Climbing Ben Venue, Scotland

The land slurped up my boots with each step. Squish. Squish. Squelch. A bizarre thought whipped through my mind—the soggy ground was french-kissing my feet. And it was doing a terrible job.

I shuddered, shooing the idea away. It was my first adventure into a bog and I wasn’t about to let my imagination construct a weird relationship between us. The rain coated me in a shimmering shield, not that the sun was out to give it a shine. Why was I climbing this mountain again?

Oh yeah. For the warm company, the stories and the small surprises. Continue reading “Climbing Ben Venue, Scotland”

Namtaloo Cave at Cheow Larn Lake

The cave yawned. Scraggly teeth adorned the ceiling. Impatient from waiting for the slower half of the group to catch up a boy from the group sprinted ahead to survey the subterranean hall. Glancing back every now and then to catch a nod of approval from his parents he navigated his way across the creek cutting the cave in half. In the shaded darkness of the cave his pink shirt stood out like a neon sign. He had clever parents.

A rocky perch provided a welcome platform for my camera. With the shutter speed set to ultraslow and my mind focused on anticipating a calm moment I waited to pounce. There it was.

Click. Continue reading “Namtaloo Cave at Cheow Larn Lake”

Cheow Larn Lake, Surat Thani Province

From the mouth of the park to the belly of the beast we travelled. We streamed through the ticket booth (40 baht entry after flashing my student ID) and zipped across the lake, flying towards a horizon broken up by rounded mountains. They lined the edge of Cheow Larn Lake, gnarled like the broken teeth of some Thai elder resting deep in a distant rural region. The boat extended before me as sleek and narrow as a lizard tongue snapping at the air. The air was moist and hazy. The region seemed to be exhaling. The sun hid behind a sheet of clouds—the roof of the mouth was clamped shut. Still, it was a far cry from the absolute darkness of the belly I would stumble through two hours into the tour.   Continue reading “Cheow Larn Lake, Surat Thani Province”

Khao Sok in Surat Thani, Thailand

The stone was warm. Not hot, just pleasantly warm. My left leg was propped over my right, topping the bent knee like the trees and brush blanketing the valley walls. Before my rocky podium, which stood taller than my height with fingers stretched, a green world rose. A great wall of trees hid the horizon.

Behind me a couple splashed and laughed as they dipped their toes in the river sidling past. Unfamiliar birds belted out their cries from the stillness of the trees. Elephants sauntered through this forest. Somehow. It looked impenetrable to me. My confusion tugged at my sleeve for attention so I played with it. Continue reading “Khao Sok in Surat Thani, Thailand”

Kanchanaburi and Erawan Park

You’re an exchange student with no to very-little money or even student debt that you don’t want to deepen. Yet, you’re in another country and you don’t want to waste the opportunity. Continue reading “Kanchanaburi and Erawan Park”