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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Long time no post!

Wow it has definitely been a long time since I've put anything up on here! Life has had some crazy turns in the past months and now here I am in sunny California. How about a quick summary of the past 7 months??

Flew back to America with the happiest feelings inside that anybody could imagine. Moved back in with my parents due to breaking up with Sarah... no hard feelings there, things just didn't work out. Saving up $$ to not be the 25 year old living in his parents house while working hard at a new awesome job. Got $$ saved, now bought a house with brother (Steven). Moving to Dublin into the shiny new house in about 3 weeks, life is on track!

Pow, you're up to date!

It's been GREAT getting back to the dropzone and seeing all my old skydiver buddies... things have changed in some ways and are still the same in others. Byron is still full of friendly people doing incredible things and setting the bar for talent in the sky! I look up to the people there with the highest regard and I really hope to be as skilled as they are one day. On the other hand there are tons of new people that I haven't met! I feel like one of them as they're all pushing jumps around the same numbers as I am and we're in the same boat but I started a few years before them. It's cool to feel like a student again though and I really enjoy learning new things in the sky :)

I am preparing myself for a few week long venture in July-ish that will take me to the remaining 18 mainland states. I'll probably only update once before then but I will do what I can to become an awesome video blogger again during that trip! Meanwhile, here's a picture of me falling from the sky.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

If only I could be home

It's been about 9 months now here in the land of Thais. 9 whole months... I really thought a year would go by much faster, but it feels like I've been here for 2 years already. After my parents left, it was only a short while till it was time for Sarah to do the same. I just tried to describe what it was like on the train ride to the airport to see her off but I couldn't get anything that made sense out. It was hard... very hard. Our goodbye at the airport was all too brief and we had her last meal in Thailand together before she had to pass through security. It was hard to keep our eyes dry knowing we wouldn't get to see each other for so long. As we walked up to the security line, we had a very quick hug and kiss (to avoid looking like a hilariously sappy sobbing mess in front of everyone) before I turned around and walked myself down to the train. I couldn't turn back to look at her... I had tears welling up in my eyes that were on the verge of bursting into a mini Niagara Falls. The whole train ride back and walk to the empty apartment were no different and I don't think I've ever experienced a feeling of loneliness so deep before. I don't really have any friends here. Nobody to call to hang out with and occupy my mind or anything. It's only been a week since she has left and I already can't wait to go home! The internet is terrible here, so I don't exactly have easy access to clear skype calls and we are reduced to high latency text messages throughout the day. It really sucks. Fortunately, someone that I had met skydiving a couple years ago was going to be in Bangkok for 2 days so he called me up and we hung out. I took them to Chatuchak and MBK for some cheap shopping and then we went to tour the Grand Palace! It was actually quite grand and we took a lot of cool pictures that are on his camera (I'll put them up when I get them eventually). In fact, we just had dinner together and said goodbye as he and his girlfriend are catching a plane back home tomorrow. BUT! Somehow, another skydiver friend (more friends with Sarah, but we've met a couple times in Denver) is arriving late tonight so I will have more friends for another couple days! I'll write up a new post after they leave and post pics of everything that's been happening :) In the meantime, check out this sweet 360 day/night panorama I made using a TON of pix I took from my rooftop!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Parents came to visit, and I am longing for my departure as well...

It is now mid April and my time in Bangkok is about half over... My parents and Grandpa have all arrived back in California after their 15 day visit, which has been the most exciting thing to happen in the past... well, 8 months that we've been here! Here's the update :) I have been here with nobody to talk to regularly aside from Sarah for the past 8 months. I am very grateful that she is here, and I couldn't imagine anybody else that I would rather be stuck here with, but even so, it was fantastic to know that my parents would be here for 15 days of fun touring the city, and exploring a couple islands. We had planned out their entire trip before they even arrived, so when they did finally show up we got straight to it and kept them busy so they would avoid the jet lag. They arrived at noon-ish and we headed straight to our apartment so they could unload before going to take a relaxing walk around Lumphini Park. They were amazed at the wildlife there and we all got to watch (and half participate in) the group aerobic session of about 200 people. We rented paddle boats to tour one of the lakes in the park and feed the millions of fish, then chased around some 6'+ monitor lizards through the water and up to the shores.
After that we ate at our favorite place here, the Mali Restaurant, home of the "crazy old American guy" named Peter that we've grown so fond of... they enjoyed their first taste of Thai food and we went on home so they could catch an early, well needed night of sleep. The next couple days I still had to work, as the Sonkran holiday hadn't yet started, so Sarah ushered them around to some of the most famous shopping centers in Bangkok including MBK, Siam Paragon and Terminal 21. After I finished up the term of swim lessons, we were all free to head on down to start our two part island adventure, starting with Koh Si Chang! Everyone was happy to leave the busy, dirty, hot smelly city of Bangkok, so the two+ hour bus ride didn't seem all that bad. A short ferry ride later, we got ourselves four motorbikes (Mom rode on the back of Dad's bike) and departed about 1/4 mile away to our nice, clean, cheap and wonderful bungalows! The next 4 days were spent driving around every road the island had to offer, and hiking along every secluded rocky point we could find. A few gorgeous sunsets, many sweaty non-air conditioned meals and loads of great pictures made these 4 days pass by in no time! Next stop was to be Koh Samet, but first, we had to figure out how to get there....... The ferry ride back to Si Racha wasn't too difficult; Sarah and I had done it multiple times before so it went smoothly. We had never tried to take public transportation from the mainland near this island, down to the small town of Ban Phe where we would catch our next ferry. It turns out that you must get on a cramped mini-bus (a minivan with rows 4 seats across and 8" of leg room) for 2 hours down to Rayong, where you have to transfer to a Songthaew (pickup truck with benches in the bed) for another 20 miles in the blistering heat crammed up against 18 other people. Then, we had to walk about 1/4 mile because they had us get off near tourist traps, rather than the real pier, to get on the ferry, to rent our off-road dirt-bike scooters, to drive down the crazy un-paved treacherous 2 mile path to our hotel. Somehow, we all made it... including my 73 year old grandfather who has the heart of a 16 year old, but the bones of a 40 year old (so the drive kinda sucked for him...). Needless to say, we just spent the next 5 days relaxing on one of the nicest beaches Thailand has to offer in one of the most secluded parts of the island. Anyway, loads of pictures and only a small bit of touring on the island later, we headed home on a direct bus back to Bangkok where we spent the final few days shopping for cheap stuff, and packing to leave. The only cool stuff we got was some super cheap northface coats from MBK (google it) that are factory overstocks for about $100 a piece. Amazing 3-in-one jackets that would be at least 3x the price in America! Woo hoo... Now, Sarah and I are here, preparing for her departure back home on the 30th of this month :( I'm pretty much stuck here till December because of the contract I am on, but it's for the better for the long term (and I might be able to leave early... hopefully). Look for more depressing lonely updates to come in the near future as I sit here alone in misery, wishing I could be back in the country that so many are so quick to talk $h!t about at home, because they haven't seen the rest of the world.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More adventures in Thailand

Not too much has happened since we went up that building a few weeks ago (the blog post came way late!), but we have been to a couple islands and a lame theme park...

Here are some pix from our trip to Koh Samet (koh = island). Click on the first image for the high res so you can see the water drop up close :D The rest are low res only 'cause uploading large files sucks here...

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Unique adventure

Well, I promised you some "adventure in Bangkok" so here it is!

We had just explored the Sathorn Unique abandoned building (google it) when I made my last post and I hadn't quite had time to write up what all had happened, but the story goes a bit like this:

There is a MASSIVE building right off of one of the BTS (sky train) stops in Bangkok that looks incredibly spooky and deserted. After a bit of research, it turns out that it IS in fact abandoned. Left to rot in 1997 during the Asian Financial Crisis, all construction of the project halted and everybody just went home. The building hasn't changed much in that time, it seems, as you can still find much of the building equipment scattered throughout, though anything of value has been looted. It is a 49 story behemoth that changes from an off white, mostly finished bottom, to a completely rotting away (or whatever you call it when concrete starts to fall apart) dirt brown structure exposing its rebar to the sky up at the top.

Here is an image from google:

We were wandering around the bottom of it looking for a way in when we stumbled across a few Russians sitting outside of a Pizza Hut that looked out of place. "Are you trying to go up that building?" I said, pointing behind the Pizza Hut.


"We are too. What do you know?"

"Not much, they have locks on the stairwells and are trying to charge us money to let us in."

Sarah, noticing a couple big bags the guys had asked, "Are those BASE rigs?"


Sweet! So we met some BASE jumpers that were trying to go up there too! After a 45 minute slightly intense conversation with the people that have inhabited the lower floors (who had a few 7 or 8 year old kids with machetes running around) we got them to unlock the lower and upper gates blocking off the steps all the way to the 8th(?) floor.

It was about 95°F and we only had 41 floors to go! We stopped to take some pictures at a couple points on the way up...

The top of the building was home to one of the coolest views I have ever seen! You had a full 360° view of the city and only a couple buildings stood taller. The Russian guys were packing their parachutes up there while we ran around and took a bunch of pictures and just enjoyed the view from the top of the city...

Anyway, the two Russians jumped off, had a safe landing off in a concrete field across the street and we made our descent down the building. A quick phone call to the lady downstairs to unlock the gates again set us free and for some reason they had no question as to where the other two guys in our group went (thankfully).

Twelve gallons of sweat later, we made it back out of the building and back down to the bustling city streets below. It was an incredible sensation to find such peace and tranquility amidst this city, and I never would have expected to find it on top of a 50 story deteriorating skyscraper. To this day this has probably been the most interesting exploration I have ever had... Caves, waterfalls, rivers, oceans and more from mother nature will always be fascinating, but to experience this feeling of wonder and awe from a man-made object was just amazing.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Life in Bangkok

Hello world! I left for Bangkok about 6 months ago and haven't exactly kept my blog up to date. I still VERY much intend on finishing all 50 states as soon as I return to the US in December (will have to wait to summer to jump the northern states though), and should have them all complete by mid 2013, before my 26th birthday.

I came to Thailand with my girlfriend with the plan to teach English for 1 year and live a fantastic life on a gorgeous beach with an abundance of money from all the stories that we had heard... reality, however, is much different.

We arrived August 17th after 36 hours of traveling, on the island of Phuket. Our first month was spent in intense humidity, incredible rain storms, a small brief flood, gallons of sweat, overly-confusing TEFL learning, a small motorbike accident and a somewhat beautiful apartment in the touristic town of Patong. After learning more about the reality of the situation on the beautiful, yet mostly ghetto island (unless you're already rich) we decided to head to Bangkok in search of better prospects...

Long story short, we spent the first 4 months in very cheap, dirty, uncomfortable conditions getting our job situations established and figuring out the city. Now we are in a fantastic apartment, 27 stories up right on the edge of the heart of the city, just a 10 minute sky-train ride from the dead center. I got lucky and found a job teaching swim lessons at a very high-end swim school, and Sarah got a great job at a university teaching English.

Bangkok is still very hot, uncomfortable, filthy and dangerous, but I am feeling a lot more comfortable with how it all works and now starting to have some good adventures... next post will be about the coolest adventure to date! Meanwhile, enjoy some sweet pics from our trip so far!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A few thousand miles, a couple new states!

I just got back from about a month of traveling around not just the US, but a bit of Canada as well! Sarah and I started out by heading up from Denver to visit her friend Heather in Great Falls, MT for about a week before we continued on to Lethbridge Alberta. We stopped at Waterton national park just over the boarder and kayaked around a gorgeous lake that was probably over 8,000ft high cause we were surrounded by snow! After spending almost three weeks hanging out in Lethbridge and Calgary and some boonie-ville town called drumheller seeing all of Sarah's family and friends we drove back down through Montana to take some main highways all the way to new york. The first day of that drive we got about half way through north Dakota trying to find a hotel with a room available for about qpp miles before finally giving up and buying a tent and air mattress from Walmart at 4:30am and camping right in a grassy patch in their parking lot! It was very hot and humidity so we needed to shower in the morning but all we had access to was the sinks in Wally world's bathrooms so we took all our bath supplies and got as cleaned up as possible before making it to Fargo.

Fargo?!?! Sounds familiar! So we meet again... This time around the fields weren't completely flooded and we met some awesome folks at the Fargo dropzone! The jump was awesome and I should be having video of the great three way sit flying action that ensued... I ha en definitely been slacking in the video blog department but this time I got some great footage and some half-way decent video blog worthy commentary so I promise I will get a video put together!

Aaaanyway... After a fun night hanging out with the peeps in Fargo we headed off to Indiana to stay with some of my family one ast time before Thailand and to get some rest before one last push to New York where we stayed in Quogue which is on long island right next to the Hamptons! A few days into the stay with Sarah's grandma we decided to go to the Long Island dropzone where I got to jump out of one HUGE ASS PLANE!! It's called a carribu... Picture of me after the jump next to the plane at the bottom of the post... There were about 25 skydivers inside and it probably could have fit 20 more... 13,500ft later the huge taigate lowered and two strangers and myself were the first out the door! Landing amidst that many jumpers that didn't seem to have experience landing near more than one other skydiver seemed to be a zoo... But we all got down safely and I threw my unpacked gear into the car and made the whole dz trip take no more than 45 min!

So now here I am a short flight away from Long Island in Denver writing this up waiting for the video of the ND jump... Sarah and I leave for Thailand on the 15th which is only 6 days away and we have a lot of preparation to do before that trip... That's all for now folks!!