Backpack Full of SunshineA travel blog of a boy following his dream and embarking on a four year backpacking sabbatical around the world

Asia

From the nomadic steppes of Kazakhstan to the frenetic streets of Hanoi, Asia is a continent so full of intrigue, adventure, solace, and spirituality that it has fixated and confounded travelers for centuries.

Abu Dhabi

2/18/14 With one more day left before our flights to Africa, Brent and I headed for Abu Dhabi for a little day trip. Apparently the mosque that finished only a few years ago was quite impressive. A couple of bus connections later, we hopped off on the side of a highway, right next to a green overpass. The place actually looked pretty desolated. Hmmm, you’d think our...

Dubai

2/15/14 The 10 hour flight from Shanghai to Dubai was actually pretty ok. Decent food, minimal crying from the baby two seats to the left, and stunning flight attendants. What’s there to complain? I landed around 4 pm local time. The immigration officer, wrapped head to toe in a white shawl, was pretty friendly. Some standard questions and a couple of stamps later, I...

Macau

2/14/14 I got home early this morning. I wanted to spend the end of Spring Festival with dad. Plus, it would give me a chance to rewind, recharge, and get ready for the big trip in Africa First thing first, I found a clinic and took my yellow fever shot. It was 5 bucks… gotta give some love to the communist health care system. Since the clinic was actually on the...

Hong Kong

2/11/14 It was a rainy day in Guangzhou, and the soft tapping of raindrops on the glass made the train ride to HK that much more somber. Everything seemed dark and lifeless. I rested my head against the window, and stared aimlessly at the passing factories and fields. Beautiful was our encounter, and equally poetic was our goodbye. It was only fitting that M and I...

Yangshou

2/09/14 The bus to Guilin was longer than we had planned. It took most of our day, although Katie and I did get to doze off here and there after an early morning start. I’ve always had a soft spot for Guilin. My parents spent their honeymoon here. I remember going thru a photo album as a kid, and dreaming about visiting this paradise myself one day. Well...

Tianmen Mountain

Next morning, we got up early to send Anna to the bus station. She was heading back to Changsha, and would catch another bus to her hometown. We promised each other we would keep in touch. Katie looked much better, finally with some color back on her cheeks. Even though she kept down the porridge and fried pancakes we had for breakfast, the thought of a half day...

ZhangJiaJie

2/06/14  Brent and I materialized our plan over skype a few days ago, and we decided to rendezvous in Dubai, before heading to Kenya together. We picked Dubai a) because it sounded pretty cool, b) it was a central hub with tons of connecting flights to Africa, and c) it had one of the easiest tourist visa for a Chinese passport holder. Yes, I was still traveling with...

Chinese New Year with the Fam

2/04/14 Katie and I came back to Shanghai for the Chinese New Year. It wouldn’t feel right to miss it since I haven’t celebrated with dad in almost a decade. We invited a pair of girls we met during that Couchsurfing meet-up a month ago. The older of the two cousins, Clara, told us that home was too far of a trip, so she and her cousin were planning on spending...

Mt. Emei

1/24/14 7:47 pm local time, and what a day it has been! I am now sitting in the restaurant of a small guest house tucked in the mountains, taking a much needed break while waiting for my rice bowl with cabbage. Looks like I am the only guest here for the night, and the family running the place made sure I had everything I needed to be comfortable since I checked in...

Leshan

1/24/14 I left the hostel in Chengdu early this morning. First stop of the day, Leshan, a town in the southwest that was famous for its gargantuan buddha statue. A couple of local bus connections got me to base of the hill, where the statue of gray stones and orange clay rested peacefully against the side of the mountain. And boy, was it a sight to behold. The...