Cast of Characters

Some people are easy to let slip from memory. Others, even with trying, are hard to remember. Yet, there are those folks who have made our trip so special, they are impossible to forget.  These are the people who we chilled with, traveled with, and shared a good part of our trip with.

As with any other Cast of Characters, here they are in order of appearance:

Guan Ming, a.k.a. Chris
Hometown: Singapore, Singapore
Age: 34
Languages spoken: English, Singlish
Where we met Chris: Chris is Amando’s roommate from USF (university)
What is your current state of mind? Friggin pissed off and annoyed with dealing with customer service hotlines the whole day. About to pop a vein.
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip. Climbing Mt Fuji over night to watch the sunrise and yelling Banzai at the top of my lungs.
On what occasion do you lie? When I know I’m about to be ripped off and thus lie about how little money I have on me.
What is your motto? My motto for travel is to take the path less traveled.
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  It mostly has to do with being naive when you first start traveling.

Julia
Hometown: Canada
Age: 26
Languages: English
Where we met: Gili T, Lombok, Indonesia

Alex
Hometown: Berlin, Germany
Age: 25
Languages: German, English
Where we met: Gili T, Lombok, Indonesia

Joey
Hometown: Antwerp, Belgium
Age: 35
Languages spoken: Dutch, English, French, Italian (basic)
Where we met Joey: Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia

Christina (sista of E$)
Hometown: San Francisco, CA, USA
Age: 38 minus 14
Languages spoken: Englisch, Deutsch, Nihongo
Where we met Christina: We picked her up in Kuala Lumpur 
What is your current state of mind?  Missing the Perhentian islands… so landlocked.
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  Since I am not a fan of bugs… a unique memory would have to be our two encounters with them. The first was at 6am one morning when E and A woke up going “Okay, what the hell?? Oh my god, they are everywhere!! They are all over the bed! What are they?? S***, I think there’s one in my ear!! (poor E$)) I was sick and out with a bad back but all I had to hear was that there was something in the bed and I bolted, somehow managing to grab my backpack and be out the door in 5 seconds. Turns out they were flying ants, half of which had ditched their wings in our bed. Other theory: they were termites.
The other meet and greet was on our hike up the island to the giant windmill which would lead us to a jungle trail which would lead up to a secluded beach and bay. It was the hottest part of the day (I was effervescent with sunscreen, Mom) and along the way we encountered about 5 tropical spiders. Perhaps due to their plethora of tropical prey or the fact that nobody messes with them, these black guys are the size of a small dinner plate (body and legs included) and had edgy bodies and were super sinister lookin’. The worst part was walking between the trees and the windmill fence, where 3 they had set up shop with their big, expansive webs that you had to scope out or lest you trip up their alarm and they pounce on you! Luckily I know how to duck and cover and escaped unscathed. Lovely hike otherwise.
On what occasion do you lie?  Sometimes to my mother about if I wore sunscreen…
What is your motto?  Everything happens for a reason.
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  The most memorable time was in the Cameron Highlands when E and A told me to try Durian. We had been trying every fruit that we could find and each one was even more delicious than the previous one. Alas, my assumption of their good intentions was soo off this time… we had just stuffed our tummies with amazing night market food and stopped to buy me some Durian. I should have known when the camera started rolling… I put a big chunk in my mouth, and this slippery, fleshy thing invaded my palate with the flavor of rotten garlic and then some. I quickly spit it out and got super red and tried to yell at E and A while they were doubled over with laughter.

Laura
Hometown: Alexandria, VA, USA
Age: 23
Languages spoken: English
Where we met Laura: Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
What is your current state of mind?  A tad stressed because I’ve been traveling for 4 months and now I’ve got to find a job and a place to live in EXPENSIVE Australia before I starve to death. But not really that stressed, because I’ve been traveling for 4 months and now I’m in Australia and well that’s pretty awesome.
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip. 
One of the more depressing memories is my overnight hospital stay in Kratie, Cambodia. I slept on a metal grate with no mattress or pillow (you’re supposed to bring your own), roaches and chickens roaming the floor, and a dying woman next to me. When I asked to see the doctor, they informed me there were no doctors (what a crazy thing to ask… at a hospital!!) and they all kind of just stood around staring at me not knowing what to do. Not even a replacement bag for my vomit. And a giant barred window with about 10 creepy Cambodians smoking cigarettes and staring at me.  At least the tax building was brand new, shiny and nice…
On what occasion do you lie? 
I don’t usually, but a time I really regret it is when I was in Bosnia and we were sitting around a table in a hostel when someone asked the question to the group: what is the craziest story that happened to you on your travels? Two people were before me, and told the most outrageous stories of being hunted by police with guns and whatnot.  I wanted to look cool, and since I couldn’t think of anything crazy that happened to me, I told my friend’s crazy story: When he was in a bus in Peru in the middle of the desert and 3 gangsta gunmen pulled over the bus and shot the driver. Apparently he owed them money or something. Everyone was wide-eyed – this was too good a story. I was barraged with a series of questions: Did you fear for your life? How did you get home? How did it feel to see someone murdered right in front of you? Shit. I’ve never seen anyone get murdered!!! And the questions didn’t stop the whole time I was there. Needless to say, I’ll tell my own boring stories from now on (see above).
What is your motto? 
I create my own universe as I go along. (I just made that up right now so it’s not really my motto, but it could be…)
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong. 
When I assumed Melbourne would be warm, even though I’d be arriving in winter, because its Australia and Australia’s warm, right? I’m freezing and wasted tons, sorry heaps, of money because now I’ve decided instead to work in tropical Cairns and the flight is a whopping $150 dollars:(

Joe
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA, USA  (yes halfway around the world we meet someone from the Bay Area who is friends with some of Erika’s friends)
Age: 30
Languages spoken: English, intermediate spanish, beginner french
Where we met Joe: Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
What is your current state of mind?  Relaxed
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  This Finnish guy pulled a really disgusting cave dwelling bug off my hat and crushed it with his bare hands in my face causing me to fall off his bungalow railing.
On what occasion do you lie?  If it’s much easier than telling the truth and doesn’t harm anyone.
What is your motto? Don’t have one but when I was backpacking in Switzerland this other guy wrote “chase your passion not your pension” I think that’s a good one.
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong. I assumed Thailand would be less built up than it was.

Guy
Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa
Age: 26
Languages spoken: English, Afrikaans (Similar to Dutch)
Where we met Guy: Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
What is your current state of mind?  Tranquility personified.
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  Diving Batu Layer with a gay Rastafarian instructor. I was the only person to sign up for the dive, and when we reached the site there were no other boats in the area. The fish and other aquatic life put on quite a show for the two of us – it was like watching peak hour traffic, but with fish instead of cars. 10 000km away from home, 20m deep, me, the gay Rustafarian instructor, schools of fish… I had to pinch myself, but I couldn’t have been any happier.
On what occasion do you lie?  I’ve always said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
What is your motto?  Amazing things happen when you say Yes!  Calm energy is strong energy.
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  I assumed Air Asia flew out of KLIA… I should have assumed they had their own airport.

Anton
Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa
Age: 27
Languages spoken: English, Afrikaans (Similar to Dutch)
Where we met Anton: Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
What is your current state of mind? 
Currently, I’m slowly coming down from the high of the Perhentian Islands! Seeing all the photo’s going up on Facebook, chatting to the friends that we met and keeping the island banter going has kept the excitement and travel bug inside me alive!
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip. 
So many, but I’ll try and narrow it down: the people that myself and Guy met on this trip without doubt defined it for us! Without all of you, the holiday would’ve been a lot less interesting and a lot less unique to any other holiday or any other location in the world. Thank you all.
On what occasion do you lie? 
I try to rather not say anything than lie, but this can sometimes turn into a situation where you don’t tell the whole truth either to protect someone or manage a situation.
What is your motto? 
The motto I’m living by at the moment is taken from an advertisement on the train into KL : “Amazing things can happen when you say Yes”
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong. 
When I booked flights for Guy and myself from KL to Kota Bharu (after a few beers) and I ASSUMED that Air Asia flew out of KL…not so.  An expensive taxi ride and Air Asia penalty fee later for missing our flight and having to get on a later one, basically determined that we would go straight to islands and not spend a day&night in Kota Bharu…this allowed us to find the last accommodation on the island and without doubt lead us, coincidently, to meeting all of you.

Charlotte
Hometown: Stuttgart, Germany
Age: 19
Languages Spoken: German, English, French
Where we met Charlotte: On a minibus from Perhentian Islands to Penang.  she and Vicki were traveling together.
What is your current state of mind?  German beer is better than beer in Malaysia (and I can’t wait to have some in two days!!).
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  Being in Melbourne, alone, 18 cents in my bank account, $1 (AUS) in cash and no place to sleep.
On what occasion do you lie?  When ugly, weird guys ask me if I have a boyfriend.
What is your motto?  Live what you love
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  Every time when people get to know my actual age AND when I had australien beer for the first time….it was so much worse than I expected.

Vicki
Hometown: Binley Woods (small village outside of Coventry, UK)
Age: 28 for another 14 days
Languages Spoken: unfortunately I’m a typical Brit, just English – but mighty good at it!
Where we met Vicki: On a minibus from Perhentian Islands to Penang
What is your current state of mind?  Relaxed, full of excitement for the rest of my travels and proud of my adventure so far!
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  The culture shock of Tanzania.  Arriveing and being the only white person around.  People grabbing me, stroking my hair (yes its very white) and holding my hand – beautiful people though🙂
On what occassion do you lie?  When bartering, I get to a point when I pull out the trump card – “that’s all I have on me” and hope when I pay, my roll of notes doesn’t come flying out at the same time.
What is your motto?  Regret is inevitable, however, I would rather regret things I have done than those I haven’t.  Also, we’re here for a good time, not a long time (my dad tells me this all the time).
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  Roben Island, South Africa.  Just not what, was expecting freshly painted wall, manicured gardens, people living on the island, church, schools?!?!  A community living in this policitcal and historic place – still well worth the visit.

John
Hometown: Coventry, England
Age: 22
Languages spoken: English, Jaimenglish
Where we met John: One of Vicki’s friends visiting her from home….met on Koh Phangan
What is your current state of mind?  Happy
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip. 
Meeting Cambodian gangsters in Phenom Penh and partying with them in their VIP suite…..after getting into their car for a ride over to the club.
On what occasion do you lie? 
Approximately 50% of the time
What is your motto? 
Don’t eat yellow snow (Frank Zappa)
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.
  I used to think that buckets were for making sand castles.

Paul
Hometown: Coventry, England
Age: 29
Languages spoken: English, little Spanish
Where we met Paul: One of Vicki’s friends visiting her from home….met on Koh Phangan.  John and Paul are brothers.
What is your current state of mind?  Happy.  Enjoying great company, a few thoughts of people back home.
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  Has to be meeting the Cambodian Gangsters.  And bumping into someone from Coventry in Koh Samui.
On what occasion do you lie?  When my mum asks if I’ve had a lot to drink!
What is your motto?  “Love is like a flower….let it grow.”  -John Lennon
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.   I assumed kayaking would be a pleasant and enjoyable experience…how very wrong I was!  Not only did I get blisters on both hands but I nearly *hit my knick-knax on the way to bottle beach.  (note, Paul was in a kayak by himself)

Jude
Hometown: Oakland, CA, USA
Age: 30
Languages spoken: English
Where we met: USF
What is your current state of mind?  Hungry
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  Fell asleep on the 6am train back home to Seoul and missed my train. On the next train everyone was headed to work or school…basically I had a smelling of smoke and club with those who just showered. Ride of shame.
On what occasion do you lie? Only to Amando
What is your motto? You can sleep later.
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.   That Amando had a winning streak in Yenif (card game).

Ye Htul
Hometown: Myanmar
Age: 26
Languages spoken: Myanmar (and 3 months of English classes)
Where we met: On the 200 year old U’Bain teak bridge
What is your current state of mind?  Exceptionally happy to be speaking English with you.
Please share a unique memory from your life. I remember I was in jail three years ago. I was a policeman and walked into a government station and said I did not want to be a policeman anymore.
On what occasion do you lie?  When I do a mistake, I say I do nothing.
What is your motto?  Where there is a will, there is a way.
During your life, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.   When I was 14 years old, I beat a person with a stick and I did not think it was wrong. I now know it is wrong.

Cando
Hometown: Myanmar
Age: 25
Languages spoken: Myanmar (and 3 months of English classes)
Where we met: On the 200 year old U’Bein teak bridge
What is your current state of mind?  I am happy. This is my hostel (dorm), I gave you my address, you came, we conversed, so I am happy right now.
Please share a unique memory from your life. This semester I got 5 distinctions, but in the other semesters I got few, so it is good for me.
On what occasion do you lie?  We are not allowed to lie. In my dreams whenever, how can I say, a bad man told me, “Come and join us to do bad deeds. Join us.” I always lie to them and say “later I come to you”, but I never do it.
What is your motto?  No pain, no gain.
During your life, describe a time when your assumption was wrong. When I was 7 years old, I made a mistake. I burned my house down. When I burned my house down, I thought I could see a big fire. I wanted to see a big fire and thought it would be fun. It was not fun.

Yamit
Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel
Age: 29
Languages spoken: Hebrew and English.
Where we met: Mandalay, Myanmar walking down Saiging Hill
What is your current state of mind?  Happy, scared, enjoying life.
Please share a unique memory from your travels. In India, I was on a hotel roof top and there was a family of monkeys living there with a lot of other creatures. One morning, there was a big scream from the rooftop. The owner went up and saw a bunch of monkeys trying to have sex with a woman. What happened was this western woman went up to the roof to do naked yoga. Stupid. She saw the monkeys and was trying to get away when they jumped her. He got to her on time and knew how to scare them off. No one saw her after that.
On what occasion do you lie?  In romantic relationships I pretend I’m not attached to people.
What is your motto?  If you wallow in shit too long you will end up addicted to it.
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong. I thought there was a system where I could get more money in Myanmar. In Finland, when I got to the arctic, I knew what ice swimming was. I had seen it before. I thought I could do it. Finnish people go from the sauna to the ice pool. The bus stopped and I saw people were putting on their bathing suits. I also saw there was no sauna and there was no ice pool. There was the arctic ocean. I saw people going and I went in to my legs. It was the most painful experience and I cried. People were doing it, but for me it was incredibly painful.

Shane
Hometown: California
Age: 35
Languages Spoken: English
Where we met: Bagan, New Moon restaurant
What is your current state of mind?  Not entirely sober and mosquito bitten.
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  Riding on the roof of a bus in Nepal and being asked to move to the edge to make room for more corrugated metal.
On what occasion do you lie?  When the truth may hurt someone I care about.
What is your motto? If it’s fun, it’s worth it.
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  When I thought I was in shape for Nepal (14 day treckin the Himalayas).

Arielle
Hometown: LA, CA, USA
Age: 34
Languages:English, and a bit of Spanish
Where we met: She and Shane (above) were eating lunch at New Moon in Old Bagan.
What is your current state of mind?  Tipsy McGhee
Please share a unique travel memory from your trip.  Watching a movie in the middle of the Annapurne Circuit at the Manawg movie theater with donkey skin covered seats and free popcorn
On what occasion do you lie?  When it suits my needs.
What is your motto?  n/a
During your travels, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  When I thought Nepal was more South East Asian than Indian.

Thar
Hometown: Myanmar
Age: 26
Languages:Burmese & English
Where we met Thar: Through our friend Chad and his wife Jen from high school.
What is your current state of mind? Tired of staying at home and just wanna come out of this flu.
Please share a unique memory of your life. The time i spent in Malaysia. I have to be independent and stand on my own foot.
On what occasion do you lie?  A big problem can happen if i don’t lie, then i lie…
What is your motto? Put your best effort, things will work out on their own.
During your life, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  After I finished college, I applied for US visa. I was too confident to study in US. I even tried 3 times to get visa but it was not really my fault not getting visa. I just gave up my studying after all.

Heidi
Hometown: Denmark
Age: 25
Languages: Danish, English and a bit of German
Where we met Heidi: At Top Garden Boutique, Chiang Mai
On what occasion do you lie?  When Nicklas (her boyfriend) asks me how much I’ve been drinking after a night out.🙂
Please share a unique memory of your trip so far.  Being eaten by small fishes and smiling and laughing about it in 10 minutes. Playing with baby tigers.
What is your current state of mind?  I’m hot, so hot.  Enjoying the SLOW boatrip.
What is your motto?  Planing my life, but living one day at a time.
During your life, describe a time when your assumption was wrong.  I thought that Bangkok would be a beautiful city, but I was wrong.  Its a lot more dirty and uncolorful than I expected.

Nicklas
Hometown: Denmark
Age: 27
Languages: Danish, English, a bit of Spanish, French, German, some Swedish
Where we met Nicklas: At Top Garden Boutique with Heidi.
On what occasion do you lie?  Hopefully not too often, but I’ll lie when its needed given a certain situation.
Share a unique memory of your trip so far.  Being able to touch and play with tigers in the tiger kingdom in Chiang Mai.  Once in a lifetime experience.
What is your current state of mind?  Relaxed!  Getting lulled by the small rolls of the slow boat going down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang.
What is your motto?  Ingen arme, ingen kager…or in English…No arms, no cookies
Tell us a time during your travels when your assumption was wrong.   Stopping in Pak Beng I expected it to be a filthy, small, unwelcoming town, but it turned out to be the exact opposite.

Julie
Hometown: Denmark
Age: 24
Languages: Danish, English, and a little Spanish, Swedish and German
Where we met Julie: Through Nicklas, Steen (Julie’s BF) and him were in the Scouts together and happened to see one another on the trip.
On what occasion do you lie?  I never lie….
Share a unique memory of your trip so far.  When I was celebrating my birthday with you guys.  :)  24 and I am still young…
What is your current state of mind?   Happy and relaxed
What is your motto?  Vi lever livet forfra, men forstor det begfra….in English…We live our life from the beginning, but understand it in the end.  And: Tro (Hope), Hab (Faith), Kirlighed (Love)
Tell us a time during your travels when your assumption was wrong.  I didn’t know that Myanmar was Burma.

Steen (it means stone in Danish)
Hometown: Denmark
Age: 26
Languages: Danish, English
Where we met Steen: Through Nicklas in Chiang Mai
On what occasion do you lie?  Once I was at a sexshow with some friends and I lied to some strippers to get free pictures.  I told them that we were at a bachelor party. 🙂
Share a unique memory of your trip so far.  I was so afraid when I was lying on the big tiger in tiger kingdom.
What is your current state of mind?  I feel good.
What is your motto?  You can’t see the future with tears in your eyes.
Tell us a time during your travels when your assumption was wrong.  When I thought Amando was a funny guy.

Rick
Hometown: Netherlands
Age: 23
Languages: Dutch, English, French
Where we met Rick: On the two-day slow boat from Thailand to Luang Prabang.
On what occasion do you lie?  I’m always saying I’m a student when I’m trying to buy something.
Share a unique story of your travels so far.  A monkey grabbed our bag/tickets when someone was making a picture of us into the waterfall.  Never leave your bag alone!­­
What is your current state of mind?  Feeling good with all of the people and cocktails.
What is your motto?  Every day could be your last so enjoy life.
Tell us a time during your travels when your assumption was wrong. I’ve had never thought Amando could learn Danish and Dutch.  Language miracle!

Caroline
Hometown: Netherlands
Age: 21
Languages: Dutch, and a little bit of English and German
Where we met Caroline: Sat next to her and Rick on the two day slow boat.
On what occasion do you lie?  I told the crew/staff that lost our laundry there were some real expensive dresses in our bag they lost.  This was in Luang Prabang.
Share a unique memory of your trip so far.  Two local people bring us in the direction of Chiang Khong (Thai/Laos border).  We’ve made a deal with them cuz the buses/tuk tuks weren’t riding anymore.  Great.
What is your current state of mind?  Hungry.  Just had a great day at the waterfalls in Luang Prabang.  Awesome.
What is your motto?  Explore the world and enjoy.
Tell us a time during your travels when your assumption was wrong. I asked Rick what Erika said.  He lied, so I thought that Erika said I was pregnant.  But she had just said that she liked my shorts.

Frank
Hometown: Vierakker, Netherlands
Age: 26
Languages: Dutch, English, Spanish, and German
Where we met Frank: In the wetlands of Laos, ready for a real adventure of unknown.
On what occasion do you lie?  When booking activities in Thailand you have to bargain and sometimes lie about other offers you got from other agencies.
Share a unique memory of your trip so far. In Argentina I took a bus in the middle of nowhere, only to find out that most of my travel friends of who I met in Bolivia were in the same bus!
What is your current state of mind?  Full of happy memories.
What is your motto?  Life is full of wonderful opportunities.
Tell us a time during your travels when your assumption was wrong. When starting my trip through South-America I thought I prepared myself enough for the dangers in Peru & Bolivia, only to find out it took 3 days to get me fooled.

11 thoughts on “Cast of Characters

  1. Pingback: 2 months already?! | Inspire Amerika

  2. love this new page. traveling is about meeting people and it sounds like you’ve met a lot. i like the mottos about amazing things can happen when you say yes and the assumption that buckets were for making sand castles. keep it coming. love mom

    • Its all about who you meet,….locals are locals and you can engage with them, ask questions, practice their english, etc. possibly eat in the home
      Travelers however are pretty much always willing to have a great time, no matter where that is and what it is.
      We’ve connected to both kinds of people, but more so travelers. Plus it all depends on how you like to travel.
      Either way I’m happy, Amando is happy, and we’re letting it just all go on how it will be.

  3. E and A, I love your blog w/ all the humans you’ve met. Fascinating. I’m in awe of what you;re doing. Limonade says to-to and wants to travel. Going to see “Seigfried” Sunday at the opera. 5 hrs. long. luv Meribeth

    • Meribeth I’m so glad you found the blog!! Nice to hear your voice and tell Limonade we say hi. Thinking of you and all thats in your life in SF. Take care!!

      BTW if we meet any really cool non-humans, we’ll post those as well. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Pingback: Our Last Taste of Thai: Chiang Mai | Inspire Amerika

  5. Pingback: High, Low, and Sunny | Inspire Amerika

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