Rolf Potts met me in Tompkins Square Park to talk to me about travel. Rolf wrote one of my favorite books of all time called Vagabonding. It’s all about long term travel. It influenced the hell out of me. And I was so stoked to be able to talk about getting out there in the world with such a well worn traveler like him.
William Childress (skip to 53:30) had me over to his homestay in Siem Reap, Cambodia to talk about Myanmar. He lived there for years. And it was the first place I went on my travels this year. So I finished seeing a temple near Angkor Wat and went to visit him so we could talk about one of my favorite countries in the world. Myanmar is amazing. See it before it gets ruined by globalism. Also, I went kind of nuts on the intro and outro. And then stay tuned after the outro because I also included a conversation I had with a 17 year old Burmese girl I met out there at a restaurant outside Inle Lake. This might be my fullest podcast ever.
Shwedagon Pagoda (you can see it night from every rooftop bar in Yangon)
This stuff was all over Shwedagon. Beautiful, ornate statues. I walked around there for almost 2 hours. And then I took a nap in front of a Buddha for another hour.
Chin lone. I watched these guys play for almost 3 hours. The dude in the jungle clothes won a 3 on 1 for money a little earlier.
Street food is everywhere in Myanmar. All those booths lining the road are street food stands. And the bridge I was on led to another area where there was another 200 stands. Outside Shwedagon there was tons more. You gotta ignore the cleanliness and just go for it when you see something interesting. If it ain’t good, just chuck it, and you’ve wasted 40 cents.
This wedding car literally drove over fresh produce. The people guided him so the tires wouldn’t hit anything. I ate one of those carrots just to see if I could taste the exhaust. (hint: I could)
My first friend, Big Red. And those are the two Aussie girls who taught me the term “bush duff” when we went to see Assassins Creed. This is the common room at my first hostel. It ain’t much, but it brought everybody together.
Dawn in Mandalay right after I walked away from the bus station.
Little female monklets going door to door for their rice offerings. They line up (men and women in different lines) and go to businesses and homes to have people put rice and food into their bowls. And that’s all they eat for the day.
The temple where I stopped to take a load off and try to meditate in Mandalay.
This was the other dude who sat nearby while the first guy told me about Buddhism. He really wanted me to take a picture of him back to America. Also, no shoes because you don’t wear shoes in a temple or pagoda.
Bagan at dawn or dusk. It’s just gorgeous. You really gotta spend a few days there and just soak it all in.
Still on my own. For even the first day and a half in Bagan I was still too socially scared to open up and make friends.
Suns out guns out also applies to when you’re on an ancient temple in Myanmar built by a Burmese king 900 years ago. Rules are rules.
This dude’s name at the hostel in Bagan was Ari Shaffer. I crossed his name off an activities list because I assumed someone had rewritten my name by accident. Those girls behind us were absolute wrecks. We watched them fall off their e-bike over and over again for 15 straight minutes once before we got bored and took off. I’m guessing they eventually figured it out, but I have no idea. The white one was my type but I was still too nervous to talk to new girls.
Just dodging a herd of cattle (ox maybe?) on our e-bikes. Finally starting to make actual friends now.
You should see this view when you’re on top of a temple in pitch black and you wait for the sun to start coming up to reveal all this beauty all around you.
Sven and Ryan. They’d eventually be on an opposite trek from me to Inle Lake. And Ryan (on the right) joined up in my group from Inle to Hsipaw and he was my roommate during my food poisoning. You should hear him imitate my all night shivering from overbarfing.
3 of the 5 Canadian girls on their gap year that I met in the common area of the Ostello Bello hostel in Bagan. People lined up to take pictures with them because they were blonde. We eventually had to run away because the line was getting way long and we wanted to eat. You should see the way people out there want to take pictures with blondes. It feels like celebrity.
Cave of 10,000 Buddhas somewhere outside Kalaw right before my 3 day trek.
The trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake was almost all scenery like this. 3 days and 2 nights of mountains, rivers, and sun. Here, the clouds enveloped the valley before the morning sun burned them off.
Fields of hot peppers set out to dry in the sun. I ate so many of these on the trek.
My chief weapon to use for children was the high five. They fucking LOVED it.
Setting up getting ready to eat on night one in a small village that Sao (our guide) was from.
Fresh cooked Burmese cuisine in a hut in the middle of nowhere. These trek meals were some of the best food I ate on my entire trip.
Beginning of day 2. Sao got us some Thanaka from the village ladies for us to use. That stuff is on the faces of people all over the country. It’s mostly cosmetic, but also wards off bugs and protects against the sun.
My trek group. The best people in the world.
We came across a soccer game going on and stopped to watch for an hour or so. I love the scenery behind the “field” and the way the spectators are dressed.
This country was gorgeous once you get away from all the litter.
The monastery where we slept night 2 of our trek.
Sunset outside the monastery with an Austrian and a Dane.
A boat took us the last 45 minutes through Inle Lake into the city.
Dinner in Inle Lake. That’s Nedi standing up in the back with the black shirt on. This whole meal cost us each about 90 cents. For the people who got 20 ounce beers, it cost 2 bucks.
Ryan and I getting in on a Chin Lone circle in a town we weren’t allowed to be in. This is right before I started barfing for 6 straight hours.
The train to Hsipaw
This is the reason to take a 14 hour train instead of a 6 hour bus. The 7 minutes you’re on this bridge. The Goteik Viaduct. It’s a holdover from the British colonial times.
Paying off my Bag of Bets in Hsipaw. I bet Jayson Thibault that the Cowboys would go further than the Falcons. Loser had to wear a Hitler mustache for 2 days. Bet paid.
My final sunset in Myanmar. From the roof of the hostel in Hsipaw while we drank Mandalay beers from the supermarket. After a fun 2 1/2 weeks in Thailand, I jumped to Cambodia to meet William.
The (I believe) Thom Phrom temple in the Angkor Wat temple complex outside Siem Reap, Cambodia right before I met Childress at his homestay.