Saturday, July 30, 2011

"There" is now "Here"

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, other than the fact that flying Coach after knowing what you're missing out on in First Class is a heartbreaker.  haha  The flight was not bad, other than the fact that for some reason the EVA Airways plane had no air jets, so it was pretty hot on the plane.  If only you could open the windows and let in some of that -40 degree C air, it would cool the whole plane off so well!

Also, it was rather annoying that they played some loud, flashy commercials as we taxied before take-off.  Considering EVA Airways is based out of Taipei, I can only guess that this is a Taiwanese influence and not Japanese, especially after the quiet, polite, subdued nature of my experience in Japan.  I should counter this by adding that when boarding the plane, they were playing classical music at a very pleasant volume.  I found this to be very soothing, contradictory to how I feel about most other aspects of air travel.

Island in the distance, off the coast of Korea?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting There

Three weeks of seemingly non-stop home improvement work and wrapping up the logistics both of renting my house and moving overseas culminated nicely.  One last night ride on the Greenbelt (I had my ass handed to me), one last San Marino party (Live Oak keg + moonbounce slip 'n slide = Slip Cup), many last meals and visits with friends ending with great hugs and "goodbyes" (or in my case, "Come visit!" instead of goodbye). 

After the mayhem of leaving Austin was over, it was time to tie up loose ends around Grapevine.  Figuring out exactly how much stuff I could take and what exactly I would need (I overpacked, as usual) and finding places to store things I just couldn't get rid of around my parents house (a few bicycles, nostalgic pictures and card/notes from old friends, and other knick knacks such as my collection of indigenous artwork from the various places I've traveled).

One final road ride with old friends in Grapevine, one of whom recently started riding and I had never before ridden with, and then Izabella was packed up and prepped for travel.  I let my friends know how excited I was that they ride now, so that I can share my world with them.  Oh, and we might have shared some whisky.  That was delicious.

And then, it was time to go.  Running on two hours of sleep, I spent nearly an hour at the check-in counter before I went through security.  First, there was not enough time (right around an hour) between connecting flights in Tokyo for them to transfer the bags to my flight to Taipei, and then came the task of figuring out excess/oversized baggage for my 2 checked bags and bike. 

All in all, Maritza was incredibly helpful.  I was her first customer (patron?) of the morning, still sipping on her coffee as she stepped over the conveyor belt to her desk and called me up.  She took the necessary time and steps to ensure that my baggage would arrive with me safely and that I was paying minimal fees to do so.  Lesson learned from this experience: when traveling (moving?) overseas, the one thing you absolutely cannot forget to bring with you is patience.

By the time I made it through security, I had time to go to check in at the gate (still room on first class, score!) and use the restroom before it was time to board.  Sitting down in my leather seat with 3 windows all to myself(!) and a leather ottoman, a female flight attendant came by gave me a menu (wtf?), a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones (uh, yes please!), and a complimentary copy of the New York Times.  By this time, I realized about the only thing this had in common with any of my other limited experiences on flights was that I was on an airplane.  I suppose I should mention that I was able to fly first class because I am fortunate enough to friends who can get me that privilege as a standby passenger for less than the price of a ticket in coach.  Thank you, thank you!

First Class!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Holy hell.  It has been a while, no?  So much has changed, and it is all changing so quickly at this very moment.  But, let's cut to the chase.  My flight leaves for Tokyo in a little over six hours.  It is a 14 hour flight, and then I have an hour to catch my next flight to Taipei.  From there, I will hopefully be successful in navigating the Taipei airport and getting myself and all my luggage on a bus.  I have never been on a flight longer than maybe 6 hours, never experienced jet lag, never left North America... the list goes on.

I keep getting asked the same question: Why?  Why are you going?  Why do you want to go?  Why Taiwan? 

Honestly, I do not have an answer...  Well, I can answer "Why Taiwan?"  I chose Taiwan because I have friends there and have a job lined up that should allow me to pay off a substantial part of my debt, while hopefully also saving up enough money to sufficiently explore that corner of the globe.

But still, why am I going?  I do not know.  Maybe I am looking for something?  But I do not know what I'm looking for, and maybe it will become more clear once I get there.  All I know is I was offered an incredible opportunity in Moab, and I turned it down for this.  Something in my gut just felt like this was right, and I still don't know why.  I think a lot of it has to do with the anxiety of wanting to see as much of the world as possible.  I felt that if I did not go abroad now, I would be stuck in the US forever.  It is time, for whatever reason, and I plan to make the most of it.

I definitely want to start writing more, as I used to, and hope to have plenty of pictures to share as a result of getting a new camera.  I will be updating my couchsurfing profile as soon as I figure out where I'm living, and hope to see you over there, as well as lots of new faces!

Take care of yourself, and be sure to come visit!