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Taiwan: praying for a new place

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Taiwan: praying for a new place Jacob leads the way into the smoky compound. We’re in the most famous temple of Taipei city, which is also the first temple I have ever step into after thirty days in Taiwan. Rather than drawing a divination lot, I am much more allured to the exquisite carvings and the psychedelic colors on the wall. It is a splendid morning on a windy Autumn day. Finally, a cloudless blue sky after weeks spent in murky weather. An unavoidable overwhelming sensation dawn upon me. Moments of the entire trip lurked in my memory – pellucid turquoise waves crashing down on me in Kenting, standing on top of humongous stones in Hualien, gazing at the infinite night lights of Taipei on top of Mt. Yangming etc. This is it, this is the end of my trip, and the end of my long acquired freedom. “C’mon, I’ll teach you how,” Jacob interrupts my serialization of thoughts. After thirty days in Taiwan, he managed to persuade me into drawing a lot. No harm trying. He hands me two red moon-like shaped wooden pieces and teaches me step-by-step, but most importantly, he emphasizes, “keep the question you have in mind all the time”. Yes, indeed. My brain is congested at that specific moment, mostly with fragments and residues from the discontinued thinking session earlier on. I walk around teary-eyed, fascinated by the artistry of history left behind on the wall, overpowered by the strength and belief hold by people praying toward an idol. I kneel down on the soft padded cushion placed on the ground. “Keep the question you have in mind all the time.” Jacob’s advice echoed within for a while before this specific question hits me and I feel I need to have an answer to it. I proceed the steps with caution. The entire process takes less than ten minutes and in exchange for the lot – number sixty-six – I now got a pink slip filled with unfamiliar Chinese characters. Without understanding any of it, my line of vision turns toward an elderly man sitting behind a counter. I approach him with some skepticism and a mere tingle of hope. What I got in return was an affirmative answer to my doubts that has been waylaying itself under the mask of freedom. My eyes lit up upon the words pouring out of the wrinkled man’s lips. People are coming in and out of the temple’s front gate, and I stare at the picturesque sky in front of me. I am most certainly awe-stricken by what I perceived as a traditional superstition when Jacob finds me at the front door of the temple. He ask curiously, “so tell me, how was it?” I feel the piece of vulnerable pink slip in my hands and look at him and say, “I’m going to my next destination, my home”.  Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Gratitude Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

The Importance of Roots in Taiwan

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  In Taiwan, there is a literal tree house. Branches of a banyan tree curve around the building and hold up the entire structure. If you walk inside the tree house and look up, there is no roof. Instead, a lush dark green canopy of leaves grows overhead. But it’s not the emerald leaves that […]

Above the Big Blue

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What pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘blue’? To me, it is always the ocean. I love the ocean and somehow, a few weeks ago, I found myself standing above it. The big endless blue ocean was nothing like what I have ever seen before. It was majestic and it had a […]

Taiwan: A Gift for Friends at Little Island

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I walk through a large opening between two cliff walls. Covered by a reddish color of long time untouched soil and the green color of various plants that penetrate and grow through cracks, the walls undoubtedly look majestic. However, the Leshan Giant Buddha in front of me is the one that attracts my full attention. […]

Finding the Infinite in Taiwan

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Part 1 “Don’t do it, Amber. Its too dangerous.” “You don’t speak the language, this is a dumb idea.” “Are you crazy?” Despite what my worried friends told me, I knew that after gallivanting through Asia for the last 6 months , it was the right time to take off on a solo motorbike trip […]

Taiwan: A place to fulfill my Dreams

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A guy who appeared on TV said, the bad things about dreaming is when you reach your dream you may still think it is still a dream. I didn’t believe it until i reach my own dream. You want to know what my dreams are. It’s simple; I want to put my feet in other […]

Taiwan: Rainbow at Kenting

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We drove past a typhoon-torn fish farm, an oyster-embedded island and a highway lined with betel nut kiosks to reach the southernmost tip of Taiwan, Kenting National Park. By the time our car was skirting the coastline, it was midday and the sun kissed every cantle of the earth. As the car pressed onwards, my […]

Hiking Westridge Trail in Los Angeles, California. May 5, 2012

Today, May 5, 2012, on Westridge Hiking Trail in Los Angeles, California we saw three helicopters circling.  A mountain bike rider fell and had a broken clavicle. We saw the helicopter air lift him out. We hope he will be okay. Other highlights from the trail today: Talking with Trisha the ultra runner about BadWater 135mile […]

Penghu: The Hawaii of Taiwan?

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Lonely Planet Taiwan calls the Penghu Islands the “Hawaii of Taiwan.” Might Penghu be like an old-time Hawaii? And as a place known for its fishing industry, Penghu seems like a destination far from the tourist trail, a place with a major Matsu festival and therefore a tantalizing prospect for exploration.In search of the festival […]

Give Thanks!

We are excited to share our news! Lisa’s article was published in Vagabundo magazine. We traveled to Taiwan last year and went to Penghu which is called the Hawaii of Taiwan!Here is the first paragraph from “The Elusive Matsu Pilgrimage of Penghu” Many of my trips involve searching, sometimes for an interesting place or festival […]