All posts by matt

About matt

I play ultimate, write software and travel the world.

new places, old faces

As Lisa departed for home, I was both looking forward to, and anxious about, my new solo travel adventure that lay ahead. It was a fun and exciting prospect to be completely on my own, but would I miss having my good friend with me to keep me laughing through it all?

Well, I’m now over a month into Europe and I still haven’t managed to experience any solo travel. Not even a single day spent without people I had known before hitting Europe!

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jumping off a bridge with friends

After a ten-day introduction to Buddhism and meditation at a monastery in Kathmandu, about 40 of us made plans to meet at a restaurant in Thamel (the tourist district) the night our course, and two days of silence, ended. We arrived a little late to the party and soon Daniel came up to me. He was a fellow ultimate player that I had met at the monastery, recognizable because he was wearing a jersey from a Wisconsin summer league.

Daniel: I’ve got a proposition for you. What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: No plans, so probably whatever you are proposing.
Daniel: Bungee jumping.

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wisdom and compassion

I recently spent ten days at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu. It was a very rewarding experience that I probably would not have encountered without Lisa. When we were “planning” our trip, this was one of the few things that she had mentioned wanting to do, and while it wasn’t something I would have thought to select on my own, I was excited about the idea of learning and experiencing something new, even if I had very little idea what I was getting myself into.

The ten-day retreat included silence from 9pm to noon every day and two full days of silence at the end.

The course kept silence from 9pm to noon every day and two full days at the end.

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Annapurna Circuit: first ten days in panoramas

I’m writing this post on April 28 as we have just crossed Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters (17,769 feet) and made it to Muktinath, a village that sits at 3,800 meters. The following photo of Lisa was taken during our 1,600 meter descent that felt not-so-great on the knees:


Throughout our Annapurna Circuit hike, single photographs have had a hard time capturing the enormity of the landscapes. So my typical hiking day involves taking out my iPhone way too many times, pointing it towards a mountain and awkwardly rotating my body as I capture panorama after panorama.

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photos updated

I’ve been bad about keeping the blog photos up to date, so if you aren’t seeing them on Facebook, you can now view photos from the last several months of our trip.

Also, we probably won’t write a post about, so if you want to read about our trek from Hsipaw to Pankam, you can do so on the blog run by a couple of our trekking companions!

Finally, after five months in Southeast Asia, we are leaving Myanmar tomorrow and headed to Nepal via Kuala Lumpur. On the itinerary is a ten-day monastery stay in Kathmandu and trekking the Annapurna Circuit! We may be off-the-grid for large chunks of this time.

Mr. Shake Challenge: world champions!

Sure, I invented this food eating contest, but that’s pretty much the only way I’m going to become the winner of one.

Mg peeks out of the train as we cross the Gokteik Viaduct. She has no idea that in less than a week she will be co-champion of the Mr. Shake Challenge.

Mg peeks out of the train as we cross the Gokteik Viaduct. She has no idea that in less than a week she will be co-champion of the Mr. Shake Challenge.

Lisa and I arrived in Hsipaw, Myanmar on a train from Pyin Oo Lwin. The signature moment of the ride was crossing the Gokteik Viaduct, a railway bridge built in 1901 that was, at the time, the second tallest (318 ft) in the world. Almost the entire ride, however, was scenic and we would link up with Zoe and Mg who, together with Laura, Jazzer and Alesha, would accompany us on our two-day overnight trek to Pankam Village. After the six of us signed up for the trek (Laura would add on later), we grabbed dinner at Mr. Food and headed our separate ways. I had seen some positive online reviews about a place called Mr. Shake, and if you read the post about my favorite drinks of Southeast Asia, you can imagine how anxious I was to try it.

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favorite drinks

I love sweet drinks and, fortunately, Lisa is usually quite excited about them as well. It has become something of a routine for us to find our favorite drinks in each country and then partake in them endlessly. In the states, I usually accomplished this with unlimited coca cola during at least one meal a day. When I travel, it is rare for me to buy soda as I prefer it from a fountain, loaded with ice and free-refills, something you just don’t find often outside of North America.

Here is a recap of some of the better drinks I’ve run across. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of all of them, as I was usually too excited to just start drinking.

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cycling the ruins of siem reap & staging photos

After playing the Big Phat Phnom Penh Hat ultimate tournament, I had three days before I needed to be in Bangkok to catch a flight to Boracay for yet another tournament. Two days would be filled with bus rides, which always take longer than expected in Cambodia, and the middle day would be spent in and around Siem Reap, seeing the many ruins of Angkor Wat, Baphuon, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. Lisa had rented a tuk-tuk for the day and managed to hit both sunrise and sunset at Angkor Wat, filling the rest of the day with additional ruins along the big and small loops. I knew that I would probably burn out faster on temple sight-seeing and instead opted to rent a bicycle in town and go at my own pace.

Sometimes the iPhone impresses me with it's panorama mode.

Water buffalo, rivers, buddha statues, and dusty roads… all in one shot; not staged.

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