Thailand was a place for me to rejuvenate, learn some hard lessons, and feel at peace. Burma was where I found my grounding again.

I got out of the airport taxi in front of the Sule Pagoda, after realizing I had been dropped off at the wrong spot. I was looking for Mahabandoola Garden Street, but I was dropped off at Mahabandoola Street. Assuming those were two different places but also that they were probably a short distance from each other, I ventured off with my oversized backpack once again, to the little guesthouse that could.

The last time I remembered doing that was when I was lost in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Korea two years prior. Pre-heartbreak, I was sure of myself; guidebook in hand, travelling solo and proud of it, wandering around trying to find good people, good places and great food. Being in Mae Salong village for four weeks for my first time back in Asia in almost two years, I realized that I really was quite broken. I had a lot of time alone in the orphanage listening to the dogs bark away into the night to reflect on that. But as I wandered into the streets of Yangon, using the golden Sule Pagoda as my centerpoint and the welcoming people to help me, as well as one short cab ride along the way, I found the lovely Chan Myaye Guesthouse. I was doing things a little different this time; I survived in Burma only with addresses, a vague itinerary, and trust in the local people. So I checked into my first dorm room in what seemed like years and asked Ken, the enthusiastic receptionist where to go for food. He gave me a few recommendations, and after a few “turn left, turn rights”, I was back in the city by nightfall.

I took off in my third taxi ride of the night, passing other taxis with Aung San Suu Kyi stickers posted proudly on the back windows as we drove out of the city center adorned with democracy monuments and colonial buildings. We sped through the city's waterfront where I ended up in Chinatown and found great food and a 800 chet (80 cent) mojito with local Mandalay rum to celebrate my first night back on the road. I had completely fallen in love with Yangon already. Times like that only make you think of what wonders might lie ahead of you-and I've been looking forward ever since.

The Sule Pagoda and the busy streets of central Yangon by night

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