laurie was here

making it up as I go along

Laurie Is Here

I headed back to San Francisco in April 2014, almost exactly two years after I left.  By a random coincidence my old room opened up for rent that month and I moved back in.  Two weeks later I had a great job offer at a successful mobile gaming company, and I soon picked up the friendships I’d left behind so abruptly when I left.

As always, I’ve been lucky: somehow there was no real consequence to me just packing up and leaving for two years.  But maybe we overestimate how disruptive a deviation from the guided path might be, even one that does last that long.

I decided to stop backpacking basically because I got tired of it.  I was tired of spending all my energy on trying to figure out where to go next, how to get there, where I would sleep that night, how to not get ripped off.  I wanted a bed and friends and intellectual challenges.  I had started backpacking in Mexico, planning on heading down Central to South America, meeting up with my Brazilian friends for the World Cup.  I spent a month in southern Mexico, got a pretty nasty stomach flu, and decided I’d had enough for now.  I realized Central and South America deserved a full effort from me (as well as a serious update to my Spanish “skills”) in order to really appreciate them and, after two years of vagabonding, my heart just wasn’t in it as much as it used to be.  So I stopped.

And so here I am, six months after the fact, backpack emptied and clothes hung up in my closet, fully moved in and settled in to the always stimulating, always challenging San Francisco.  

…For now.  

I can still feel that itch.

Laurie estaba aquí

Hello from Guadalajara!

After two months visiting friends and family around the West Coast, I’ve packed my bag up and bought another one-way plane ticket (sober, this time).  This time I’m starting in Mexico.  I’ve spent the last two days in Guadalajara consuming copious cervezas y tacos in a hostel located near the city center, and in the morning I’m headed to meet up with friends in the sunny seaside town of Puerto Vallarta for a week.  

And after that?  I honestly have no idea.  But it will probably be ridiculous.

The Poon Hill trek on the Annapurna trail: as good as its name deserves

You can’t visit Nepal and not go on a trek.

It’d be like skipping Thailand’s beaches or India’s food.  There’s a reason these things are famous, and it’s probably worth your trouble to experience it for yourself.

Because I essentially work 7 days a week for my online job, I’m always somewhat limited when it comes to “off the grid” activities, so when I arrived in Pokhara I looked into good short treks to do.  The best Himalayan treks are about 2 weeks but logistically that was never an option for me, and if I’m being honest I’m just not interested in walking for that long.  I like exploring and the outdoors, but spending most of my day walking in the woods is rarely as fulfilling as I hoped it would be.

I decided to do the Poon Hill trek.  It’s a 4-5 day trek through the Himalayas in the Annapurna region, and considered one of the best short treks you can do in Nepal.  Plus, I mean… the name.  Come on.



The route I took ended up taking me 5 quite leisurely trekking days, spending each night in one of the many $2 tea houses along the way with million dollar views.  It was absolutely phenomenal (and freezing). 

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I put together this video of the first 7 months of my trip, spent all in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos).  Going back over stuff like this makes me never want to stop traveling.  This is just one tiny corner of the globe!

The value of a Japanese rail pass, drinking for cheap in Tokyo, and other essential Japan travel advice.

Q: I recently bought a ticket to Japan and will be there (in the cold and  snow…burrr) from Dec. 27- Jan. 15. You went earlier this fall and I wanted to pick your brain for any things to do or tips on getting around. We wont be able to climb Mt. Fuji but I did want to go see it, do you recommend any particular area to view the mountain from? How did you travel around Japan? They have Japan rail passes for tourists but I’m not sure if its worth the money… do you know anything about those?

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So long Nepal, thank you so much for the unbelievable scenery and warm hospitality I enjoyed over the past three weeks. 
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It’s currently 5:30am in the Kuala Lumpur airport, where I flew in from Kathmandu, and I’m waiting out the night to board my next flight… to Lombok, Indonesia!  I’m going to be spending my final two weeks in Asia getting my beach bum on and learning to surf on this idyllic island near Bali.  A big change from the chilly nights in the Himalayas, which I am totally ready for.  I gave my trekking jacket to the driver of the cab I caught to airport.  “Won’t be needing this anymore!” I gleefully told him.
I haven’t slept tonight, and only got 1.5hrs the night before, but hey, that’s what the beach is for right?

So long Nepal, thank you so much for the unbelievable scenery and warm hospitality I enjoyed over the past three weeks. 

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It’s currently 5:30am in the Kuala Lumpur airport, where I flew in from Kathmandu, and I’m waiting out the night to board my next flight… to Lombok, Indonesia!  I’m going to be spending my final two weeks in Asia getting my beach bum on and learning to surf on this idyllic island near Bali.  A big change from the chilly nights in the Himalayas, which I am totally ready for.  I gave my trekking jacket to the driver of the cab I caught to airport.  “Won’t be needing this anymore!” I gleefully told him.

I haven’t slept tonight, and only got 1.5hrs the night before, but hey, that’s what the beach is for right?