This weekend I moved my blog from Wordpress back on to Tumblr, cutting the last vestige of my Walkabout (and my costs). The great thing is that I found a cool service (https://www.import2.com/) that enabled to me to easily migrate all of my Wordpress posts back in to Tumblr, including keeping the correct dates & media (through a slick use of Dropbox public links). I had to pay $24 to do so, but they’re saying that they’ll refund me if I mention it on the blog (done!). But, honestly, even without the refund I would recommend it, as it was easy, seamless, and quick. Props, @importto, for a well-designed product that works just as it should.
The Promised Land
Soon to be sacred ground. Vamos, United.
My life is very, very different than it was a month ago. I’m really happy to be back in DC, and it does feel like home now (even though I’m still staying in a Hostel and don’t have a home yet). But that doesn’t mean I’m not at times taken aback by how drastically things have changed.
Little example: I got my haircut a few days ago. It was a pleasant experience and turned out great, but nothing unexpected happened. There was no disc sander massage; there was no violent neck crack. There was just a solid haircut that was 900% more expensive than the last one.
Big example: As part of doing research for LiveSafe, my colleague Samier and I went on a street patrol with the Guardian Angels this week in the Elvans Road section of the Anacostia neighborhood of DC, where a bunch of shootings have happened recently (indeed, the Angels were patrolling there specifically because of the shootings). Needless to say, it was an exhilarating 3.5 hours, but nothing really bad happened (all good, Mom!). What did happen, though, is that my “pale” skin attracted a bit of verbal attention. The disappointing part, though, after seeing pictures like the one above, is that I was heckled for totally the wrong reason — I mean, how silly do I look in that beret? Could I look more ridiculous & less inTIMidating? Samier had also never worn a beret before, but he almost looks stylish. I feel Rusty’s pain.
Talk about a Walkabout, Part II
First, thanks for all for the birthday wishes today. However, based upon some of them, it’s clear that I should have updated my blog earlier than this, as my situation as sorta changed…
When I left on this walkabout, I did so with a completely open mind as to where I was going, how long it would last, and where I would end up. It turns out that open mind led me right back here to Washington, DC.
While sitting in a cafe in Labuan Bajo in Indonesia I got an email from my friend Jeff asking if I’d like to come back and join his new start-up. Despite having just come off the incredible Komodo boat trip, and finally feeling like I was in the travelling mindset sweet spot, I knew right away in my gut that my trip was over. I kept travelling (the orangutan boat trip, then Singapore & Kuala Lumpur) while figuring out the details, but I had already mentally committed.
So, I packed my backpacks one last time (as shown in the pic above) and got back to DC a couple of weeks ago and have been burning tons of hours working at the new gig. I love it, though, and am terribly excited about the company — it’s called LiveSafe (www.livesafe.ly), and you’ll be seeing lots more about it here. The downside of this, though, is that the nature of my posts will dramatically change. As my friend Matt told me:
"Your eyeintim posts are going to suck now. Who wants to read about some dude that goes to work everyday in DC? That’s what I do!"No hard feelings if you unsubscribe, de-friend, unfollow or even harbor some anger towards me for coming back so “soon” — I know I made the right choice.
Tanjung Puting National Park
This is why you travel — I’ll let two pics and two videos do most of my talking for me here.
My transport & viewing platform for three days & two nights:
It was also my restaurant & hostel:
Cruising up the Sekonyer river:
The reason you go up the river:
Orangutans from Tim Gillons on Vimeo.
This was definitely in my top ten of travel experiences ever. Maybe top five.
The People’s Court: Bandarmasin, Kalimantan (Borneo)
Judge: The defendant stands accused of violating his oath to “not eat any western food whilst in Indonesia”, to atone for his McDonald’s sins in Australia
Defense: Your honor, while my client admits that the lunch he ate at a local establishment was fried chicken, it was not actually western food:
I think we’ve more than shown that the defendant kept his vow and is innocent of the charge. The defense rests.
Judge: Madame Prosecutor?
Prosecutor: The restaurant the defendant ate in is called “Texas Chicken — Since 1952”, otherwise known in America as the fast food chain “Church’s Chicken”.
Prosector: The Prosecution rests
Tim: Phew, I’m glad she didn’t mention the fries or hot fudge sundae I also ordered.
I’m Not Lion: I was a tad nervous
It was a little unnerving to be waiting at the gate at the Labuan Bajo airport watching the television coverage of the Lion Air plane crash that had happened at the Bali airport the day before (nobody died). Even more so because the flight I was waiting for was on Lion Air…going to Bali. And I just might have tinkled a little in my pants when we flew over the crashed plane as we were about to land (safely). Maybe it was backpacker karma punishing me for taking a flight rather than going overland/water.
Here’s a pic of us watching the plane crash news
Haircut #2: Labuan Bajo
When I got off the Flores boat in the town of Labuan Bajo and looked in a mirror for the first time in five days, I realized it was haircut time. The barber I found didn’t know any english, especially the fine-tuned adjectives of what I was looking for in a cut, so I just pointed to a picture of David Beckham on the wall and he happily started cutting away. Unfortunately, Beckham has a faux-hawk in the picture, so I got a cut that is super short on the sides & back and luxuriously long on top; kind of a reverse mullet.
The surprise part of this $1.40 haircut were two nice/scary chiropractic-like snaps of my neck at the end. The fellow backpackers watching me actually gasped when they heard the first crack. I tell you, haircuts when traveling are always exciting.
Dragon a guard to the toilet
There are 17,000 islands in Indonesia, and they are spread out over a huge area. So the four day & night live-aboard boat trip I took from the island of Lombok to the island of Flores was ideal, as it allowed me to visit lots of different places while still moving myself east the whole time. It was no luxury cruise —13 backpackers sleeping side-to-side on the deck of the boat (just like the one in the pic here) that had a simple squat toilet with great ocean views when you looked down— but it was an awesome time, as we made lots of snorkeling, hiking and beaching stops at turquoise-bejeweled islands large & small.
The real gem of the trip, though, was a stop at the island of of Komodo, home of the Komodo Dragon, the world’s biggest lizard, and one that will actually attack and kill humans. I found the locals (including the park ranger who gave us the tour!) hawking wooden dragons much scarier than the real dragons, but it was actually a little creepy when the dragons started to come at you like this one. He gave some people a scare and it was kinda cool that you had to take an armed guard with you to the toilet, even if he was just armed with a forked stick.
Here’s a video of the dragon coming after us
Komodo Dragon from Tim Gillons on Vimeo.