A Moderate Storytelling Blog in Today's Internet

Since I started this blog, I’ve been trying to decide what kind of blog this is and how to sum it up and explain it nicely. I didn’t want to think of this as a travel blog, because I didn’t want to limit myself to just travel related posts. Nor did I want to label this as a personal growth blog for the same reasons, I didn’t want to box myself in and set expectations that would limit what I write here. But the thought of a ‘miscellaneous’ blog also didn’t set well with me, that felt disorganized and without purpose, and it doesn’t answer the question of ‘what kind of blog is realisticwanderlust?’ because I don’t want the answer to be: “I donno, it’s a blog about whatever”.

Yesterday night right before I fell asleep, I was randomly thinking about this topic again and it was like the clouds parted and I came to a clear conclusion as to what kind of blog I want realisticwanderlust to be. It has been, and is going to be a storytelling blog. I love the sound of that and it perfectly captures what I want to do here. I’m not here to be a travel blogger or a personal growth blogger or to just write guides, or how to’s or clickbait-y stuff, I’m here to tell stories. But that’s going to create a slew of challenges for me in trying to grow this little storytelling blog in today’s internet environment.

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Going Home

Originally I left without a hard end date in mind. I had a general game plan and that was just to keep going westward until I made my way around the world and back home, but I didn’t seriously think about when I was going to get home until about 4 months into my trip. It was January 2019, the new year had just turned and the question of ‘when should I go home’ really took over my thoughts and I wrestled with the question daily before I went to bed. I thought I came to a satisfying conclusion and even wrote a blog post about it here but that changed.

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Islands, Beaches and Sunsets in Krabi, Thailand

Originally I was thinking of avoiding Thailand because of it’s reputation as a party backpacker kind of place, a culture which I never got into. However I knew that was narrow minded of me and the country likely had a lot of other things to offer travelers who aren’t into the party scene. I managed to find a cheap flight, I think about $80, from Mumbai to Bangkok. So off I went to Thailand.

I debated for a while over whether to go to the north of Thailand for the mountainous feel or the south for the beach vibe. In the end I chose the southern beaches because I had been missing the beaches back home in California and I just wanted to find a place to unwind near the ocean after a tiring 2-3 weeks in India. I chose the city of Krabi, which is a city on the coast of Thailand’s southern arm, that does not have the same party beach reputation that Pattaya/Phuket has. Here are some photos and stories from my 5 days in Krabi, Thailand.

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Snapshots and Stories from Mumbai

My last stop in India was Mumbai, I spent a few days here to rest and gather myself before leaving the country. By this point I was pretty exhausted and traveling through India had definitely taken a toll me. Looking back on my time in India, I think I moved through the country a bit too fast. I only spent about 3 to 4 days in each city which did not give me a lot of time to adjust to the fast paced and intimidating environment that permeates the big cities of India.

Regardless, I was still extremely excited to explore the city of Mumbai, I had heard and read so much about the city and wanted to experience a slice of this megalopolis for myself. Here are some snapshots and stories from my time in Mumbai:

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How to Buy a Train Ticket in India (2019)

India is very well connected with their extensive railway system, and once you figure out the train system and build some confidence in using the trains, it opens up the subcontinent in an amazing way especially for a budget traveler. Nowhere else can I travel to another city hundreds of kilometers away for $2-5USD (I’ve gotten tickets for day trips to nearby town for as little as 20 rupees, which is about $0.30!!). India is so varied too that each city can feel completely different than it’s neighbor and there’s so much rich culture to explore.

There is a bit of a learning curve though in figuring out how to buy a ticket as a traveler. There’s a lot of trail and error, it’s not super well documented and sometimes it’ll randomly fail without any explanation. I’ve written down a step by step guide to hopefully shed a bit more light on the process and help other first time travelers to India.

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Exploring the Hills of Southern India - Ooty

I’m currently in a small town in Japan right underneath Mt. Fuji, and I’m making some time for myself to unwind and live some normal days instead of running around so much sightseeing. Picking up my photo journals from where I left off, which was when I was still in India over a month ago!

My last photo journal was from my time exploring Kerala, India. The next place I ended up at was a town called Ooty which was nested in the hills of Southern India.

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When Should I Go Home?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when I should go home. I’ve been traveling for nearly 4 months now, some days I want to buy a ticket back home soon, other days I’m planning and figuring out when the best time to go to Africa is. When do I know when to home? I used to just think to myself: Well I’ll go home when I’m too homesick or when I run out of money, but I realize that it was just an easy way for me to say ‘I don’t really know when I’ll go home’.

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Falling Behind on Blog Posts

I am falling behind on writing about my travel adventures. My latest travel post is from my time in Kerala, India which I visited between November 27th-30th. Since then I’ve been to a couple more cities in India (Ooty, Mumbai), left India on December 7th, then went to Thailand for 10 days and spent some time in Krabi and Bangkok. After that I spent an amazing week in Vietnam over the holidays, where I stayed with a close friend’s Dad, who runs an English school for locals. I got to meet so many amazing people there who took me around the local city, and it was one of the most fun weeks I’ve had on my trip so far.

Now I’m writing this from a Starbucks in Tokyo. I’ll be spending 3 weeks in Japan before heading to China to spend Chinese New Year with my relatives for the first time since I was 5!

Here’s a brief digest of my travels since my Kerala post. There’s so much that I’ve learned and experience that I want to write about and so many more photos to share but I don’t think I’ll be able to catch up while I’m in Japan because there’s just so much to do and explore. I’ll have a TON of downtime in China though as I’ll be staying with family for 3+ weeks with not much to do. I plan to catch up then.

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