For all of the photos from Kuala Lumpur, scroll to the bottom or click here: Kuala Lumpur.
For the last 5 nights I have been in the massive, sprawling city of Kuala Lumpur. The best way I can describe this city is: Someone got REALLY high and played Sim City for 12 hours in a row, but never called in a Godzilla or Tornado. There are more construction projects than I have ever witnessed, there is no rhyme or reason for how the streets are arranged, and there is no "grid" system at all. The construction blocks of entire blocks, making it near impossible to walk around. Apartment complexes span multiple blocks with a seemingly endless number of 30 story buildings. Then there are things like a monorail running right down the middle of downtown, and more shopping malls per square mile than I thought humanly possible. There is a mall in the airport, in the train station, and on every other city block. I am pretty sure there is a mall inside one of the malls. The bars are also crazy expensive- $10+ for a pint.
I can't give KL a big stamp of approval over other big international cities (New York, Tokyo, Chicago, San Francisco, Sydney off the top of my head are way better). Every place is worth visiting, but I don't think I will be returning to KL anytime soon. The highlight to me was riding the monorail and visiting the Petronas Towers, which is the most famous building in KL. It is funny watching people try to take pictures of the building with their point-and-shoots ore camera phones. The building is super tall, so fitting it all on a camera phone frame is nearly impossible. I have a camera cheat code called a fisheye lens. Good times were had.
It has been one month since I departed the friendly confines of California for parts unknown. Since then I have visited 6 islands and 2 countries, eaten an insane amount of noodles and chicken, and drank dozens of Chang beers and iced coffees. One quarter of the Ring of Fire World Tour 2014 is in the books. Looking back, it feels like I have been on the road for 3-4 times as long- in a good way. To know that there is still 3 months ahead of me living like this is a great feeling.
I almost never know what day of the week it is, and rarely know the date. The only times I keep track of the date is when I am departing one location for another. It is a pretty incredible feeling, not even knowing whether it is a dreaded Monday or hump day Wednesday. Each day is just that- a day. There is no fearing work on a Sunday night, or waking up on Monday wishing it was Saturday again.
I sleep until I want- which sometimes is until noon. I am not sure if there are some lingering fatigue issues from the chemotherapy and cancer surgeries, but I definitely do not have the same energy levels as I used to. My hope is that over time I won't be as tired or need as much sleep, but for now I don't push my body too hard. If I feel like more sleep is the answer then so be it. When I do wake up, the schedule is often unplanned, likely with a few things I would like to do or see. I am not a huge planner, so detailing each and every minute of the day is rare. It is more fun to let most days be their own adventure, offering up new surprises. I can spend an hour at one location taking pictures. I can stop in the subway to take photos for 30 minutes after my last stop without anyone complaining.
Traveling alone also means there are some days when I barely say anything besides "Hello" and "Thank you" to a handful of people during any given day. At most places I have stopped, there are enough tourists around that I can start up some small talk. The conversations almost always involve some combination of:
- where you are from.
- how long you are traveling.
- Where you have been already.
- Where else you are going.
If the conversation gets really deep, it might get to work, details about your home town/ country, or comparing different locations to each other (Vietnam is definitely cheaper than Malaysia).
The hotels, food and drink have been super cheap as expected, although Malaysia is definitely pricier than Thailand. My guess is that the areas where the locals hang out offer much cheaper options for food and drink when compared to TOURIST ROW.
There are times when I forget that I am quite literally half way around the world from home. Most of my friends and family are living 14 hours behind me and going to work everyday.
Living the nomad life is incredible, but it is also not roses, unicorns and fairy tales 100% of the time. While it is all fun in the end, I do stress out planning on where to go and where to stay in the next city. Part of the problem is that there are so many options, and I have a hard time making a final decision. While getting to a new location offers excitement, it can be frustrating wandering around lost while just wanting to find the hotel. Other times I wish I could just get a strong internet signal in my hotel. Don't take good internet for granted, people! Or I wish I could turn on the TV and watch some NBA playoffs. Packing all my shit up every 4-5 days and lugging my crap to the next stop is not the most fun activity, either. All of these things are simply minor inconveniences (and FIRST WORLD TRAVELER complaints), but, if I could have it all, those things would top my wish list.
There are also items that KIA (Killed In Action) along the way. The biggest bummer has been the GoPro camera I had, which somehow got seawater into the supposed-to-be-waterproof housing. It turns out that salt water and electronics are mortal enemies, so while the camera showed signs of life early on it won't turn on anymore. A hair trimmer also bit the dust way back in Ko Muk.
Overall, this life and lifestyle is incredible. No set times to do anything, unless there is a ferry to board or a plane to catch. I honestly don't know what day it is today, and that is amazing. 3 more months to go on the Ring of Fire World Tour, with plenty of new adventures to come.