One Last Hurrah (For Now)

Still on the right path...

Still on the right path…

Looking back at what seems like a life time ago — when I was still in the planning stages of my extended Round-the-World trip and before I ever bought my first outward plane ticket — friends and family would often inquire as to how long I was planning to travel, or what event or mental shift would mark the end of my trip.  At the time, I’d always respond with ambiguous and slightly humorous answers, such as, “Who’s says I’m ever coming home?” or, “Not until I run out of money, obviously!”  Now that I’ve been traveling for over two years (with a few restful stops back home for sanity reasons), I can say that the correct answer to the question of when one’s trip has come to an end is “when the time is right.”  This moment will differ from person to person, obviously, but it is a moment that you’ll know when you reach it.  Having spent the last few months back in the United States, both recovering from extended travel burnout and pondering the future of my trip, I’ve come to the realization that that time has come for me; that I am in need of a proper “home” again.  So I will soon be returning back to Columbus, OH, laying down some permanent roots again, and settling back into a semi-normal life.

Those who know me well, however (or those who have also been similarly bitten by the traveling bug), know that hanging up one’s traveling shoes isn’t actually that simple —  at least not without one final farewell tour, that is!  And as such, I’ve chosen to embark on a “Last Hurrah,” so to speak, to act as a book end to this chapter of my life.  In a few days’ time, I catch a flight to the Kansai Airport in Japan, where after several days of recovering from jet lag in Kyoto, I’ll be heading down into the Wakayama Prefecture to spend a week hiking the famous Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail.  After the exertion of carrying my heavy pack through gorgeous cedar forests and over the scenic mountains that one passes along the way, I’m then off to spend a week soaking up the sun and blue waters in the tropical paradise of Japan’s Southern island chain known as Okinawa.

After my second Japanese adventure, I’m headed to what will be a new country for me — one that I’ve been recommended by fellow travelers more times than I can count and has occupied a spot on my “wish list” nearly as long as any other destination — that of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.  My plan is to take in the cultural and culinary scene around the capital city of Yangon (formerly Rangoon) before heading into the interior of the country to check out other sights such as Bagan, Inle Lake, and Mandalay.  These last few destinations, however, will depend upon the travel conditions, as I am going to be arriving in the peak of the monsoon season (meaning many of the roads may be washed out), so we’ll see.  And finally, to finish my travels through Asia, I’m going to let my trip run full circle and return to the what was the first country I visited in Asia over a year and a half ago, that of Singapore — where, incidentally, I’m planning nothing other than stuffing my face full of as much delicious Hawker Center food as my stomach will allow.  I can’t wait!  So in the coming weeks, I’ll be active again on the travel trail, meaning that I will have another series of posts coming your way for your own personal enjoyment.  In the meantime, however, I’ll leave you off with a few images of how I’ve been occupying my time here at home over the last few months (just in case you’re curious):  Enjoy!

As usual, if there is a park with walking/hiking trails anywhere nearby, that is likely where you'll find me

As usual, if there is a natural park or hiking trail anywhere close, that is likely where you’ll find me

I opted for a bit of kayaking on Badin Lake in North Carolina

I also opted for a bit of kayaking on a recent trip to Badin Lake in North Carolina

I played some golf, as well.  Actually...I played a LOT of golf -- what can I say?

I played some golf, as well. Actually, I won’t lie: I played a LOT of golf

Is there any sweeter sight for a golfer than this?

Is there any sweeter sight for a golfer than this?

Summer concerts were definitely on the docket, as well -- another of my favorite activities

Summer concerts were definitely on the docket, too — another of my favorite activities

Can you guess the bands in either of these photos?

Can you guess the bands in either of these photos? (hint: I’m secretly a hippie at heart)

To keep the restless feet at bay, I also took a trip to our Nation's capital (seen here is the White House, obviously)

To keep the restless feet at bay, I also took a trip to our Nation’s capital (seen here is the home of our First family)

Back home in Ohio, another interesting aspect of the area in which my family lives is the significant Amish population.  You're technically not supposed to take pictures of them, but I figured one quick shot of an Amish buggy going down the road couldn't hurt

Back home in Ohio, another interesting aspect of the area in which my family lives is the significant Amish population. You’re technically not supposed to take pictures of them, but I figured one quick shot of an Amish buggy going down the road couldn’t hurt

Boat Ride 30 - Solitary Island

The sun setting through the trees near my family's house

The sun setting through the trees near my family’s house

As much of my time on the road is focused on finding that next delicious thing to eat, my time at home is equally spent planning and preparing for my next meal.  My eating habits at home are all over the board (not to mention all over the world), but here were a few of my favorites from the last few months:

Pulled Pork Sandwich topped with Coleslaw -- an American classis that always reminds me of summertime

Pulled Pork Sandwich topped with Coleslaw — an American classic that always reminds me of the summertime

A glimpse back at my time in Vietnam with a bowl of Pho Tai Bo Vien

A glimpse back at my time in Vietnam with a bowl of Pho Tai Bo Vien

Suckling Pig Hash -- this is certainly excessive, but you won't find me complaining

Suckling Pig Hash — this is certainly excessive, but you won’t find me complaining

Taco Trucks are a big part of the food scene here in Columbus, so naturally I had to indulge myself with a few tacos and sopes

Taco Trucks are a big part of the food scene here in Columbus, so naturally I had to indulge myself with a few tacos, sopes, and gorditas

One can never have too much Ramen

One can never have too much Ramen (ever)

I haven't yet made it to Indonesia, but that didn't stop me from trying some Bakmi Ayam

I haven’t yet made it to Indonesia, but that didn’t stop me from trying some Bakmi Ayam

A modern American take on the Sichuanese classic Dan Dan Mien

A modern American take on the Sichuanese classic Dan Dan Mien

BBQ Shrimp and Hush Puppy Omelette...yes, you heard that correctly

BBQ Shrimp and Hush Puppy Omelette…yes, you heard that correctly (note: it was glorious!)

It wasn’t all “dining out,” however, as another passion of mine is cooking.  Here are a few examples of my attempts to recreate at home a few of the dishes I’ve sampled while on the road:

Gathering ingredients at the massive West Side Market in Cleveland, OH

Gathering ingredients at the massive West Side Market in Cleveland, OH

My first crack at the South Korean dish of Dubu Kimchi (complete with Makgoelli to drink!)

My first crack at the South Korean dish of Dubu Kimchi (complete with Makgoelli to drink!)

My baking skills aren't exceptional, but that didn't stop me from attempting to make Melon-pan, a common sweet bun found throughout Eastern Asia

My baking skills aren’t as sharp as my cooking skills, but that didn’t stop me from attempting to make Melon-pan, a common sweet bun found throughout Eastern Asia

One can also never go wrong with a classis: Smokey BBQ ribs....Mmmmmmmm....(drools on self)....

One can never go wrong with a classic: Smokey, sticky BBQ pork ribs….Mmmmmmmm….(drools on self)….

A beer and wine tasting event just to keep things interesting

And finally, a beer and wine tasting event just to keep things interesting

Post-Script — Since my last post a few months ago, I’ve passed a number of significant milestones.  First off — and most importantly — this marks my 100th post.  Woo Hoo!  Further, my blog has crossed over both the 100,000 hits mark and the 3,000 subscribers mark, so I owe a big thanks to all of you who have been following along over the last few years.  I really appreciate the readership, and I only hope my travels have been entertaining (and hopefully inspiring) to both other travel junkies and armchair travelers out there alike.

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About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

21 Responses to “One Last Hurrah (For Now)”

  1. I think I recognize that hiking trail…looking forward to your posts.

  2. Byoung71@gmail.com Reply July 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Anxious to follow your journey on this trip. Loved the hometown pics!

  3. I went to a great restaurant called viewpoint restaurant in nuang shwe which you have to go to on way to / from inle lake.

  4. Glad you’re hitting the trail one more time Big Fella! Can’t wait to see where this leg takes you. See you back in Columbus in the late Summer/early Fall!

    • Yep, as much as I’m looking forward to this last trip, I’m equally looking forward to being back in C-Bus with friends and family. And you better get your golf game together, Dave, as we need to hit the links for some Fall golf!

  5. And before I make my big move to Oregon, we will be making one more trip to Columbus to savor some of the foods we’ve enjoyed there…..and then we head to OUR next adventure.

    • When are your guys making the big move? And when do you plan on passing through Columbus? If I’m back in time, perhaps lunch?

      • ‘l be heading to Columbus on Wednesday Aug 7….expect to be at a Jeni’s in the southeastern area of town (not yet identified) around 2 to meet another friend

        • Ahhhh…unfortunately, I’m not going to be back in time for August 7th (I’ll be somewhere in Okinawa at that point). Sorry that I’m going to miss you, but you picked a great place to stop while you’re in town — you can never go wrong with Jeni’s! Best of luck with the move and all that your new life out West holds for you!

          • Okay..so for your next travel challenge, stay “closer” to home….come visit….I am telling people plan at least a week and use our place as a base…we are an hour from Portland, an hour from the coast….so much to see and do!!

  6. I loved looking at your photos. Can’t wait to read and see more.

  7. Many thanks to you Andrew for giving me some ideas on what to eat in Laos. I’ve been actively following your blog since then. 🙂 However, never say never. I know this is supposed to be your last hurrah, but we never know what the future holds. Oh btw, where did you get that bakmi ayam? It looks pretty much the same with what we have here in Indonesia. Safe travels!

    • You’re definitely correct about not knowing what the future holds (thus the “for now” addendum that I added to my title). Even if I can’t travel full-time for a while, I still fully plan on taking a couple 1-2 week-long international voyages each year, meaning I’ll still be getting out and about as much as possible. A while back, I promised that I would make my way to Indonesia (and the Philippines, for that matter), and I still remember it. I’m not sure when it is going to be, but regardless, that is a promise that I still mean to keep!

      And as far as the Bakmi Ayam, we are relatively lucky here in Columbus, OH — where normally Indonesia food is absolutely unheard of — to recently be the recipients of a new Food Truck called “Aromaku.” In addition to the Bakmi Ayam, there serve all sorts of dishes such as Ayam Goreng, Rendang, Ayam Bakar, Martabak, and Lumpia Sayur. The workers were even cooking up a batch of Soto Batawi for themselves the last time I visited, and the were gracious enough to let me try it. Again, this type of food is virtually impossible to find where I’m from, so I’m super excited to continue to check out what they bring to the table in the future!

  8. Each time I think of moving “back home”, I find out that my annoying family is still there. So I’ll have to keep moving around the world. I am off to Sicily in October for 7 months.

    • Ha ha — I feel you on the crazy family front. I love spending time with mine, but too much can definitely be a bad thing. Best of luck with the move to Sicily, and enjoy your time in your new home!

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