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Naked Worth

by nate on June 16, 2010

A theoretical room you will exist in for a moment.

I was having lunch today with a friend in Brooklyn, reflecting on the last 9 months of my life. While talking about the lessons, thoughts, ideas, and sensations of travel, I found myself really trying to describe what makes it all worth it.  I was sitting across from her, broke, in need of a haircut, with no job, and all the other realities that come from quitting and rejoining society.

So I began to describe a theoretical way of gauging this worth which became “naked worth.”

Imagine you’re sitting in restaurant and suddenly, POOF! A bright flash, and everything disappears except people. Your table, chair, clothes, bags, and even your food disappears. Looking around, you notice that  in fact all that’s left is some dull gray walls. As you look at the other people that were in the restaurant, you’re confused because now you can’t decipher  the server, VIP guests, cook, or cleaner. You also can’t remember what you did for a living, any jargon, deadlines, or profession. That information is not important here, because money doesn’t exist here. All that had so easily defined you and everyone else is now gone, and it’s not coming back in this room.

Everyone begins to move around for a few awkward moments, and slowly the chatter begins. New sets of people begin forming and chatting about some really interesting stuff. There’s no stress, just talk. Unique conversation begin because now everyone’s worth to each other is what they share. Personalities, insights, ideas, and gestures begin creating new relationships with these random people, because they’re naked of everything money, status or job related and seen for their “naked worth.”

I think traveling is a great investment in one’s “naked worth,” because:

  • You become a slightly better person to have on earth.
  • You add a little more humanity in the world.
  • You have a more patience, kindness, and  perspective.
  • You have more tales that expand and excite the people around you.

It doesn’t translate to being smarter, making more money, or being more interesting. It can easily be all or none of these. It’s more of a humanity fabric within. So long-term travel will certainly increase your “naked worth,” and when you’re standing naked amongst the other people, you will be different.


A Quick Escape to Seoul

by becca on April 26, 2010

En route to San Francisco, we had a 10-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. When we arrived, we checked into our 5:15pm flight and hopped onto bus 6005 to the city. On our way there, we kept feeling like we were cheating the system, visiting a city where we were supposed to be confined to the airport. In our short escape from the international terminal we got a great overview of the city by riding the Seoul City Tour Bus. We cruised around the city, feeling lame for just sitting there and taking photos out the window, wishing we could hop off to explore the National Museum, the War Memorial, the beautiful Namsan Park exploding with cherry blossoms overlooking the city, and the many palaces. But, we were still being adventurous considering how cracked out and tired we were from traveling/not sleeping.

My friend Rachel, who grew up in Seoul, gave us some recommendations and time allowed us to explore two: Myeongdong and Insadong. Rachel enticed us to Myeongdong with the following description: super trendy tokyo like area. Awesome for shopping and people watching and good cheap food. It’s always really crowded here and super energetic. We felt a little bit of this, the shopping looked unreal, but it was Sunday morning and wasn’t really in full swing yet. We did have a really delicious steamed bun/pork dumpling thing. Turns out that Insadong — like an old timey area with lots of antique stores and just a nice place to walk around. Also lots of good tea shops! — was the place to be on Sunday afternoon, when cars aren’t allowed on the street and the place is just alive. Everyone is so fashionable, even the kids have nice clothes and cool haircuts. We ate what was maybe the most delicious meal of our entire trip here, BBQ beef with all the Korean accoutrement… mmm, kimchi!

Seoul is a beautiful city, and one that I hope I can go back to visit properly. As we made our way back to the airport, we caught the bus half an hour later than planned and rode back with the anxiety that we’d miss our flight. Our worries melted away as we breezed through the modern and efficient Incheon Airport and caught our 9.5-hour flight to San Fran with no problems.


Perhentian Paradise

April 23, 2010

We spent our final week in Southeast Asia on a fabulous stretch of beach on the smaller of the two Perhentian Islands. I tossed my shoes off the boat that ferried us to the silky sand and didn’t put them on again until we returned to the mainland. Our time there was beautiful and relaxing, […]

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18 hours in Brunei

April 14, 2010

In our mad dash through the tiny sultanate, we found ourselves staying in an apartment on the 11th floor of the tallest building in Brunei, probably the richest country in all of Southeast Asia. As broke travelers, we did not expect our short visit to be so stylish. The small country of Brunei Darussalam sits […]

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Evenings in Sabah’s Capital

April 10, 2010

The night market in Kota Kinabalu was the highlight for me. A leisurely walk along the bay past the central market and through the handicraft market leads to tantalizing smells and variety of eating options. I felt like I was swimming through a sea of bright colors and rich aromas as we made our way […]

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Mamutik Island

April 7, 2010

We arrived in Kota Kinabalu from the jungle, and had just two things on our mind; laundry, and beach. Before our arrival a nice gentlemen from Holland had mentioned a few islands were very near KK, the largest city in Borneo. In fact, he said a little Island named Mamutik was just a twenty minute […]

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Island Life in the Philippines

February 12, 2010

We spent a week in a little guesthouse on Panagsama beach in Moalboal. The door to our room opened onto a porch that faced the beach: a small sandy and rocky patch, with calm waves lapping, barely covering a wonderland of coral, and in the distance the mountainous outline of the island of Negros. The […]

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“Malaysia, Truly Malaysia!”

February 3, 2010

Kuala Lumpur, affectionately referred to as KL, is the capital of Malaysia, and has become a symbol and shining beacon of the country. The city boasts a handful of 8+ story malls featuring the latest couture fashion and tech concept stores, museums to suit a wide range of interests, and wealth plus standard of living much higher […]

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Plunge into the cold water and repeat.

November 28, 2009

Ever drifted down a river only 20 feet before you had two shots and a mixed drink, lost your sunglasses, and swung on a 30 ft trapeze swing into the river? It caught us by surprise too. The 6km drift down the Nam Song River can easily become a drunken blur after visiting a few […]

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Elephant Festival, Surin

November 21, 2009

The first day of the Elephant Round Up festivities in the town of Surin was brilliant. The main event was the Elephant Breakfast. Hundreds of meters down a long curved road, were tables full of pineapples, cucumbers, tomatoes, sugarcane, and bananas for the 280 elephants to feast on. While we waited for the elephants to […]

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