USA / Africa / Asia / USA (October - December 2013)

A friend of mine jokingly called this my "Eat, Pray, Love Tour" because of how long and exotic it was.  I called it my thirtieth year adventure.  It was acelebration of changing decades that involved more play than usual.  In South Africa, I led Flow Movement classes in Johannesburg and Pretoria.  I was able to go well outside the normal tourist experiences of Cape Town with a college friend who is an anthropologist/ethnographer/gender studies specialist.  One day, I had to set my alarm for 2:30AM to be picked up for the great white shark cage experience in Gansbaai.  I truly enjoyed suiting up and sitting in freezing, low visibility water full of chum and then waiting for the sharks to slam their faces on the cage (at which point you actually see them).  Basically, you see the shark only when it is three feet away.  FUN!

In Dubai we rode quads on the sand dunes which I found far more terrifying than shark encounters.  Normally when you find your surface unstable, you go slower; I think most people would agree that when you are unsure of your terrain or surroundings you move with caution.  Not on a quad!  When the sand is soft and wobbly you have to gun it.  Scared?  Go Faster!

I then went to Thailand for the first time and became familiar with Rama 9 (the King).  His image is so prevalent you leave feeling like homies.  I played with snakes and later worked on lateral undulation of my own in bellydance class.  I passed through Singapore and Hong Kong before Borneo (more on that here) and Bali.  BALI.  Life is good in Bali.  Every morning, I had coffee over a rainforest ravine in a resort-cum-Balinese art gallery and then trekked down to rinse off in a waterfall.  The monkeys tried to steal my bandana on the day I hiked a volcano (Mount Batur) in the dark.  Why in the dark?  To see sunrise and eat eggs cooked in geothermal steam of course.  On the last day, I boated over to Gili Trawangan for some quality time with the reefs.

Borneo: Orangutuan Federation International Trip (December 2013)

I went on this adventure with a friend who shares my love for the orangutans.  I have always been intrigued by my similarities with orangutans and longed to have a closer encounter.  In Malay, orangutan means "person of the forest." 

We wanted to meet our red-haired friends in their home while it is still possible.  Unfortunately, the outlook for the orangutans is dire.  Because of the epic and careless destruction caused by the palm oil industry, the forest in which the orangutans used to roam free is gone, and the preserved areas are constantly under threat.  Under the guidance of Dr. Birutē Galdikas herself, we visited hundreds of orphaned babies and juveniles who have no forest to be released into.  There were many somber moments on this trip, and also some that brought me great joy.  In one such moment, I put my climbing skills to the test as I went a story or so into the trees to spend time with rambunctious juveniles.  They wanted to test me; they playfully shoved, they tugged on my clothes, they decided I make a good climbing apparatus.  Dr. Galdikas said she has never seen anyone other than the local climbers fly up the tree with such ease.  I came away leech free and only had one close scorpion encounter.  I also now know to never try eating in an Indonesian airport.  I fulfilled a bucket list dream and remain dedicated to raising awareness about destructive industries.

To learn more about the devastation caused by the harvesting of palm oil, and how each and every one of us unwittingly contributes to this industry (unless you are explicitly aware of the real contents and origins of all your cosmetics, household products and foods), visit:

Mexico (October 2013)

Yo encanto Mexico.  From Monterrey in the North to Morelia, Mexico City, the Baja, Guadalajara, the Yucatan, and more.  I always enjoy my time in Mexico.  Check out these massive sculptures by Javier Marín!!