J-Ro BAMF's Traveling Adventure Blog

One bad ass chick on one bad ass journey

Lessons Learned II- Random Kindness April 19, 2011

Filed under: Couchsurfing,Lessons Learned — jrobamf @ 7:14 pm

So as many of you may have noticed, I have gotten a bit behind (ok maybe 8 months is more than a bit) on my blog. I have good intentions to go back and catch it up but all my adventures seem to keep me busy. However, today my couchsurfing hosts, Pin and Alin, brought up such emotion in me with their kindness that I started thinking about all the people the universe has brought into my life that have treated me better than I could have ever expected. I have been lucky enough to have many different people come into my life in the past year and show me such kindness without expecting anything in return that I feel like they have touched my soul and overwhelmed me with gratitude. It comes to my mind frequently and I feel inspired to express it today.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

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Seoul Searching In South Korea February 14, 2011

Filed under: Couchsurfing,South Korea — jrobamf @ 6:29 pm

I felt like the only westerner in the subway on the hour journey to Seoul because I WAS. With all my heavy bags strapped to me like cargo, the Koreans all had a good stare at me, especially the elders. They didn’t even try to be discreet, they just stared right at me. I just listened to my ipod and focused on getting to my station- Gangdong (which apparently I say like a westerner and nobody can understand me). It was my first time maneuvering in the subway on my own and I wanted to make sure I was reading the maps correctly. I had to transfer twice and each time the train would arrive minutes after I arrived. It was so seamless that it had to be a good sign. I made it to the station right on schedule to meet Zach- my couchsurfing host. I was feeling a bit better having done something on my own and regaining confidence, but I couldn’t help feeling incomplete without Jeff around to act like a goof until he made me laugh. I tried not to think about it but a couple times on the subway, I couldn’t help but reminisce and tear up a bit. I have no idea what the Koreans who were staring at me thought of that situation, but they did continue to stare. (more…)

 

Picture Me Rollin in South Korea February 6, 2011

Filed under: Couchsurfing,South Korea — jrobamf @ 12:20 pm

So good to see this face after 10 years!

I stepped off the plane groggy after spending the last 8 hours in a drug induced sleep to ensure my back wouldn’t cause me extreme pain again on the flight. I was immediately jolted awake from the unfamiliar feeling of cold weather that slapped me across the face. Whoa, this is going to be much colder than I expected. Then the realization that I was about to see Jeff after 10 years hit me and I was wide-awake and anxious with excitement. As the doors parted to exit customs, I scanned the crowd and there he was standing right in front with the same smile I remembered. He looked essentially the same and when I hugged him it felt like only days had passed instead of years. We chatted and tried to catch up on the whole drive north of Seoul to Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu, where Jeff was stationed for the past year and I would be calling home for the next 4 weeks. When we got in, I had to sign in at the gate and would continue to have to sign in and out every 24 hours everyday for the entire time I would be staying, which I think goes without saying that was going to be a huge pain in the ass. (more…)

 

Back to the USA for 2 weeks…..LESSONS LEARNED in the first 3 months of travel July 27, 2010

Filed under: Argentina,Chile,Costa Rica,Couchsurfing,Lessons Learned,Panama,Peru — jrobamf @ 5:51 pm

Im going to take this point in my blog where I spent 2 weeks back in the states visiting family and having an absolute blast at the Lightning in a Bottle music festival to go over a bit of “lessons learned” in the past 3 months of my travel abroad. I had never really done much travel outside of the country besides Mexico and this was my first time getting out in the world on my own and really pushing myself out of my comfort zone so I had (and still have) a lot to learn. I don’t feel like Mexico really counts because everywhere I went in Mexico was so touristy that I never really had to stop speaking English and living in San Diego, we have a pretty good sense of Mexico anyways. (more…)

 

Arequipa, Cuy, Cocal Canyon then Adios Peru! July 25, 2010

Filed under: Couchsurfing,Peru — jrobamf @ 1:06 pm

I woke up as we rolled into Arequipa, grateful that we were able to sleep through the journey and would be ready to spend the day exploring. We hopped in a cab and headed to a hostel Jairo found in his guidebook only to find out it was full and were directed to a different place the cab driver recommended. Seemed pretty good so we checked in and paid for two nights.

breakfast on the rooftop with nice view of the volcanoes

We were in time for free breakfast so we headed up to the roof and were quite impressed with the amazing view of the snow capped mountains and volcanoes in the distance.While we were relaxing after breakfast Jairo noticed his feet and ankles were abnormally huge. He wasn’t feeling all that great and these weren’t just swollen, it was a case of straight up CANKLES. We didn’t really have much on the agenda for the day so we decided to walk around Arequipa a bit and check out the main attraction in town, Santa Catalina Monastery and explore our options for visiting Cocal Canyon. But first, get to a pharmacy to see if they had something for the bug bites that I believed he was having an allergic reaction to causing his ankles to swell up and making him feel a bit under the weather. (more…)

 

Salta and Amazing New Friends from Sapoland July 15, 2010

Filed under: Argentina,Couchsurfing — jrobamf @ 9:15 am

Noah was going to be picking up their daughter Lila a few blocks from where Nicki was staying so I was able to grab my pack and walk to meet him there. They currently had 6 other couch surfers staying at their amazing home in the countryside of Salta but were still more than happy to have me over as well. Lucky for me, they had planned to have a feast of traditional Argentina parilla since there were so many fellow couchsurfers. Noah threw everything on the grill, everyone had a glass of wine or a beer and I got to know some of the people who were staying at the house. First and foremost, their 6-year-old daughter Lila is one of the most curious and interested little girls I have ever had the joy of meeting Nahuel had already been bragging about how impressed he was with ability to go back and forth from Spanish to English without even blinking. How lucky this girl is going to be so advantaged by being completely bilingual her whole life! (more…)

 

Buenos Aires…the “Latin” NYC June 27, 2010

Filed under: Argentina,Couchsurfing — jrobamf @ 7:40 am

I figured getting back to Buenos Aires from the Eco Yoga Park would be no problem since I was essentially just going in reverse. But is still turned out to be extremely challenging because of my lack of ability to communicate in Spanish. I cannot stress this enough….if you learn the language of the country you are in, it will GREATLY improve your travels. At one point in Moreno, I sat down at the train station and cried and actually said out loud, “I HATE Argentina!” I hate it!”. Yep- that’s me throwing a fit and having a pity party because I couldn’t figure out how to use the phones to call Nahuel and let him know I was on my way to his house. When I was done feeling sorry for myself, I wiped my tears, picked up my ridiculously heavy bag and went to find the correct train. The correct train turned out to be some sort of crackhead commuter train. I mean literally, the seats were all ripped out of one whole section and there were people sitting on the ground smoking cigarettes and weed and a bunch of other people trying to avert their eyes from anyone else. It was a super sketchy train but I just minded my own business and ended up back in Buenos Aires and walking back to Nahuel’s place. (more…)

 

 
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