The Movie “Wild” and Finding Yourself in Solo Travel

When I saw the poster for Wild, I was immediately reeled in.

As a solo female traveler, a movie poster featuring a lone woman on the road with a backpack immediately sparked my interest.  Although I wasn’t quite sure what the movie was entirely about, as a fellow traveler I was certain that I had to see it and discover for myself.

Wild is about Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) and her journey on the pacific crest trail, starting from the Mojave Desert and ending in the National Parks of Oregon.  While this movie showcases the splendor of America’s rugged pacific coast, it’s not a picture perfect,  self-discovery type travel epic filled with epiphanies and life’s splendor.  It’s a movie about cold nights spent in a tent; the weight of a backpack digging into your skin, suffering from dehydration in the sun, ripping a toenail off your bloody foot and eating cold food for days on end.. read more

Dealing with Loneliness Abroad (and at home)

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Living in Niigata, although very memorable, was sometimes extremely lonely

When living abroad, it’s very easy to feel alone and isolated. Living in a new environment, being surrounded by a new language and living in a place where you know no one—it’s something few people sign up for voluntarily.

When I moved to Japan, I underwent some of the loneliest months of my life. The Japanese countryside was the ultimate test to enduring loneliness.

Surprisingly, I also felt loneliness upon returning to the United States. Although the U.S. was my ‘home,’ most of my friends from high school and college had already moved to other states and cities. The combination of reverse culture shock and being in a new environment (Los Angeles) had me feel more alone than I had ever felt in Shanghai. read more

Is Living in Big City America Worth it?

photo credit: Pranav Bhatt via photopin cc

photo credit: Pranav Bhatt via photopin cc

Why Big City L.A. Sucks… Traffic

I apologize, I haven’t updated in almost a month. Aside from my terrible job and daily four hour commute (yes, you read that correctly, four hours), I have been busy with my favorite hobby:

Traveling.

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When I was younger, all I could think about was how to get out of the United States rather than travel in it. The arches of Moab are nothing compared to the Great Wall of China, I sighed. The Grand Canyon simply pales in comparison to the intellectual beauty of Paris’ Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysses. read more

5 Reasons to Live in Japan

While Americans think nothing can top life in the states (why would anyone move abroad?!), I would like to list some reasons why Japan still tempts me to drop everything here and run back to its loving, but poisonous embrace.

The Convenience Store

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The first thing I do when I go back to Japan is run to 7-11 or Family Mart, fall to the linoleum floor and sob with joy as that familiar door jingle rings through my ears and welcomes me home.

For those who have never been to Japan, you may think: “it’s just a 7-11.” read more

Ten Years After High School

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Last weekend was my 10 year high school reunion.

But I didn’t go.

It’s not like I didn’t want to go–actually, I was curious to see what everyone from my small, coal-mining town was up to in the big world.  I knew that most were married and still living in Utah, but I’m sure a few anomalies from my class were doing some really amazing things.

It would have been nice to visit my small hometown after 7 years of absence and catch up with the class of ’08, but due to distance and finances it just wasn’t feasibly possible. read more

Should You Choose a Man or Career?

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You know, men never face this dilemma. They don’t debate about whether they should give up opportunity or stay with the woman of their dreams.

They just take the job.

Women, on the other hand, will face this agonizing predicament at least once in their lifetime. Move away from the boyfriend to pursue the career I have been dreaming of? Or stay behind, stick by his side, and possibly have a life of marital bliss?

I never thought it would happen to me, but it did.  I had to choose a man or my career. read more

Fitting Back into the USA

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Letting Go

I know.  It’s been ages since I’ve updated.

I’ve opened up wordpress and stared into a blank page for minutes at a time, trying to compose my thoughts into something that flows and make sense.  I tried multiple times to post something that is profound, moving, touching, and somehow manages to convey all of my distraught feelings for leaving behind a life full of love and comfort in Shanghai.  I tried to sum up the overpowering emotions of saying farewell to China and the wonderful life I lived there for three years–but every time I tried to type something, it just didn’t feel right.  It felt forced, sappy, or empty. read more

When are you too old to solo travel?

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20 Something Traveling–Been There, Done That

When thinking of a female solo traveler, I’m sure the first image that pops into mind is a 24-27 year old girl simply sick of her 9-5 desk job and craving something more.  These women decide to toss the boring life of monotony and, instead, don a backpack and travel the world.  They’re young, they’re fresh, and they’re ready to make the most of their “younger years.”

As I near the dreaded 3-0, I start wondering about the possibility of solo female traveling mid 30’s and beyond.  I have found a slew of blogs featuring women that have braved the roughest frontiers with nothing but a bag on their backs–but I have yet to encounter a blog that has a 34+ something woman traveling the world. read more

The Shanghai Ronin is Leaving Shanghai

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Taking The Leap

The craziest adventure in my life was not joining the JET Programme and moving to a village in no-man’s-land Japan for two years as the lone foreigner. It was not dropping everything and randomly studying Chinese in Beijing. It wasn’t even venturing through the countryside of China and traveling by bus to the depths of Vietnam alone. No. All of those things, to me, are semi-normal.

The decision to move to Shanghai was the most rash, insane, and completely bewildering change of my life. read more