champagne.  When we arrived, Jason and I looked at each other and said, “That’s it? Can we stay on the airplane for another 4 hours?”

    The next destination is both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, which we leave for on Friday June 19th at 2:00am.  We will be flying into Aukland in the North and making our way South to finally catch a flight out of Christchurch…I’ll be in touch.

    We are specifically praying and hoping for health, safety, and divine appointments throughout our whole journey so please keep us in your hearts and minds while we’re on the other side of the globe.


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