Friday March 25th, 2011 02:05 vs. The World (Part One)

Coming home after a month on the road had me thinking a lot about travelling. Besides missing my friends, family and sweet, sweet fluffy bed, I was hungry for more. Prior to leaving for my trip last fall, I had invited a few close friends to tag along but both passed having previous commitments. One of these friends was Mike Sabbagh. Mike had been accepted to a graduate program in London and the “All You Can Jet” dates fell right on the time he’d need to move across the Atlantic and start classes. After finding out that his university gave him a month long spring break, we agreed that I’d come out to London and we’d go hosteling around eastern Europe. I realized this created an excellent opportunity. “tomayz vs Europe” was beginning to write itself, the only problem being it was months away. Deciding the beginning of the year would be an ideal time to plan for a vacation in April, we put off any further trip planning.

Months passed and 2010 was coming to a close. Mike called and well, I don’t recall his exact words but it was something along the lines of “I’m really sick and fucking tired of Europe, lets go elsewhere. How about Australia and New Zealand?” My brain lit up, oh the possibilities! Kangaroos, dingos, wallabies, platypi, poisonous snakes and scorpions, funny accents, Foster’s, Aussie rules football, “middle-earth” and the possibility of ending up on LOST island. It’s in another hemisphere, hell, it’s on the other side of the world! Plus, they speak English, making it a whole lot easier. I began making a list of places to go: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Auckland and Wellington.

Another month or so passed and as I found myself a few weeks into 2011, I was reminded that it was trip planning time. Another conversation with Mike was under way and he said something like: “I’m already half way around the world. I was thinking we should go someplace crazier, something more once-in-a-lifetime. My friend Ron teaches English in Korea, we could visit him.” Once again my brain lit up: Korean internet/gaming culture, barbecue pork, Annyeong from Arrested Development, Bibimbap and the possibility of ending up on and island that is almost as rad as LOST island… Japan! anime, Akihabara, weird snacks like Cucumber Pepsi and Butter KitKats… Hell, I could go on for a while and I’m sure you get the idea. Everything was falling into place perfectly. I called my brother Alex to brag and his response really caught me off-guard. He asked me if he could join us. With the exception of family vacations as a child, I have never really traveled with my older brother. When else was I going to have to opportunity to go on a crazy Asian adventure with my own brother? Probably never, so the invitation was extended. Plane tickets were purchased as Australia was having one hell of a cyclone season. A week later an earthquake shook New Zealand up. Catastrophe averted, or so I thought…

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