Monthly Archives: June 2012


“We’re going to set up karaoke and everything.  I’ve got two wireless mics, a speaker, and a karaoke app on my iPhone.  It’s going to be awesome.”

“On the boat?”


Like most of my friend John Neel’s ideas, this one was close to pure epic-ness.  His plan was to take his and his friends sailboat to Joe Pool Lake with a few other people and have a boat/karaoke party.  I arranged to have the day off from work and waited with anticipation for the weekend.

In all the years I lived in Dallas I had never been to Joe Pool Lake.  This new discovery in itself was wonderful.  On the drive there, Stephanie and I reached the top of a hill that overlooked the lake.  The trees were green, the lake was blue and it was stunning.  A beautiful place in Dallas?  Yes.  An amazing swimmable retreat from this horrible heat?  Yes.

Stephanie and I parked the car and unloaded our homemade sangria that we prepared in the cooler.  John said they would pick us up from the dock once they got the boat in the water.  After 15 minutes or so and no sailboat in sight, I called him back and discovered we were at the wrong park.  Everyone was getting ready on the other side of the lake, about a 15 minute drive away.

Instantly, Stephanie asked a man if he would mind taking us to the other side of the lake in his motor boat.  Both of us had been so accustomed to the way of living on Koh Tao (the island in Thailand where we lived for 2 months) where it is normal to ask a stranger for a favor.  In this instance, we had absolutely no qualms about asking someone for a ride across the lake.

An example:

While I was living on Koh Tao I was playing keyboard with my friend Mark who plays guitar.  One night, Stephanie and I were driving the motorbike home from a gig and we ran out of gas.  We had also run out of cell phone credit and therefore could not call The Lost Boys to help us out.  So we started walking with my keyboard in tow.  

A little ways down the road we saw a man sitting in a chair, smoking a cigarette next to what appeared to be a banana stand (quickly deciphered due to the painting of bananas on the front.)  I went up to him and explained that we had run out of gas.  His english was almost non-existent but somehow I was able to communicate what had happened.  I’m sure the word “petrol” made it obvious.  

After a few nods, he ran around the the corner and came back with a cell phone.  Some words were spoken and after he hung up the phone he motioned for us to sit down.  Again he ran around the corner and disappeared.  Stephanie, who was holding the keyboard, looked at me and we laughed.  We agreed that we were uncertain about what was going to happen but that we would stay long enough to find out.  The man returned and offered us some bananas he had procured.  We gratefully took the bananas and said “kob kun kaa.”  

“Musican?” he asked looking at the keyboard.  

“Her,” Stephanie replied pointing at me.

Then a motorbike wheeled around the corner and parked in front of us.  As the driver got off the bike he said something to our new friend, who replied with a nod and then got on the bike himself.  We realized that he had called his friend to borrow a motorbike.

“Petrol,” he said and motioned me to get on the bike.

I got on the back of the bike and we drove down the road to the gas station.  Once we arrived, my friend asked for the gas and a man began filling up a plastic water bottle.  I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten all my money in the guitar case that was back with Stephanie at the banana stand.  Again, this was quickly communicated and understood by my new friend and he proceeded to pay for the gas.  He then drove me to my bike where he helped me fill the tank.  I started the engine and we both returned to the banana stand to pick up Stephanie.  

When we arrived, I got the money I owed him and attempted to give him a little extra for his time and effort.  This was completely unacceptable and he refused to take any extra money.  With numerous “thank you’s” Stephanie and I got situated on our bike with the keyboard.  Then right before we drove away, our new friend handed us a bundle of bananas.  After this, every time we passed by him on the road we would honk, wave, and shout hello to our new friend, the Banana Man.

Stephanie and I rode across Joe Pool Lake in the speed boat and were grateful for the breeze.  They dropped us off at the Marina which was still far from where our party was.  I called John and confirmed his whereabouts while Stephanie asked around for other ride possibilities.  We found a really nice couple, with a really fancy boat.

Once we were joined with our sailboat crew, our new friends from our ride towed us out of the cove and into the lake.  As there wasn’t much wind, we didn’t get very far after that.  But it didn’t matter.

There were drinks, there was food, there were amazing people, and there was karaoke.

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Filed under In Between Traveling, Thailand

Checking In

So, here I am….in Dallas that is.  I have been working at the Libertine for a month and a half now.  Has it really been that long?!  I have to admit I was afraid of things being the same as last summer, where all I did was work and never had time to build new friendships.   However, like always, my expectations were disproved.  Is that the theme of my life?  To always remind myself never to have expectations?

Not only are some of my oldest and dearest friends back in Dallas but I have also finally found a real genuine community.  And where else would I meet these amazing people other than the Libertine.  I wrote last year about how The Libertine was my one saving grace while living in Dallas.  How I felt a sense of home every time I walked through the door.  This is one thing that has not changed.  In truth, the majority of this group was around last year but because of my focus I was unable to give any time to hang out with new people.

I think one of the most profound things I learned on the Epic Adventure was to be more present.  I never planned anything more than 3 days in advance and this process resulted in life changing skills.  I live more in the moment, am more productive, do not take things too seriously, and most importantly, can appreciate wherever I am.

There is no longer this anxiety or longing to be with certain people or in a certain place.  Granted, of course I miss The Lost Boys, all the wonderful people on Koh Tao, all of the wonderful people in all of the places I went to, and undoubtedly, my Companion but I know I will see them all again and the reunion will be incredible.  All I can say is thank God for Skype.

So, in much anticipation, I will begin a recollection of the stories that I was unable to tell from the journey.  There are so many and they have to be documented.  Also, I’m going to plan to include some sort of ‘travel tips’ section due to the numerous calls and messages I get with questions like,

“How did you do it?  Where did you go?  How much was it?”

All I can reiterate now is that we never planned anything besides Russia.  I mean really, the only fact was that we were going to Russia and we were going to ride on the Trans-Siberian.  Everything else, before and after that, was spontaneous and this is something I want to really encourage people to do.

This is it guys.  This is the only life we’ve got.  Might as well make it an interesting one!

And for REALLY amazing news!  Aung San Suu Kyi’s accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo a few days ago.  She truly is an inspiration.

One other theme that has seemed to follow me throughout my entire life is the kindnesses I have found in the most unexpected places.  Aung San Suu Kyi reminded me of this with her quote,

“Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in the world.”  Kindness, she said, “can change the lives of people.”

Aung San Suu Kyi

And this is for you Stephanie…

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Filed under In Between Traveling