It Begins!

A Dark Cave with accesss via a vertical ladder to a whole in the ceiling of the cave, about 40 feet deep. A vertical ray of light shines down through the whole illuminating Brandon at the bottom of the Cave

Kuna Caves near Boise, ID.

Well it begins.

Sitting in San Francisco International Airport I am minutes away from the first leg of my first international flight since December 2010, when I visited India for three weeks.

The last couple of weeks since I left Santa Maria have been a whirlwind of time with old friends doing cool things in beautiful cities. In Boise we went rock climbing, white water rafting, caving, camping, hot spring-ing and boozing, with late nights spent talking about economics, philosophy, dogs and the future. I have asked my good friend from Boise, Earl Mitchell, to write a little something for the Life Reengineered blog so look out for that post in the near future. In San Francisco I hiked to Coit Tower, went golfing, spent some time in coffee shops, said goodbye to a traveler/blogger friend of a friend headed to Tazmania to ride mountain bikes for a year, ate gourmet home cooked meals, watched football and talked about dogs, happiness and life after marriage.

Coming back to Cali after 10 days in Boise was a bit of a shell shock, the two parts of the country contrast each other so greatly. In Boise we camped near a river for free and our closest neighbor was 200 yards away. In San Francisco we paid 6 dollars to park our car and go on a 3 mile “nature hike” around a packed reservoir. In Boise I became aware of their distatste for Californians:

An ammo box with sticker on it that says "Keep California Out of Idaho"

People in San Francisco are a bit more “accepting” of others. San Francisco wears it’s weirdness like a badge of honor while Boise is just growing into it’s own. People flock from all over the world to live in San Francisco and people flock from all over California to live in Boise.

A tilt-shift image (panorama style) of a San Francisco street, with a taxi in the middle

San Francisco, with it’s Victorian style houses, hilly neighborhoods and coastal fog is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Considering it is built on the geological equivalent of a bowl of jello near one of the worlds major fault lines, it may also be the most dangerous. Boise, with it’s budding art scene, freshly renovated downtown area and refreshing green belt along the river has a bit of charm but is not contending for most beautiful city. It does, however have some of the most beautiful and accessible natural surroundings of any city of it’s size that I have visited. Sitting in the Kirkham geothermal hot springs at 1AM, with a sky full of stars above and the full moon rising through the mist of the springs was an otherworldly experience, one that will be stamped on my memory forever.

I’m finishing this post 4000 miles away, here in Panama City, Panama. My Spanish is bad, but improving already. I had originally booked my flight here with the hopes of having the paperwork lined up to apply for my Panamanian Cedula (citizenship) which would allow me to get a Panamanian passport, but government processes are taking longer than expected so I’ll have to come back someday to finish that process. My father was born in the canal zone and I have been promised that this entitles me to citizenship in Panama but conflicting stories seem to be the Panamanian way of life. The passport would have given me visa-free travel through all of South America, but alas, it was not meant to be.  I heard about a 5 day sailboat trip through the San Blas islands to Cartagena, Columbia. Sounds intriguing…