Two Week Southeast Asia Trip Centers Around Myanmar

Myanmar - Bagan

The temples of Bagan. Photo by Worak.

If I ever need a reminder about how quickly time flies, all I have to do is visit my own website. I sat down today to write a post, and realized I hadn’t done so since November 23rd. Jesus. That could have been yesterday for all I remember. Travel does a funny thing to your perception of time. I feel like I have done so much since visiting Papua New Guinea and sitting down with Jim Koch in Boston, yet it feels as if no time has passed. Perhaps, in a way, there’s some truth to that.

I had a wonderful holiday season, and I hope you did too. I took two weeks off to rest and spend time with family, and now I’m back on the road. I made a visit to our Nation’s Capital, did a ski story in Vail, and attended the inaugural NCAA National Championship Game in North Texas. You can see a snapshot of the latter here.

As I write this, I’m currently making my way to Myanmar, somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean. Myanmar has a wild history, one that saw its capital moved from Yangon (formerly Rangoon) north to Nay Pyi Taw just a decade ago in 2005. The country was occupied by both the Japanese and the Brits in the years during and after World War II, and today is transitioning towards democracy. I can’t wait to walk the streets and experience and interpret it all firsthand.

Aside from the chance to explore the country, I’m also anticipating my participation in the 2015 ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), which will be held next week in Nay Pyi Taw. ASEAN is an organization comprised of ten Southeast Asia member nations – Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Brunei – that meet to discuss the future of travel within the region. This includes tourism plans for each individual country as well as how they can/will work together to improve tourism amongst and between the member nations. Last year, I covered the conference in Kuching and learned a hell of a lot. There’s a possibility that I will puddle jump over to another country after the conference before returning to the States, but I’m not entirely sure yet about my plans.

In other news, I recently won a “best writing” award for a Gear Patrol story on hiking in the Grand Canyon to Havasu Falls. You can see the award and read the story here. I’m not very big on awards, especially in something as subjective as writing, but it’s always nice to be acknowledged and know my words are impacting people. Gear Patrol and I have been teaming up a lot lately on “road note” stories, and if you’d like to read about some of my recent adventures (since I suck at updating the blog), go here. You can also follow along on social media if you want.

The start of 2015 marks the beginning of my fourth year of full time travel writing. I’m looking forward to another.

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