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Surprise… I’m back in the USA! Not a total shocker as I did mention that I might be coming home before my scheduled departure at the end of May, but I did end up throwing in the towel about 3 weeks early. I really did try to tough it out and despite it being a very dark time, I am grateful for the six weeks I had back in Asia, days spent bonding with old friends and exploring new places, and proving to myself that I am a little bit stronger than I give myself credit for.

After leaving Koh Tao, about half my time was spent solo and half was spent meeting up with various friends along the way. I realized quickly that I was unquestionably happier when I was wrapped up in the love and distraction of my people. Along this journey I had moments when I felt overwhelmingly grateful to be where I was, moments when I danced till my feet went numb, moments when I threw back my head and really, truly laughed. But in the quiet moments I knew that I was doing it all through a hazy fog of pain, and what I really needed was a little bit of home. I booked a second ticket and a few days later I was watching the Manhattan skyline appear from my airplane window.

The journey is far from over. My previously announced summer plans are still full steam ahead, with some very exciting new additions popping up all the time. It’s going to be a summer of friendship and family, exciting work opportunities, rekindling of old hobbies, and of course, my greatest love of all: travel. As for September, the next big long term adventure is already brewing in my mind. And right here on this blog there is so much to come: a few more recaps of my March visit to New York and coverage of the aforementioned wanderings through Thailand and Laos, along with the usual philosophical musings and fully confessed misadventures.

I hope you’ll stick around.

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Well, things got a little bit deep there for a minute, didn’t they? This Photo of the Week thing is supposed to be a fluff post, really, so my apologies for going serious on you. But in my defense I had to proffer some explanation for how I went from last week’s photo in Vientienne, Laos to this week’s photo in Albany, New York.

These photos were taken at the observation deck of the Corning Towers in downtown Albany, which I shamefully admit I had never visited before this week. The views of my lovely home city are stunning, there’s a little bit of history to absorb and best of all it’s totally free. I only wish I had known about it earlier.

Photo A

Photo B

It’s good to be home.

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Giveaway Winner: Congratulations to reader and commenter number #14 Heather for winning a giftcard to travel bookstore Idlewild! Heather, look out for an email from me today, and to everyone, thanks so much for your great travel book recommendation!

  • John
    May 19 2012

    I like Photo B – it tells more of a story, the reflection in the ground is pretty cool. You still interested in doing an edition of ‘The Local’s Take’ on either Albany or New York City?

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2012

      Hi John, I’d still love to write a local’s take on Albany! I’m so sorry to have dropped the ball on that, life got really hectic soon after I agreed to do it. I will be adding it back to my to-do list!

      • John
        May 20 2012

        Hey no worries! I totally understand you’ve had a few other things to take care of and I forgive you if writing about Albany for a small time travel site wasn’t at the TOP of your to do list šŸ™‚

        • Meihoukai
          May 21 2012

          I take spreading the word about Albany’s hidden gems very seriously! šŸ™‚ Back to work…

  • I love B!

  • Rachel
    May 20 2012

    I also like B!

  • Bonnie Toth
    May 21 2012

    You should seriously think about making your way out to the west coast and do some California diving… there are a number of Women Divers Hall of Fame members out here who would love to take you diving and could even put you up (I have a nice guest room with an ocean view…) Just can’t beat the kelp forests.

    • Meihoukai
      May 22 2012

      As a matter of fact I have an old roommate who is from San Diego and has been trying to get me out there for years… I’m thinking of visiting in August and I would LOVE to go diving with you! I will certainly email you when my plans are confirmed and take you up on that very kind offer!