Sunday, March 27, 2011


being unemployed has officially begun, yet it still hasn't really hit me yet. My roommate says it'll probably hit me when I'm in Burma or something.

I've still felt busy each day, yet without the pressures of being employed. I've been able to organize my days better, creating a to-do list the night before, to ensure that I am moving forward with my plans. Yet with all these errands to run, I haven't really let the situation sink in my mind. Maybe it won't while I'm still in California since I get really antsy if I am not doing something, anything.

Money has been hard to keep in my pockets. Less time confined in an office space busily working means more time to spend spend spend, and I want to spend as much time with my friends and family before I leave, which also means having a harder time eating healthy and portioning my meals. Workout Plan commences NOW.

I was able to finally get some travel vaccinations last week. I ended up going to the Orange County Health Clinic at the advice of my cousin since they were the most affordable of all the places I researched. Apparently, some of the vaccinations I got while I was an infant required additional boosters even though they used to be considered "lifetime" vaccinations at the time.

Polio ($25.50)
Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap)($33.25)
Yellow Fever ($85.25)
Typhoid (Oral) ($30.00)
Flu (Free)
Office Fee ($30.00)

TOTAL COST: ($204.00)

The nurse suggested that I go to my general doctor to get a blood test to check if I needed Hep A/Hep B boosters. I will also need to go to a doctor that specializes in travel to obtain antibiotics and Malaria pills based on my itinerary. A vaccination for Japanese Encephalitis was not recommended due to the cost as well as the fact that I would not be traveling for long periods of time in rural farming areas.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

lettin' go


If you know me well enough, you know how big of a fan I am of Janelle Monae. I thought this song was fitting for the way I'm feeling right now. In less than 48 hours, I'm going to be in a place I've never been before - into a realm of uncertainty and spontanaeity. There was always a set path to follow through school and into a career, filling in that niche where you think you belong. But it feels refreshing to step out of that niche and into another...

My friend said with every opportunity is an element of uncertainty. I gladly take this opportunity and the fear that comes along with it.

Go your own road.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

vaccinations and visas...

(Oooooh alliteration! I promise my writing will get better as time progresses)

There are many things to consider when deciding to travel internationally. I believed that I had a well thought-out plan of action for this whole adventure, but the more I think about it and talk to experienced travellers, the more I realize how complicated and expensive this could be.

Visas - I have a rough idea of the places I want to travel to, but it's not 100% set in stone. I may want to stay in a specific country longer than anticipated if I fall in love with the area, and I may decide not to fly to a country I originally planned on going to.

A google search led me to this website:, which is helpful at showing which counties require Visas, but the pricetags are more expensive due to the service fees... For example, a Vietnam visa was $70 (+$45 service fee) on the website listed above, yet this website: says the fee is $25 (+$20 service fee) if obtained in the airport. Seems like some countries allow you to skip getting a Visa at an embassy and instead, get it when you arrive at the airport.

Some countries I have been considering visiting include: Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Greece, Czech Republic, Russia, Spain, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru...

Vaccinations - I'll need my vaccinations while traveling to third-world countries lest I risk the chance of getting some awful stomach virus that will leave me hurling for days on end in a hot and humid country. That would be a definite downer...

My medical insurance coverage ends at the end of March, and I will be left scrambling to figure out how to obtain my own insurance. You don't realize how much this stuff costs when you are working full time and your employer pays a good chunk of the premium. HR gave me a price list of COBRA insurance rates and I knew I wasn't going to continue with my employer's coverage. Obama's Health Reform allows young adults under age 26 to be added on their parents' employer plans, but what happens when I lose my job? Is it a "qualifying event," thus allowing me to enroll in my parents' plan even though the enrollment period has already ended?

I did a little research on what type of coverage I have until the end of March and it turns out that some of the basic immunizations and boosters are 100% covered, including Hepatitis A and B, MMR, influenza, DTP. I'm going to attempt to get all of these in the next few weeks, although the Hepatitis B booster requires a series of 3 shots in a 4 month period. I don't know how or if this will affect my travel plans...

The exotic vaccines for typhoid, japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, and every other disease on the Center For Disease Control website ( are 0% covered under my plan. Womp womp. I called around different doctors and they said that the prices for these vaccines range from $60-$150 each. Anyone know of a good clinic in Orange County or Los Angeles that offers discounted (and high quality) travel vaccines?

Curious about what Japanese Encephalitis was, I came across this picture and description:
Japanese Encephalitis - a disease caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus. Symptoms include: Fever, headache and malaise, vomiting, neck rigidity, cachexia, hemiparesis, emotional lability, convulsions, mental retardation, coma, and swelling of the testicles! I don't even know what half of these symptoms mean, but all I know is I don't want it...

Only two more things to consider when traveling.

Monday, March 7, 2011

eat. pray. love.

I was finally able to watch Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, James Franco, et. al.
I found the movie to be a beautiful look at what could possibly happen on my journey, just meeting great people, eating great food, and being surrounded by different cultures and different environments. I do hope to learn a lot more about myself through my journey.

A good friend of mine said that people shouldn't really say that they are out to "find themselves" because it isn't possible. A person is constantly changing and evolving everyday, and to imply that they will "find themselves" somehow means that they will figure out who they are as if they were static, never changing.

I don't know if I was able to really learn much from the movie. It would have to be a lot longer and drawn out to really affect the viewer, but given the fact that 3 stories had to be told in the span of 2 hours, there was a lot less emotional connection for the viewer. I was told to enjoy food, learn to forgive, forget fear, and keep balance in my life, but really didn't get a deep look at the reasons why Julia Roberts was in the plight she was in. The relationships she had with the people she met were short-lived and superficial, and left less of an emotional impact on me. 

I did however come up with some ideas of what I wanted to learn to do while on this trip:

1) Learn to relax, meditate, and be OK with a slow-paced environment - All my life, I've learned to work hard and be as efficient as possible, meaning to work quickly to get the job done while maintaining quality. I've learned to be impatient and stressed out at everything I felt was slow, whether it be traffic, a conversation with another person, working and training colleagues, reading a book, learning a new instrument, doing my own research, etc. I think this has really had a negative effect on many aspects of my life and health. Maybe I'll purchase a motorbike and take a 30 day journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam? Got the idea at offtrackplanet:

2) Learn the importance of things other than money - I can't help but measure success and happiness by how much money I will make in life, but I know that there are other things to be happy about and success can be measured in many different ways.

3) Learn to be more extroverted - I'm socially awkward. I hope to open up and be able to make new friends with the locals and expats where ever I am. Maybe I'll stay at a hostel for a couple of days to meet people who are in the same situation as me. Maybe I'll find a place to couchsurf (

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Two Weeks Notice...

I had gained an immense amount of knowledge and experience working at a national public accounting firm for over 2.5 years. Everyday there was something new to learn, whether it be an accounting principle, etiquette in a professional setting with clients, and even just basic communication within the company. I planned to continue this career route - I got my CPA license, I wanted to be promoted to a senior associate, I wanted my company 401k match to vest, I wanted to do everything practical to further my career, become successful, buy a home, live comfortably.

but something clicked in me over the past couple of months. I just had an itch to move somewhere out of Los Angeles. I've lived in this city for the past 6 years, going to college here and starting my career here. I'd never lived anywhere outside of Southern California, never studied abroad, and family was just a one hour drive south. I wanted out. I felt I needed to experience things outside of my own comfort zone, live on my own somewhere new. Friends moved to New York and San Francisco and that seemed to push me closer to that decision. I got a healthy dose of travel in 2010. I went to NY, Denver, SF, Hawaii, Phoenix, Miami, and Las Vegas for work and play and that also pushed me closer to that decision.

Other factors also helped in this decision I decided to make. The audit I was currently on was a 2.5 month engagement that began in early January and still continues to this day. I felt I had learned as much from the audit and it was starting to become mundane. Less was being learned each day and tasks became repetitive. I learned to supervise the engagement, but I felt overstressed over the time commitments, working anywhere from 10-14 hours Monday through Friday and sometimes the weekends as well. I was not happy. Was this what I envisioned I would be doing for the rest of my life? At the same time, my house mate was looking for another job and we talked about what would happen in the future. If she got the job, she would probably move out to find a place closer to work. Our lease was up since August 2010 and we'd been renting month-to-month since then, so cancelling our lease was no problem. 

The time seemed right. It felt like the world was telling me to do this. Everything came together naturally. But it was also probably one of the hardest things I had to do. Letting go of stability to reach into the unknown was a risk I wasn't used to taking. I've spent my whole life following a rigid path to success, making my parents happy and taking a conservative approach to security. I didn't like letting people down, and I thought that if I were to leave, I'd let my colleagues down as well as my parents. But if I didn't do this now, I would be letting myself down, and I don't know if I would ever have such a clear opportunity to do it. I have no debts - no car or mortgage payments, no student loans, no kids. I'm single and I'll always have my family back home when I come back. I've always been financially responsible and had saved up a decent amount of money in hopes of putting a down payment on a house somewhere. The time was now.

so I decided to give my two weeks notice on Friday, March 4, and start this journey of a lifetime.