Return to Reality

Hello world! I’m back, safe & sound at home in trusty ol’ Texas.

I only arrived home a little less than a week ago, so I’m still feeling randomly tired and sleeping a lot more than usual. Jet lag plays no games, y’all.

That’s okay though, as I truly had a fantastic sojourn through the East, and I don’t regret going to any of the places that I visited! It was completely worth it, and I feel like it really broadened my view of life and further opened my eyes in so many ways.

I met a ton of interesting and kind people in every country that I visited, and my love for the world has greatly expanded.
Obstacles don’t seem as daunting anymore, and it seems easier to let things go and take stuff less seriously.
I appreciate a lot more now, like having internet all the time, being able to drive wherever I want, and actually understand everyone everywhere I go! Plus a plethora of other things… it’s really amazing.

But this wouldn’t be a very exciting post without some photos, would it now?

There are so many things that I want to share, but there’s way too much to put in just one blog entry for now, so I’ve condensed everything after my previous Kota Kinabalu post.

In chronological order, here’s the rest of my trip in photo highlights:

Bali

Visited a myriad of timeworn Hindu temples, where we had to wear a sarong. Here we’re posing at Tirta Empul, the holy water temple, with our extra friendly Balinese driver, Made.
Standing in front of Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave, built in the 9th century.
Clearly enjoying being used by a tiny primate at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud! Monkeys were literally everywhere.
While Cameron and I were traipsing through the hot and exhausting maze that makes up the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, we came across this friendly farmer who offered to take a photo with us.

Australia

Happily exploring the northern waters and beaches of Sydney.
Despite losing my phone (as you can tell by my pained expression), I got to scuba dive for the first time, which was scary as hell. But more importantly, I got to see the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, which made it all so worth it (still smiling!).
Going on a Barefoot Tour of the scenic Atherton Tablelands with the funniest Aussie tour guide ever!
Loved being shown around Melbourne by my dear cousins Sarah and Rachel Ong. 🙂

Malaysia

Hanging out with peacocks and other exotic birds while walking around the world’s largest open air aviary at Kuala Lumpur Bird Park.
Visiting the majestic Batu Caves in Selangor.

Singapore

Experiencing the technological wonder of the Gardens by the Bay.
Enjoying a musical light show about life, screened on top of a massive water fountain on the bayfront against the Singapore skyline.

Thailand

Finding delicious Pad Thai for barely more than $1 USD in bustling Bangkok.
Being stuck on a public bus in Bangkok for so long that the driver started reading his newspaper. xD
Taking a night bus to visit northern Thailand and getting to witness calm and peaceful monks at prayer in various temples.
Visiting the top of the mountain near Chiang Mai to see the revered Doi Suthep temple.
View of Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep. One of the most exciting things was getting to ride around Thailand on a scooter with this guy! 😀
Being giving a sloppy, wet “kiss” by a baby Asian elephant. xD
Taking a mud bath with another cute baby elephant! =)
Eating mango sticky rice way more than I should have. Possibly my favorite dessert ever!

Cambodia

Experiencing an incredible sense of shock and awe at the grandiosity of the entire ancient Angkor Wat complex.
I could have happily spent days exploring the ruins and pretending like I was part of Tomb Raider! 😛

Japan

Braving the intense crowds on Jan 1st and participating in “hatsumode”, the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year, at the revered Meiji Shrine.
Taking a tour of Tokyo Bay on a futuristic vessel created by anime master Leiji Matsumoto.
Getting to watch a demonstration and meet the infamous ASIMO robot.
Japan really loves its robots, and the Robot Cafe in Shinjuku was a bright technicolor show of pure and utter insanity… yet absolutely, ridiculously fun!
Taking a train to a town near Mt. Fuji to take in its unforgettably scenic views.
Going on a day trip to Nikko and taking in the frigid beauty of Kegon Falls.
Visiting temples in Kyoto and seeing women dressed up in kimonos literally everywhere.
Climbing up thousands of steps on Mt. Inari through countless torii to reach the top of the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.
Visiting Japan’s old capital of Nara, and getting to hang out with brave and friendly deer all day!
Another photo of deer lovin’, as I would consider this to seriously be one of the coolest things that I’ve done, pretty much ever. xD
Coming face-to-face with a gigantic Japanese Spider Crab in the famous Osaka aquarium.

 

Korea

Taking a glimpse into the palpable tension at the DMZ (demilitarized zone) between North and South Korea.
Wishing for peace at the end of the Bridge of Freedom.

 

Taiwan

Hiking up Elephant Mountain and climbing on a boulder to relish the smoggy views of Taipei 101 and surrounding area.
Visiting night markets every evening to eat delicious, inexpensive street food.

That’s it for now! Hope y’all enjoyed the photo summary. 🙂

At a later date, I’d love to expound upon some of the countries that I visited, but for my immediate future, I now face the reality of returning to the so-called “real world” of having a “big boy job” and actually making a living… which I’m okay with, as long as I can find that happy medium between being able to grow professionally and working for a meaningful cause.

So the job search has now begun, and I’m currently setting my sights on Colorado. Why the Centennial State, you might ask? Well, after Cameron and I visited there twice in the last year, we both fell in love with the natural scenery most of all, but the wildlife, friendly people, great music scene, progressive culture, and proximity to family and friends also really contributed to it as well. And no offense, but it’s not Texas!

Seriously though, ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to move out of this state. This niggling, unrelenting feeling that I just don’t belong here has never left me.

And I’m not sure if Colorado is the place that I do belong, but I’m confident that it’d be a step forward in the right direction.

I’m really excited to begin a new chapter in my life, and sincerely hope that I can find a new job that will feel rewarding to me. I wouldn’t mind starting work within a few weeks, but realistically, I probably won’t find a job that meets my requirements that quickly… we’ll see. I definitely want to be working again by like, March 20th, though!

Until then, I’ll be on the hunt for my next position, and doing what I can to stay relevant in the field of front-end software development.

Got any job suggestions for me, or anything at all? Leave me a comment — I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Until next time,
Comrade Brad

2 Comment

  1. devika says: Reply

    Looks like a fantastic adventure Brad! It was a great read, so I can only imagine how wonderful the actual journey was. As for your plan to move to Colorado, I think it’s a great idea (even though I’ve never been there, but always wanted to.)
    Wish you the best in your job hunt!
    – Devika.

    1. jbradleyporter says: Reply

      Thank you so much, Devika! 😀

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