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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

The best way to ensure something will not happen is to plan on it. When traveling, I try to maintain as much flexibility as possible. Sometimes, I plan on spending a week in a place and am ready to leave after a few days, as was the case in BARIO. There are also times when I think I’ll go to a place for a couple days and end up spending a week or more. You never know how much you are going to like a place until you go there and there is no telling what you may find or who you may meet.

Due to its reputation as a premier food city, Penang was on the top of my list of places to visit in Malaysia. The plan was to spend about 3 days eating as much as possible, then move on and continue my journey. That was a month ago.

I contacted several CouchSurfing hosts and they all responded warmly, but none of them were able to host for the dates I’d be in town. The Penang CS group is fairly active and meets for dinner every Tuesday. It just so happened that I arrived on that day of the week and was able to join them for dinner. If I knew we were going to a vegetarian restaurant, I probably would have passed. After dinner I went for drinks with a few people from the group. That’s when it happened.

A classmate of Richard, one of the Penang CS people, happened to be at the place we ended up at and joined us. I’ve been to many places and met a lot of people, but no one like her. I didn’t believe in love at first sight until I met Michelle. We shared an instant connection of a magnitude I previously didn’t think possible and have been inseparable ever since.

In a matter of days I decided to abandon my plans for the rest of the trip and spend the remainder of the year in Penang. Nepal and India aren’t going anywhere and I knew that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I were to just walk away. It is a huge bonus that she lives in Penang, which is a truly beautiful city full of delicious food and wonderful people.

Rather than nearing the end of Nepal’s Anapurna Circuit, I’ve just found a longterm place to stay and am getting settled here in Penang. I haven’t doubted my decision for a second and feel better about it more and more each day. Ultimately, only time will tell what happens, but, I know at the very core of my being that I made the right choice.

Due to the unforeseen turn of events, the blog will transition from travel mode to life in Penang. It’s a wonderful place and I’m looking forward to learning more about it and sharing with whoever is interested. I prefer not to discuss personal matters here, but figured I owed an explanation for the curtailment of my trip. This blog will not turn into a sappy profession of love and will be immediately returning to its usual content of food, people, and culture. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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