Annie and Jon left corporate America to do some world traveling. This blog chronicles their unconventional path and hopefully provides a little inspiration along the way.

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On the Kindle
  • Warrior of the Light: A Manual
    Warrior of the Light: A Manual
  • First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.)
    First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.)
  • Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age
    Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age
  • Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)
    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)

photo of the week - (krabi)

We were MIA of late enjoying our vacation but have had the request for more photos and so Annie and I decided to try something new. We are calling it the photo of the week. Each week we will pick our favorite photo to share with everyone and also tell the story behind the photo. This will keep people up to date a little more as to what is going on and also allow us to post a little more regularly to our main blog.

This week's photo was taken by Annie during our snorkel trip from Krabi in southern Thailand. One of the staff on the boat was snorkeling and was feeding the fish near the boat. Annie happened to be near and snapped a photo of the fish. The feeding caused quite a frenzy among the fish. There were so many fish around that you were able to catch a fish with your bare hands. 

I also posted new photos from Malaysia in the photo section and if all goes according to plan, I will have the Malaysia recap video up very soon. Keep reading and sending comments, it makes us feel good. 


beep beep

Sharing the road with the local water buffalo. (Kuta, Lombok)

In Bali there is a universal language understood by all people and animals called beep beep. It can mean a lot of different things so you have to be careful how you interpret it. It could mean a turn signal, warning to dogs, pedestrians, and/or other cars that a vehicle is passing by, someone is driving too slow and needs to speed up, sign to oncoming traffic that you are not slowing down to let them in or simply saying hello to someone. In many of the villages there are no sidewalks so motorbikes, cars, horse drawn carriages, people, dog, chickens, and water buffalos all have to learn to share the road and beep beep.

It took us a few days to learn the language and after driving around in a motorbike we have become proficient in it. Sometimes I get too eager or maybe nervous with all the traffic and say the words beep beep rather than waiting for Jon to honk the horn.

We have seen some pretty crazy things on the road. One day we were on a motorbike in Kuta, Lombok on the way to the beach. There were a group of water buffalos coming our way. The road was pretty narrow so we had to pull off to the side of the road to let them pass. I wanted to take a picture so I grabbed my camera out of my bag. One of the water buffalos got spooked by what I was doing because he came to a stand still and stared us for a good ten seconds. I thought he was going to ram into us. They were huge animals and if they decided to hit us it would have been detrimental.  That set off a chain reaction because some of others got so scared that they would stop and stare at us while taking a poop on the road. After they all passed we had a huge poop pile to drive by. I guess it serves me right for scaring them.

On our way to Lembar to catch the ferry to take us back to Bali we had a very gregarious driver. He beeped every two seconds at someone. He got calls on his cell phone and scream into the speaker while keeping another hand on the horn to continue beeping. Later on he blasted Indonesian music and started singing and dancing. We thought that would calm his road rage but he just continued with his beeping. At one point he came to a screeching halt because a hen and her five chickies were running across the road too slowly and of course that caused another beep. We all just laughed. It felt like we were in the middle of an arcade game and every time we darted an animal or car we scored points. We’ll never forget that car ride.

Another memorable experience was our ride from the port in Bali, Padang Bai, to Candi Dasa. When we got off the ferry we were directed to follow a driver who would take us to our home stay. However, he handed us off to another driver since we were the only two people going to Candi Dasa. We got into a beat-up minivan that had about ten 5-gallon water jugs in the back. I think the man was a water delivery man who wanted to make some extra money by picking up people going his way. As we drove along he stopped to pick up some people. We didn’t know how we were all going to fit since there were only two rows of metal seats along the window and we also had our luggage. But just when you think you couldn’t fit any more people one more hopped on. At one point we had a total of seven adults and one child in the car. The most interesting part was the last two elderly men who got on. They had a bundle of long bamboo sticks and a few canvas bags with them. One of the bags started moving so we thought they were fisherman. I asked the person sitting next to them if they had fish inside the bags. The man said no they had something else. Jon couldn’t really understand what the man was saying but I was sure he said bats. I started getting really nervous since I was less than a foot away from them. I just kept my eyes forward and hoped we would arrive at our home stay soon. When we got off I asked the man again if it was really a bat by flapping my hands. He said yes. Yikes!! We later learned that we were on a bemo, which is Bali’s public transportation system. They have larger vehicles which are called buses.

There are many other stories but these are the highlights of our Indo road adventures. We have gotten used to driving on the left side of the road so it will be an adjustment when we go back to the states. 

If you see us on the road please beep at us. It will make us feel like we are in Bali again. 


dazed and confused

When we arrived in Ubud, Suma, our host at the home stay picked us up at the bus stop. It was a quick ten minute drive to our home stay through the center of town. We then drove up an unpaved driveway and Suma told us we would need to walk the rest of the way. The rest of the path is not big enough for a car. Both Jon and I looked at each other with uncertainty. A guy came on his motorcycle to take our suitcases. He was trying to balance both suitcases and looked as if he was going to tip over. He didn't say a word to us and off he went. Suma said he had to park the car and we should go on ahead and follow the path. It should take us only five minutes to reach our home stay. Without another word Suma also took off leaving Jon and I dazed and confused about what was happening. Where are we?!

We followed the narrow footpath as instructed and not before long we were among acres of rice paddies. There were no signs indicating where our home stay was or that we were even in the right place. We kept walking until we came across an art studio. The artist must see the same confused facial expression everyday. Actually we later noticed that there is a sign for Sawah at the junction. It is small and a bit faded with an arrow pointing right. He asked if we were staying at the Sawah Sunrise Bed and Breakfast. We nodded our heads and he told us where to go. We saw a traditional Balinese house that was really nicely kept. I remember saying to Jon that’s a pretty place. After a few more meters we saw the man who had our suitcases and we were pleasantly surprised the house we just saw was our home stay. We walked in and were shown to our room.

There are a total of four rooms and we were staying on the top floor. The window in our room overlooked the rice paddies and we could see a farmer working. He was literally right next door to us. We put our stuff down and plopped on the bed with a big sigh. We made it!

A few minutes later the guy who carried our suitcases brought us a refreshing lime juice. We found out his name is Nyoman (because he’s the third child in his family) and he’s a bit shy but once you start probing him with questions he’s happy to talk. His English is pretty good and everyday he learns a new word in the dictionary. He is honest and straightforward with his answers. One day we asked him about arak, which is a hard liquor Balinese men drink (women aren’t supposed to drink since it’s considered unlady). He told us to be careful because people have gone blind from it though I think it’s probably from over consumption. Nonetheless he gave us all the warnings of arak. We have come to really like Nyoman and become good friends with him.

Over the next few days while we have been at Sawah we noticed that everyone first walks in with the same dazed expression. They are not quite sure where they are. We have greeted many of them while relaxing at the bamboo gazebo on the front lawn. I have realized all that we are looking for sometimes is that reassurance that we are in the right place. Especially if you have never visited an area such as Bali you are just not sure what is happening. You are warned that you should never leave your luggage with someone else. Rationally we know that nothing is going to happen but just to have a nod and smile from another tourist allows you to relax your shoulders and exhale. And then you come to realize what an amazing place Sawah is.

We have really enjoyed our first home stay experience. Suma, his wife, and Nyoman made every effort to ensure our stay was relaxing and enjoyable. Sawah was small and quaint and the scenery was beautiful. You open your window in the morning to the sounds of rooster croaking and see rice paddies, rows and rows of coconut trees, and ducks swimming in the paddies. You can’t believe how far away from home you are and what you are experiencing. You try to take it all in.



Australia from Jon Carr on Vimeo.

Annie and I spent 5 weeks in Australia moving from New South Wales, to Victoria, and finishing in Queensland. I put together this time lapse video highlighting some of the things we saw on our travels. While in Queensland, we stayed with some friends of Annie's from her Japan days and I was introduced to some Australian musicians I hadn't heard of. One is of aboriginal descent and I thought the music went well with the imagery. The track is called Marrurrumbul by Gurrumul Yunupingu. Thanks for the suggestion, Kylie.

Australia was tough to leave and we made some wonderful new friends and incredible memories. Hopefully, this video gives you a flavor of our experience down under.


new australian vocabulary

I have been working on perfecting my Australian accent over the last month. I am getting better and even had a bartender in a pub tell me I had an Australian accent. This has been an activity I have been working on from my early days of enjoying many late night Crocodile Hunter marathons. Cricky!

Here is a list of our favorite words and phrases we have picked up on our Australian travels. Remember when using them to embrace your inner Paul Hogan. 

  • Boot - in Australia this is what they call the trunk of the car.
  • Good on ya - meaning well done, good for you.
  • How ya going? - one of my favorites, the translation is how are you doing?
  • Good as gold - this would translate to “that is classic.”
  • No worries - this has gained increasing popularity in the US over the years but is claimed by Australia. The translation is don’t worry about it.
  • Brekky - breakfast in Australia. 
  • Take the piss out of someone - this is to make fun of your mate. 
  • Budgie smugglers - a speedo swimsuit.
  • Bogan - redneck without guns.
  • Bush - dry wilderness.
  • Woop Woop - out in the bush. “It is out in the woop woop.”
  • Esky - ice cooler.
  • Bugger/Stuffed up - this means you missed up.
  • Hey - they use this instead of “what”, when something isn’t heard. 
  • Bikkie - cookie or biscuit.
  • Smoko - morning tea.
  • Arbo - afternoon.
  • Winger(winja) - complainer. 
  • Rangar - this one is a little mean but I am told pretty common. It refers to a red head like a orangoutang.
  • Pisser - to get drunk.
  • Tracky Dacs - sweat pants.
  • Thongs/pluggers/jandels - flip flops.
  • Ta - thanks. 
  • Jumper - sweater.
  • Singlet - tank top.
  • Crook - feeling sick. 
  • Heaps - this is the most common and we have started using it quite a bit. You substitute heaps for a lot. For instance, Annie and I are spending heaps of money on this trip.

We have many others but we are trying to keep things PG rated. We hope you enjoy and incorporate a few into your daily conversations. 


*top ten reasons for traveling the world

We have to put an asterisk next to this list because we didn’t actually write it. Before we left, we had a wonderful going away party and two of our long time friends gave us some T-shirts with the top ten reasons we were traveling the world. We thought we would share this list with everyone because it is pretty funny. A lot of the comments were inside jokes and so I have included a brief explanation as well. Thanks Greg Mihon and John Ragunas.

10 - Cow Hollow just doesn’t feel “exotic” anymore (Cow Hollow is the neighborhood of San Francisco Jon and Annie lived in.)

9 - Annie is sooo tired of those annual trips to Michigan to visit Jon’s mom (Annie confirms this just isn’t true, sorry Mary!)

8 - Jon won a bowling scholarship to the University of Katmandu - by sending a picture of all his trophies (Jon did win a few bowling titles with the Golden Gate Sport and Social Club, he is not ashamed to admit it.)

7 - Due to favorable time change, 5:00am bootcamp actually meets at 4:00pm in India (Jon was a bootcamp instructor for the past year and they met at 6:00am each morning.)

6 - Annie’s tap dancing career never truly panned out (Annie was looking for a hobby in ’09 and gave tap dancing a try with a few friends, she has since moved on to bigger and better things.)

5 - To start up a GGSSC tennis league in Rangoon - Jon figures to have a better chance of winning his long sought-after tennis title against malnourished locals in rural southeast Asia (Jon is still seeking his first Golden Gate Sport and Social tennis title after many seasons.)

4 - Jon wants to show off his new physique to the young girls of Bangkok (Jon did lose a good amount of weight in ’09 only to put most of it back on due to the stress leading up to the departure of this trip.)

3 - Italians want a slice of Jon’s pizza pie! (Jon spent the last four years working for Grande Cheese, the company specialized in manufacturing the best mozzarella in the US and was favored by many high end pizzerias.)

2 - Jon hopes change of scenery will distract Annie from those silly notions about “marriage” and “children” (Need I say more)

1 - Selling cheese for a living sucks! (Not true, I really enjoyed my time with Grande)

Feel free to add anything they missed in the comments section.


land of the big white cloud

Land of the Big White Cloud from Jon Carr on Vimeo.

I promised a New Zealand recap video and it is on the way. In the meantime, Land of the Big White Cloud is a taste of what is to come. I combined several of the time lapse videos from various locations on the North and South Island of New Zealand including Kaikoura, Queenstown, and Mt Ruapehu (aka Mount Doom for you LOTR fans). I hope you enjoy and keep an eye out for the recap that should be out shortly as well as some new photos from South Island. Thanks for all the comments and wonderful emails!


ten things we loved about new zealand

  1. Hospitality and friendliness of the people – Pete and Danielle…need I see more than mention their names? The numerous people who helped us when our hippie got stuck on the side of the road
  2. Small town lifestyle – you can tell the size of a town by the speed limit. 80km = not much there, 70km = maybe a petro shop, 60km = town is more than 5 blocks, 50km or less = likely a tourist attraction worth checking out. It’s hard to get lost.
  3. Changing topography around every corner – one minute you’ll see a rainforest, and the next minute a sheep pasture. It’s crazy!
  4. Amazing natural attractions and wildlife - Ninety-mile Beach, Cathedral Cove, glaciers, fiordlands, glowworm caves, dolphins, and fairy penguins. We could go on forever.
  5. Beautiful scenery – if I had a dollar for every time we said, “wow…isn’t that beautiful?!” we could travel for another 6 months.
  6. Tourist friendly country – the most helpful information centers who will book everything and anything, load you up on free maps and are really knowledgeable.
  7. Camper life allowed us the freedom to explore – our hippie never failed us and offered us the essentials we needed – car and bed. When we got tired we could just pull over and nap in our bed.
  8. Camper sites were very well equipped and maintained – we roll up to a site and there was always availability. All of them had kitchens and hot showers, which were cleaned everyday. Met some of our dearest friends there.
  9. Saw more sheep and cows than people – we enjoy socializing with people but it’s also nice to get away from it all. The sheep and cows seem so peaceful. There would be days when we didn’t see a living soul except the manager of the camper site when we checked in. We loved it!
  10. Felt at home – could this be our next home?! Stay tuned to find out!

our routine

Even while traveling we have settled into a routine. Jon usually gets up when there’s light out. We don’t have a watch so it’s hard to tell what time it is. It’s nice to have him wake up first because that leaves me to stretch out on our camper bed, which is a full size bed. We’ll have breakfast consisting mostly of cereal and toast with peanut butter or nutella (my favorite) though Jon has made an occasional egg and cheese bagel sandwich, which is a real treat. Our camper is pretty well equipped with a toaster, kettle, single burning stove, refrigerator, and pump sink. 

We take turns showering so someone can always watch the camper though we now have gotten less paranoid and usually there’s not many campers around. We aren’t sure why but our normal time of heading the road is 10:00am. We are working on leaving by 9:00am. We try to map out our road in the morning and what town we like to end the day in so we have an idea how far we have to drive. We try not to drive more than 200km a day since it starts weary on us to be in the car for so long. But sometimes we get side tracked because someone tells us a cool spot to check out or we are too tired of driving so we’ll find the closest campsite.

Jon drives in the morning and when he starts feeling tired usually after lunch I’ll take over the car. We have found these great salad packets that come with lentils, sprout beans, and peas, which are delicious and filling for lunch. Or we’ll make sandwiches. 

We usually try to get to a campsite by 5:00 or 6:00pm so we can set up shop for dinner. We have eaten out only a few times. Our home cooked meals have been pretty simple but nutritious: pasta, stir fry, tacos, grilled chicken, etc. The fridge is big enough where we can store about 2-3 days of food so we are always getting fresh produce. 

All of the campsites have power sites so we can plug in our camper to recharge the fridge and anything else we need like our laptop. They also have a community kitchen, sometimes with an outdoor grill, hot showers, laundry facilities, and other amenities so it’s quite convenient. Most of the sites we have been to are very clean and well equipped since they are cleaned daily. And the campers also do a good job in maintaining their own area so you never see any trash around. Jon also bought a screen mesh to put on our car window so we can open the window without bugs invading our camper since it can get pretty stuffy at night.

After dinner we get ready for bed and are in the camper bed by 8:30pm or so. We’ll read, play scrabble, look at videos/pictures from the day, or check email. And it’s off to bed by 10:00pm.  

Pretty hard life.



First of all we wanted to say thank you to all the wonderful support we have received on the road. It is so nice to hear from friends and family on those cold and rainy nights in the camper van. The internet has been pretty challenging on our travels in New Zealand and we may not have responded to you but appreciate all your emails and comments. Please keep them coming. We are very fortunate to have wonderful friends and family like you.

I wanted to do a bit of a state of the union for the Unmapped Life. We have made some changes recently and I wanted to make everyone aware. For the super hardcore fans (all 3 of you know who you are), we have added a daily details page. We will try to update you on our adventures in a little more detail as to what we are up to on a more day to day basis. We will keep the main blog a more big picture with tips, observations, and videos. Annie is working pretty hard on this and it will allow us to remember what we have been up to as well. It can be a blur after a while. I have also split up the location and contact form. I try to update our location from time to time. So if you want to see where we are or would like to come visit, please check out this page. The contact is pretty much the same and you can send us a direct email via this page. 

Keep an eye out for a few things in the pipeline. I plan to update the photo section with some pics from New Zealand over the next few days and stay tuned for a New Zealand video that is in the pipeline.  

All for now but thanks again for all the support. We miss you guys!

(The title is a little inside joke to see if that special someone is paying attention.)