Category Archives: RTW Travel

The 5th Continent


Colorful Streets

I’m a fast walker but a slow traveler. Despite having been on the road for most of my adult life, I haven’t been to that many countries. I’m not someone who feels I’ve “crossed-out” a country after visiting it for a week or three or eight (though fair play to those who do.) A lot of my trips involve returning to countries I’ve been to previously. Thus I’ve been to Nepal 4 times, Japan 4 times, Thailand and Malaysia 10+ times.

Thus I’ve not been to many countries relative to the amount of time I’ve spent on the road. Nor have I been to that many continents; this week I’ll visit my 5th continent. Which technically is, as you’ll note, most of them, but considering many people get to 6 or 7 on a year round-the-world-trip, isn’t that much for someone who’s largely lived abroad since 2005.


Viva Colombia

Where Am I Going?

I’m going to South America. Specifically: Medellin, Colombia.

I was finishing up my first contract in Korea in 2009, when I started this blog and when things like #rtw and BootsnAll and the Matador Network were becoming a big deal, Around then, the travel blogosphere was going crazy over Medellin.  Digital nomads flocked there, touting what an amazing place it was. It hadn’t been on my radar at all previously.

It’s been high on my wishlist ever since then. Probably not the number one place on the continent–that could be a hike in Torres Del Paine, or the Bolivian salt flats, or hiking the Inca Trail, probably, but it’s definitely in the top three (depending on the street).

When Zulia suggested traveling to South America, we agreed that Medellin would be the perfect place to base our travels. I’m pretty excited–the last time I went to a new country for the first time was when I went to Scandinavia in 2014. That was 5 years ago but feels more like 35!

Where Else? How Long?

The more I’ve traveled, the more I try to resist planning too much in advance. I’ll know much more in a few weeks than I do now. and see no reason to lock in itineraries or hotel rooms. And I don’t fear a blank schedule; I know there is always plenty to do, even if it’s nothing. So there’s not much set in stone, but I do think I’d love to have a quick visit to Peru as well.

I’ll only have 5 weeks or so. Not even enough time to see a region properly, let alone a country, let alone a continent.  But for me, a key part of a successful trip is managing my expectations–i.e, having as few as possible before leaving for the trip. But I am hoping to do some trekking, to see some new cities and new cultures and to eat a whole lot o’ plantains.


Rainbow HIlls of Peru

After this trip I’ll desperately need to get a job. Getting work in Portland, as has been the case my whole life, is pretty much the hardest thing ever. So I’ll teach abroad again. I have some leads on jobs in Asia, but if I find something awesome in South America, well, so much the better.


Viva Colombia

That’s about it for now. Do you have anywhere to recommend in Colombia? Or elsewhere?


LOLS around the world


Personally I don’t like to type LOL. I’m old enough to think it’s unnatural and I prefer to use hahahaha or heh or even deign to stoop to a smiley face emoji. I’ve told my friends that if I ever text or message them and use LOL they’ll know I’ve been kidnapped or assimilated by alien invaders.

But it terms of utility, I have to admit it’s up there with OK and WTF.

Varieties of Hahaha.

In many countries, the standard “lol” or “hahaha” is simply the local form of hahaha. The simplest way to do this is to simply write “Ha3.” Or you go regional with things like:


هاهاهاهاها (loud laugh) or ههههههه (giggle)






xaxaxa or gggg or ))))))))




Alternates to hahaha.

Other places go their own way. This leads to a whole variety of expressions and letters and even numbers.



The more rs you add, the funnier it is. From the Portuguese word “to laugh” (risos).



If you’re texting your friends in Paris about how you dropped your baguette in the Seine, use this expression. It’s short for mort de rire (dying of laughter).



Germans actually aren’t legally allowed to have a sense of humor, but they think it’s alright to grinsen (grin) when other people are laughing out loud.



As with Brazil, use more of these as things get funnier. “w” is an abbreviation  of warai (laughing).



ㅋ is the Hangul for the sound K. Laughing sounds like someone say kihkihkihkihkih. Which, if you think about it, is about as close to actual laughing as hahahahaha. Koreans who come to North America and use KKK as an expression of laughter are often surprised at the reactions they get.



Cool Swedes use asg when they are roaring with laughter. It’s short for asgarv (roars of laughter). Because of course the descendants of Vikings roar.



In Thailand, you can use 555 instead of “lol.” Why? Just look at their number system and you’ll get it.

0 Sun 1 Nueng 2 Song 3 Sam 4 Si 5 Ha