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jennifershipp

Bagan, Myanmar: eBikes, Scooters, Tuk Tuks, and Taxis — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: eBikes, Scooters, Tuk Tuks, and Taxis — By Jennifer Shipp

The transportation options in Bagan and in Myanmar are important. In Guanajuato, Mexico, where we’ve lived for the past 3 years, taxis and buses are available, but most of the time we walk everywhere. In Bagan, Myanmar though, the hot weather makes walking unpleasant. Climbing on an ebike and having the breeze blow through my hair is a lot nicer than walking when it’s 100 degrees outside. So we’ve all ...
Adventures in Burmese — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Adventures in Burmese — By Jennifer Shipp

Yesterday was a long day. We’d decided to try to get air conditioning installed in John’s and Naing Naing’s office space, a necessity in a country that hits over 90 degrees+ every day of the year. We’d put it off as long as we could because John and I needed a break from all the inconsistencies of our daily lives. We’d spent about a week dealing with the heat in order to avoid dealing with people. But we ...
Lydian and Naing Naing: In Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Lydian and Naing Naing: In Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp

Some stories are like lotus flowers; they bloom in layers with each new set of petals adding a transformative shape to the whole. It’s hard to tell these stories, because they aren’t linear. They’re like Indian epics--Ramayanan characters engaged in famous battles but meanwhile imagining new worlds or earnestly wishing new beings into existence that cast off on digressive journeys of their own. Over the ...
Bagan, Myanmar: Notes on Learning Burmese…
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: Notes on Learning Burmese…

So it looks like we’ll be spending quite a lot of time in Myanmar which means that it could be helpful to learn Burmese. The language, so far, has not been totally impossible to learn, at least the 27 words or so that I know right now. It’s a tonal language, but the tones have proven to be less straightforward than those in the Mandarin language. Some Burmese language systems say that there are three tones, ...
Bagan, Myanmar: Housing and High-Speed Internet — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: Housing and High-Speed Internet — By Jennifer Shipp

During the first two weeks of our time here in Bagan, Myanmar, we needed to find a house to live in, furnish it, get Internet (we hoped for higher speed Internet than what was available at the hotel) locate food to cook with, and figure out how to get around the city easily in the heat. We were staying in the Crown Prince Hotel in New Bagan, which had adequate Internet services in the lobby, but we had only ...
Bagan, Myanmar: The Inner and Outer Realities of Place — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: The Inner and Outer Realities of Place — By Jennifer Shipp

When John and I were here in Bagan, Myanmar in January, before we knew that Lydian was going to fall in love and get married to Naing Naing, we loved it here. There was something about this place that was just really comfortable to us. It felt like a small town in Nebraska, but not a modern small town...a small town before there were color TV’s, Netflix, and a hundred plus channels in every home. A small ...
The Full Central America-4 Experience: On Being Turned Away at the Border –By Jennifer Shipp
Central AmericaCentral AmericaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasNicaragua

The Full Central America-4 Experience: On Being Turned Away at the Border –By Jennifer Shipp

My brother sent me an email that the border crossings in Central America could be difficult for us with the changing Trump dynamics with Mexico otherwise I wouldn’t have known about the “problems” there. Our lives are intimately following the so-called “immigration issues” in the U.S.We aren’t crusading for change. We aren’t trying to change the world. We just want to cross the border with Naing Naing, ...
Working Toward, “Yes”: Crossing the Most Important Borders
Caribbean

Working Toward, “Yes”: Crossing the Most Important Borders

Every time I sit down to write about This Journey, I don’t know where to start. There are pragmatic bits that seem really important. Like how Naing Naing, a Burmese citizen with a very weak passport, has now visited 11 countries (by tomorrow around 8:00 PM he will have visited 14) while many American citizens (with one of the strongest passports in the world) never visit even one country outside of the ...
Hoping for Honduras: Planning a Wedding from Outer Space — By Jennifer Shipp
CaribbeanCentral AmericaHondurasUncategorized

Hoping for Honduras: Planning a Wedding from Outer Space — By Jennifer Shipp

The people on remote islands tend to be a bit closed-minded, like people in small, isolated towns in the Great Plains.

But people in bigger cities bumble. They stare at the their phones as they walk down crowded sidewalks. Why are big city people so tuned out?  John has taken to running smack into them head-on just to prove a point.

The language of the country where ...
Spring Break — By Jennifer Shipp
Uncategorized

Spring Break — By Jennifer Shipp

Spring comes around againInto my hemisphereAnd I feel something missingSomething that was lost in the winterThat fell from my heart like teardropsFrozen



I imagine the green and I exhilarateOver the possibilityOf having fewer imperfections this timeThough the imperfections are the mostSun-drenched parts of me that poke through the ...
Choose Your Own Adventure: The Big Bang vs. Blisters
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Choose Your Own Adventure: The Big Bang vs. Blisters

When I was 5 years old, Grandpa had a heart attack. My dad found his body in the field on the other side of a truck where they’d been scooping wheat or corn (as I recall). Dad and Grandpa were alone in the field, miles from town and other human beings, so Dad rolled up a coat and put it under Grandpa’s head. Then, he ran to the truck and drove to my Grandma’s house to call 911 (this was before cell phones ...
Opening Act: Nuclear Pig / Main Stage: St. Vincent and the Grenadines — By Jennifer Shipp
EcuadorSouth America

Opening Act: Nuclear Pig / Main Stage: St. Vincent and the Grenadines — By Jennifer Shipp

Where do you want to go?How much do you wanna risk?These are the lyrics of a Coldplay song called “Something Just Like This”. This song is smack dab in the middle of a playlist that I listen to almost every day. It's like the song was written with our family's current life situation in mind. Sometimes, out of the blue, there seems to be a blip in the matrix of life and the lead singers of my ...
Near-Death Experiences and Thoughts from Terminal 4
Uncategorized

Near-Death Experiences and Thoughts from Terminal 4

Over the past two years, John, Lydian, and I left a place we called Home and we named a new place Home. We camped inside this cement structure like squatters and learned, through this physical and existential discomfort to regard this Home-Base in a new way. Two months after the building was completed, Lydian, John, and I left on our annual winter trip abroad. Southeast Asia was the chosen destination; a ...
Wishing for Death in Thailand: Malaria — By Jennifer Shipp
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Wishing for Death in Thailand: Malaria — By Jennifer Shipp

You know you’re really sick when you shit yourself.

I won’t say more about that, but I do want to point out that, malaria is quite a trip. A lot of people don’t realize that malaria is a long-distance journey. It can last for years if you’re not paying attention to yourself. Like all parasites, it brings people down in cycles and then loosens its grip insidiously to allow timely returns ...
Dear Lydian: The Politics of Love — A Short Tutorial on Visas and Immigration  — By Jennifer Shipp
MyanmarSoutheast Asia

Dear Lydian: The Politics of Love — A Short Tutorial on Visas and Immigration — By Jennifer Shipp

Burmese citizens can only travel to a small selection of countries visa-free. And getting a visa isn’t always easy. Often, in fact, for Burmese citizens it’s a process that involves an interview and the final determination can take months. As American citizens, Lydian, John, and I had never really considered how this fact could affect our lives. In fact, systemic political oppression like this affects a LOT ...
The Silver Pen and the Singapore Wedding — By Jennifer Shipp
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The Silver Pen and the Singapore Wedding — By Jennifer Shipp

I always knew, or rather, believed, that when Lydian finally met the right guy that things would happen quickly. I had a hard time picturing her dating for a prolonged period because Lydian makes tight relationships quickly. She gets attached and holds on to people for dear life. I figured the odds were good that she’d fall for someone who was wired with a similar attachment style. And they wouldn’t dither. ...
On Leaving Lydian Behind in Burma — By Jennifer Shipp
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On Leaving Lydian Behind in Burma — By Jennifer Shipp

John and I are on the final leg home after two months in Southeast Asia. For the first time ever on these long journeys abroad that we’ve taken since 2010, Lydian is not with us. She stayed behind with a man she met in Burma. In fact, partway through the trip, she abandoned us to rendezvous with him in Yangon.As John and I retrace the same steps back through the same airports we took when we left home ...
Untitled – Not Sure What We’re Doing Here — By Jennifer Shipp
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Untitled – Not Sure What We’re Doing Here — By Jennifer Shipp

About a month ago, we arrived in Singapore following about 44 hours of land and air travel over the course of three days.

Our mission: to figure out our mission.

We’ve seen the colisseum in Rome. We lived next to the pyramids in Egypt on our first trip there (we’ve been through Egypt 3 times). We’ve laid our eyes on all the requisite tourist destinations that have ...
MalaysiaSoutheast Asia

Malacca, Malaysia: Coworking Spaces — By Jennifer Shipp

For the past year, we’ve been feverishly working to build a coliving/coworking space in Guanajuato, Mexico. That’s right. Mexico (NOT Malaysia). And needless to say, the project did not follow a linear course. We finished our small apartment complex at the beginning of October and then Lydian spearheaded the marketing of the Guanajuato apartments as vacation rentals on AirBnB and Expedia. And so far, as of ...
The State of Bother-dom: Meteorological Parables from Malaysia — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMalaysiaSoutheast Asia

The State of Bother-dom: Meteorological Parables from Malaysia — By Jennifer Shipp

We’ve been in Mexico for two years this January. With the exception of three trips back and forth to the U.S. for various reasons, we’ve been stationed in one place for what seems like a long time. Yes, we’ve traveled within Mexico quite a bit. We’ve been to every state in the country except two, I think. I’m not really keeping track and I’m not really trying to see every state in Mexico. No one cares how ...
Bruised Banana