"Selamat datang!" tayloretc's Profile

I'm Taylor. I was born on Okinawa and raised in the US and Europe, and I stopped counting how many times I've moved many years ago. I'm more of a transient resident than a traveller with a home base, currently in Jakarta, Indonesia. I'll have more time to look around in a few months - very busy at the moment.

The photo above pretty much sums up my experience of Jakarta so far. It's a brightly-lit, ritzy mall. Sorry, a "mixed-use construction" - the towers are flats, there's a grocery store in the basement, an ice skating rink and a movie theater upstairs, and even prayer rooms. You can live, work, and shop without ever leaving the building. In theory, this isn't a terrible idea, but as someone who loves being outside it's horrifying. (Fortunately, I live in an older, residential area - pictures of that to come.)

Hunh. I just realized all the photos on this page are of buildings, with no people visible. Will have to fix that.

Past Travels

Cambodia, Jul-Aug, 2014. A couple of weeks each in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. I didn't have much money, but did manage to visit most of the museums and sites, and almost every temple for miles in any direction.

Vietnam, Jan-Jul, 2014. After several months in Da Nang, I spent a few weeks on a perfect beach, a couple of weeks in Saigon, and squeezed in a few road trips to beautiful places around the Mekong Delta.

Windham, New Hampshire, Jan, 2013–Jan, 2014. A quiet year, for several reasons. Additions and updates are very local. I spent a lot of time in the woods, and a lot of time in Boston.

South Africa and Zambia, Sept. 2012–Dec. 2012. Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Livingstone. This trip was cut short, but still included walking safaris, shark cage diving, and a microlight flight over Victoria Falls, among many, many other things.

The Balkans and Turkey, May, 2011–Sept. 2012. Visas allowed me to stay only three months in each country, so I ended up bouncing between a couple of places I really like (Bitola, Donji Milanovac), with an extended jaunt around Turkey and a brief stay in Montenegro. The breakdown:
Macedonia: Bitola (3 months in spring and summer, and 3 months of the coldest of the cold of winter, and 6 weeks in the hottest of the hot of summer)
Serbia: Donji Milanovac (3 months in fall, 3 months in summer)
Montenegro: Budva (2 weeks in late November)
Turkey (3 months, mostly during the off-season in early spring) Most of the photos are posted, but text is minimal – it was an exhausting trip. Istanbul (3 weeks), Road trip! (5 day whirlwind - mud beehive houses in Harran, the oldest known temple in the world at Gobekli Tepe, Abraham's birthplace at Sanliurfa, Nemrut Dagi, Ankara), Bogazkale (10 days), Goreme (3 weeks), Antalya (1 month). Weekend trips included a mini road trip (Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale), day trips from Antalya (Side, Aspendos, Olimpos, Myra, Termessos), hiking in the Ihlara Valley, and Troy.

Québec, Canada, Nov, 2010–May, 2011. I was based in Québec Ville, and did all kinds of things including trying every winter sport Canadians do (with the exception of canoeing across frozen rivers or urban snowboarding). I was bad at all of them. I did, however, make a couple of trips to the Saguenay, Charlevoix, and Beaupré regions, which went far better. I love it there, and will almost certainly go back to Québec and stay until someone catches on and kicks me out.

Barnstable, Massachusetts (Cape Cod) and Windham, New Hampshire, Nov. 2009–Nov, 2010. Most of 2010 was pretty tame – short hiking and camping trips exploring outdoors-y parts of the Cape, and, in the fall, the White Mountains. There were a few little bright spots: hearing Art Wolfe speak in Charleston, SC; joining the crowd at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington D.C.; and my first (but not last) skydiving experience.

Chennai, India, Jan, 2005–Nov, 2009. 2009 was one of the most adventurous years I've experienced. In February I was in the Andaman Islands to get certified in open water scuba diving, and I spent the first couple of weeks of May trekking the high part of the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, for an altitude range of –18 to +5416 meters. I ran off a cliff in Nepal, too, which was surprisingly fun, given that I’m terrified of heights. I was in Singapore for a few days in June, an adventure in its own way. September saw a quick but fantastic road trip in Sri Lanka, and the end of October brought a short-notice and heartbreaking upheaval from Chennai to the US, thanks to the Indian government’s change in visa definitions.

Between Jan, 2005 and Dec, 2008 I traveled a lot in India. Most was in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and in the far northern state of Uttaranchal (Himalayas), with short visits to Agra and Delhi. Also during that time I wound up in Dubai, Germany, Sri Lanka several times, and Malaysia.

Between, say, 1990 and 2005 I traveled all over Europe, the northeastern and pacific northwestern US, and British Columbia, but it’s mostly undocumented. (And is probably better left so.)

Travel Philosophy

Generally speaking:
• I like to learn about a place before I go.
• I prefer to travel alone and without itinerary – I love just walking around a new place.
• I rarely travel first class, although it happens sometimes and I enjoy it when it does.
• I only plan trips in advance if not planning would have been really stupid.
• I don’t choose destinations just because there’s something there you’re supposed to see, but I won’t refuse to go to a tourist site just because everyone else has seen it. (This wasn’t always true.)

Favorite quote (of the moment): “The way I see it, if you’re here for four more years or four more weeks, you’re here right now, and I think if you’re somewhere you oughta be there, because it’s not about how long you stay in a place, it’s about what you do while you’re there – and, when you go, is that place any better for your having been there?” – Chris-In-the-Morning

Favorite statement of purpose: Pico Iyer, Why We Travel We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. ... And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again – to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more... [Travel] whirls you around and turns you upside down, and stands everything you took for granted on its head.

Favorite proverb: “A man has as many souls as he knows languages.” I think that extends to “A man has as many souls as he knows cultures and ways of being in the world.” What better way to know another way of being in the world than to go be in it for a while?

A Note on Places I Want to Go

"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."

I actually want to go everywhere, but there are some specific reasons for the places marked green on my VT map. West to east:

Alaska Nature, before drilling in the refuge wrecks it.
Nunavut, Canada I have a small collection of Inuit sculptures, and I’d like to see the land that inspired them.
Madagascar Lemurs.
Oman The closest I’m ever going to get to what is left unspoiled on the Arabian Peninsula, which I’ve wanted to see since I read The Back Stallion when I was 8 years old.
Borneo Still discovering unknowns here…
Australia For all the creatures that were confronted with western categories and said screw that.
New Zealand Not just because it looks like the most perfectly beautiful place on Earth, I also speak some Maori, and have to use it once in my life. (Why do I speak some Maori? I was learning Finnish, got to case #8 of 15, flung the book and spun the globe and Maori was as far away as I could get.)(Also, it's a really fun to say the words.)

Besides those I want to spend years and years wandering through everywhere else.

Contents, Tips, Photos, and a Disclaimer

I’m never going to make pages for everywhere I’ve been, or even all the places where I’ve spent substantial or meaningful time. I might add something someday, but if a page is blank or says “to come,” it probably won’t. Check the travelogs, and view the related photos with my sincere good wishes that you find more complete information somewhere else. I’ve added links wherever I can.

The content in these pages is purely my own take on things, not to be confused with anything for anyone to get upset about. The photos are my own unless otherwise indicated, and I’d appreciate if they didn’t show up elsewhere. If you want anything, drop me a line.

Happy travels!

  • Intro Updated Dec 18, 2014
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