Facing Fears, Wiping Out, and Getting Up Again

Early last week, I was about to write about fears and the process of facing up to them. I would talk about traveling to places that once frightened me, meeting and interacting with large groups of new people, and jumping out of airplanes. Then, I would channel all those fears known and met through a more recent apprehension I'd tackled: riding a motorbike.

I would ride off into the sunset and deliver a life lesson about what a great feeling it is to overcome fears, to do something that scares you.

And then I crashed.

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The Yin and Yang of Koh Pha Ngan (Or, Yes Virginia, There Really Are People Who Suck)

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

We often share stories of ordinary people who humble us by showing resilience and kindness in the face of challenges. In doing so, we highlight the positive — so much so that you might be thinking: “Do these guys only run into good people on their travels? Is the world really like that? Are all people around the world really that good?

Not always. Sometimes you meet people who grind you to the edge.

And then, you must find your way back.

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Loi Krathong Festival: Troubles Down the River, Lanterns in the Sky

Sunday was one of those days when misfortunes were set aloft and misdeeds adrift.

That is, in Bangkok at least.

It was Loi Krathong, a Thai holiday where young and old come out in force. They send their wrongdoings afloat on colorfully adorned lotus leaf rafts down the Chao Praya River and they fire up paper lanterns to carry their misfortunes into the sky.

Then they party like it's 1999.

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Avoiding Theft at Airport Security

Arrival in Quito, Ecuador
Arrival in Quito, Ecuador
Being careful everywhere, including airports.

As we prepare for our departure to Guatemala and secure the various latches on our gear, I'm reminded of being robbed by airport security employees in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport last year. Fortunately, miraculously – and somewhat shadily – I was reimbursed.

A recent comment from a woman who had money stolen at airport security in Toronto, Canada served as a reality check that this sort of thing can happen anywhere.

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